One of Washington’s top barbecue joints is on the cusp of expansion—though like everything else in the pandemic, Federalist Pig‘s second location will look a little different than planned. Owner Steve Salis had to push back the opening of his Hyattsville restaurant—a bigger, meatier version of the Adams Morgan original—and plans to open the venue, formerly a tire shop, in spring 2021. In the meantime, pit master Rob Sonderman will operate a mobile barbecue trailer in the restaurant’s Hyattsville parking lot. It’s equipped with a commercial kitchen and custom-built, wood-burning J&R Smoker from Texas. The venture is scheduled to open by October for carryout, delivery, and limited picnic table seating.
“We’re doing our best to move things along,” says Salis, who entertained plans of a mobile barbecue kitchen pre-Covid to help with catering and events. “I thought, let’s push this to the front of the list.”
The trailer isn’t as mobile as a food truck, though it may roam from time to time. For the most part it will remain in the lot, where Sonderman will turn out a menu of smoked wings, ribs, sausage, and pulled pork from the new wood smoker. As in Adams Morgan, he plans to run specials like smoked pork belly “burnt ends,” sandwiches—including vegetarian offerings—and sides-with-a-twist like smoked-cheddar Mac and chipotle/garlic green beans. The beverage menu is still in the works, but you may find glass bottle sodas and possibly pouched cocktails down the line.
Part of the impetus behind the Federalist Pig expansion was to give Sonderman more room—and more equipment. The small Adams Morgan shop turns out an impressive level of barbecued meats with a single gas-assisted smoker, but the kitchen often runs out on busy days. When the brick-and-mortar opens it’ll be equipped with two more J&R wood smokers as well as more indoor and outdoor seating.
In the meantime, the mobile kitchen isn’t the only new Fed Pig spinoff. Salis, who owns Kramers (originally Kramerbooks), installed a “Fedwich” sandwich pop-up in the Dupont bookstore and cafe this spring. He’s also planning a barbecue pop-up at Noma beer garden Wundergarten, which will run for four Fridays in October andhmay become a more permanent thing. An expansion of the Adams Morgan flagship is also in the works for next year.
Federalist Pig Mobile Kitchen. 5504 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville.