How does a barbecue joint crack the top 100? Start with the bark on the ribs, roasts, and short ribs—thick, and black as cinder: a sign of real skill on the pit master’s part. The interiors are just as impressive: the rosy pink of these luscious meats evidence of a deep, slow penetration of smoke. Many ’cue-joint sides are afterthoughts; not these. When it comes to the pickles (cured in Catoctin Creek Distillery whiskey barrels), collards, and baked grits, you see the same pride and know-how that distinguish the meats. Washington might never become a stop on the barbecue circuit, but in Smokehouse it has a place, like the best nationally, worth the drive.
Don’t miss: Burnt ends; “moist” brisket; prime rib; spare ribs; baked beans; Key-lime pie; salted-caramel pudding.