Cheapt Eats 2008: Johnny Boy’s Ribs

Why go: The puff of smoke rising above the trees along Route 301 south of La Plata signals the best down-home, open-pit barbecue within an hour of DC, complete with an authentically no-frills atmosphere—you order through a window of a shack and eat at picnic tables outdoors.

What to get: A slab of ribs, big and meaty and tingly with spices; pulled pork flecked with char and suffused with smoke; potato salad (it outshines the middlin’ fries); sweet tea that will slake a Southern thirst.

Best for: Road trips for diners who crave pig at its slow-cooked best.

Insider tip: Johnny Boy’s serves its barbecue “dry”—without sauce. A shot or two of Mama Sophie’s sauces—hot and mild, in squeeze bottles near the pickup window—add a jolt of tang and sweetness.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

See all Cheap Eats 2008 restaurants

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.