Ever since my friend Jen (over at freshcrackedpepper) brought her homemade pulled pork for lunch, I have been craving barbeque. And like Jen, I too am quite spoiled when it comes to barbeque. I frequented Dinosaur BarBQue in Syracuse for their meaty ribs and stellar sauce. I visited Little Rock, AR for the sole purpose of trying their famed world champion Whole Hog Barbeque. And while in D.C., deprived of good smoky barbeque, I watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to try to get my bbq fix.
But after a week of feeling empty and sad after that mere sighting of pulled pork, I decided enough was enough, and set out to find some decent barbecue places in the District. As it turns out, there are more than a few, including Urban Barbecue and Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company. Rocklands, being the closer of the two, was my destination on Friday night.
Rocklands has multiple locations, but the one in D.C. is on the main drag of Glover Park. The space is pretty small and cozy, with only about a dozen seats. An eclectic collection of hot sauce line the shelves on the wall. Pleasantly smoky aromas envelop diners–a preview of the meat-filled meal to come.
My boyfriend ordered the 3 meat platter ($10.99; pictured at the top), which included brisket, pulled chicken, and chopped pork (or pulled pork) with a choice of 2 sides. The brisket was tender and juicy, and was great even without any sauce. I loved the meat’s smoky flavor. The pulled chicken and pork were also delicious. The sides, however, were not to my taste. The baked beans were all right (but a little too vinegary and strong), but the coleslaw was a strange mix of peas, carrots, and cabbage. Maybe it is a regional preference, but I’ve never had carrots or peas in coleslaw before, and I found it a bit odd.
I ordered the Rockland Pearl, which the menu lists as Barbequed Baked Beans, Mac & Cheese, Chopped Pork, and Barbeque Sauce ($6.49). But the menu fails to include one major detail: that all of these components come slapped together in a plastic container. I was a bit disturbed at first, but the combination actually worked (once I separated everything onto a separate plate). The buns were an extra 75 cents, and were terrific with the pulled pork. For $6.49, it was a steal. The menu also features ribs and whole barbequed pigs, which both sound enticing.
We left Rocklands with barbecue both in our stomachs…and in our clothes. We absolutely reeked of smoke after, but to me, that is the true sign of a good barbeque joint. Not everything at Rocklands may be to my taste or what I think of as standard barbeque fare, but it will certainly satisfy any Washingtonian’s craving for barbeque–especially those who are on a budget.
2418 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20007