Best BBQ Restaurants in DC, Maryland and Virginia in 2022

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The sleek, minimalist café in a Kent Island business park seems out of place until you realize that Berj Ghazarian, the founder of Bark, is also co-owner of the nearby manufacturing company, the one that sells sauces at the chocolate, gelato, fruit toppings and other dessert ingredients to restaurants. On a trip to Texas more than a decade ago, Ghazarian had his moment en route to Damascus over the barbecue. Upon his return, he started out with the usual backyard cooks, but quickly moved on to the competitive circuit, which he realized was not for him. Ghazarian has settled into a formula that works well: In the parking lot of the business park, Ghazarian or his right-hand man, Lorenzo “Ren” Price, will cook briskets, ribs, chicken and pork belly on a pair of Moberg smokers but mostly use these meats in sandwiches, rice bowls, or as an occasional side dish for day workers. But here’s the secret: you can also order a meat platter, even if you don’t see the platter listed on the menu. What you’ll get is one of the best barbecues around: peppery slices of beef brisket that’s been slow-smoked to a juicy consistency; smoked pork belly prepared like beef brisket, topped with crispy coriander rind, cloves, etc. ; ribs smoked once then smoked a second time in a braising liquid infused with peach-hoisin sauce, gochujang and more; and smoked chicken (modified from a recipe developed by Ghazarian’s father, Boris) in which boneless thighs are marinated overnight and then cooked for over two hours until browned and irresistible.

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