By now, you know how much of a BBQ beast we’ve turned into during this issue. Sauce and burnt flesh EVERYWHERE.
But as much as we love the little roadside joints and brisket bunkers, we couldn’t let this issue go by without a head-nod to two standout dishes—that stand out even more because they’re not afraid to get their white tablecloth approach a little dirty.
Thanks, Watershed and Middle West. You already had us at booze—but we’re now completely smitten with your take on ribs. – Travis Hoewischer
Hay-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
Watershed Kitchen & Bar
1145 Chesapeake Ave.
Trust me, this will be the best $16 you ever spend. Served in a cast iron skillet and fresh hay smoking next to it, these grilled pork ribs are perfectly seasoned and sauced, the texture of a chocolate cake on top, revealing pull apart, smoke-ringed flavor on the inside. It’s not even entirely necessary to include the sesame seeds, pickled shallot, herbed crème, but it’s just more taste on top. Chef Jack Moore is lucky we don’t work with him—we’d never even let it get out the door without taking a bite.
1230 Courtland Ave.
Chef Avishar Barca has made a name for himself well before Service Bar’s long-awaited opening, having turned heads for his inventive, yet approachable dishes at vaunted Veritas Tavern. Now, running the show at Middle West Spirit’s new kitchen, he’s done it again with his “crispy ribs,” a familiar taste to those who are followers of the great General Tso. But, you’ll never want to go back to your favorite takeout once you’ve bitten into Barua’s creation, a sticky sweet treat beautifully flanked by fried broccoli and pickled radish.