Food

5 Things to Look for at Barbecue and Music Joint Smokehouse Live

The biggest 'cue joint in the area debuts in Leesburg with smoked meats and tunes.
Smokehouse Live debuts in Leesburg with a regional variety of smoked meats and live music. Photograph courtesy of Smokehouse Live; photography by Rey Lopez.

There’s a new ‘cue joint and town, and it’s no small matter, literally—Smokehouse Live can fit about 600 guests for barbecue and live tunes at any given time. The Leesburg joint comes from Hill Country vet Jim Foss and Kris Diemar, and recently opened for late-afternoon to late-night service; brunch starts soon on Sunday, June 14. Here’s what to know be before you go.

Smokers that can hold 2,500 pounds of meat (yes, all at one time)

The key word is big, fitting for both the space and the food. A large menu reads like an ode to the most famous barbecue regions, including Texas beef short ribs and pulled pork with vinegary Carolina-style sauce. Meats emerge from enormous Old Hickory smokers fueled by white oak. Hot and cold sides are equally bountiful. Diners can snack on cornbread with roasted peach butter, pick traditional accompaniments (slaw, baked beans), or go for heartier options such as brisket chili or seven-cheese mac. All of the beef, pork, and poultry items are dry-rubbed, priced by the pound, and served alongside house sauces.

The large venue features a variety of spaces, including a marketplace for grabbing barbecue, 175-seat dining room, performance venue, and two bars.

The Viper Lounge

The space is divided into various rooms. Diners order and pick up their meals from the marketplace, and carry them to long picnic tables in the 175-seat dining room. Drinkers can belly up to a concrete bar that opens onto a patio in warm weather. Another spot for drinks overlooks the stage. The most intimate place to perch is the Viper Lounge, an enclosed nook in the marketplace outfitted with low tables and a big screen television for relaxing and catching a game. All can used for private events.

Free (or inexpensive) live tunes

Music is a key part of the concept, designed to enhance the roadhouse vibe. Many of the live concerts are free, or require at most a $10 advance ticket for bigger acts. Tunes range from country rock to Appalachian bluegrass, Louisiana-style zydeco and local cover bands.

The biggest smokers Old Hickory makes produce a regional variety of meats, from Texas ribs to Savannah chicken.

The four B’s

So far we’ve covered two of the B’s—barbecue and bands—which leaves the most import for drinkers: beer and bourbon. When it comes to brews drinkers will find anything from cold Shiner Bock and Yeungling to local craft drafts, and 25 canned options. The bar also pours 80 whiskeys and bourbons, as well as an alphabetical range of other beverages—think margaritas, smoked cherry Manhattans, and retro sodas.

Barbecue Benedicts, a bloody Mary bar

Brunch begins on June 14, accompanied by live tunes. Take a spin around the wallet-friendly Southern for buffet, which includes hearty fare like biscuit French toast, creamed spinach Benedicts with ‘cue sauce, and bacon sticky buns. Adults can also head to a bloody Mary bar set up with house-smoked tomato juice, garnishes (bacon, of course), and various liquors.

Smokehouse Live. 1602 Village Market Blvd. SE, Leesburg; 571-447-5483. Open Monday to Wednesday, 3 to 11; Thursday and Friday 3 to 1; Saturday 11:30 to 1; Sunday 10 to 11. Brunch begins Sunday, June 14, 10 to 3.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.