The DJ’s at Fatback fancy themselves experts on all things porky. The name of their amazing soul and funk dance party refers to a cut of bacon used in southern cooking to add flavor to an otherwise bland dish. We offered them an article on their dance night and this is what they came back with:
After two straight weeks of researching this article I feel disgusting.
I’ve gained 10 pounds and everything I touch (keyboard, doorknobs, cell phone, steering wheel) glistens with a thin sheen of pork grease.
But after a lot of due diligence I’ve narrowed the list down to the following:
The Rib Pit
3903 14 St., NW
If you’ve never eaten pork at the Rib Pit then this moment, the one in which you read these very words, is the start of a new and beautiful period in your life.
You now know where to access the ONLY genuine slow cooked rib in the District. Eat here immediately.
Owner/operator Vincent Brown has hidden his kitchen behind a façade that resembles every other fried fish joint in the area. There’s no seating, you can only carryout and the food is delivered to you through a rotating bulletproof cylinder.
Ah, but there are wonders behind that 4-inch Plexiglas. Vincent bought this little spot 35 years ago and built an enormous brick wood-smoke oven that dominates the kitchen and continues to turn out ribs as tender as the night is long. Every morning at 3 am he’s in the Pit tending to his slabs so that you can dig in from 11am – 10 pm.
The oven was built well before the Fire Department would hassle you with nitpicky safety regulations and Vincent’s oven in grandfathered in – you could never build one these days.
The ribs are smoky and doused in a tangy homemade bbq sauce; only Vincent knows the recipe. When we asked about ingredients he muttered “ketchup”.
The bean soup is out of control. Perfectly marbled pork chunks bob around in a hearty bean broth that only costs $1.50. It is, hands down, the best bargain in the District.
The “chicken tenders” are, in fact, whole chicken breasts slow-cooked in the wood oven, then sliced and sauced. Five dollars gets a large container and two sides.
And the sides are on point too. The greens and the mac-and-cheese swim in buttery goodness, though the coleslaw was a less appealing mayonnaise soup.
Make no mistake…Eating this stuff everyday will kill you. Even Vincent says he hasn’t eaten bbq in years. So exercise restraint and only drive within smelling distance when absolutely necessary. But when you can’t stand it anymore and that pork itch threatens to overwhelm…Vincent will be waiting and he’ll scratch it clean off your soul.
The Hitching Post
200 Upshur St. NW
Do you ever miss your GramGrams? Or maybe you resent her because instead of being cute and cuddly like everybody else’s Gram, she makes you cut her toenails and nags you about your “hippie hair cut”?
Well, Adrienne Carter’s got what you need. I triple-dog-dare you to find anything more adorable than Mrs. Carter welcoming you into the Hitching Post with a big warm smile and little black beret perched back on her graying hair.
The air in the Hitching Post smells like a Grandma’s kitchen is supposed to smell…Every surface of this little charmer has been infused with 41 years of accumulated comfort food molecules.
Adrienne and her husband Alvin opened shop in ’67 and they still don their aprons and cook behind the Formica counter every day. It’s about as cute a scene as you can imagine, but when it comes to food the Carters don’t play.
This is the best pork chop I’ve had in years. The Carters roll the chop (“we only use the best cuts”) around in some secret combination of eggs, flour and spices then fry it in gallons of oil until it’s a deep crispy brown on the outside and juicy as a summer peach on the inside.
Now, when you sit down and browse the menu you may be taken aback by the prices. Here’s the deal: You pay 14 bucks for a pork chop platter and the Carters bring you three meals worth of meat. So it’s actually a really good deal.
Please don’t cause Mrs. Carter any trouble. If your meal’s taking a while to get to the table here’s what you do: wait and say “thank you” when it arrives.
4714 14th St., NW
Smokey’s doesn’t really have anything to do with pork.
They serve a BLT but it’s about average.
I just want to take this opportunity to spread the Mumbo sauce gospel to what I’ll assume is a largely ignorant audience.
For those of you who don’t know, Mumbo sauce, like Go-Go, is a DC institution.
Smokey’s is widely thought to have the best Mumbo sauce this side of Anacostia. In consistency and color it reminds me a lot of what my Aunt Sandy puts in her hummingbird feeder. It’s about as sweet too, but with all kinds of spicy complexity.
Mumbo sauce recipes are more closely guarded than Pakistani nuclear secrets. When I asked Smokey’s owner Angela Lee how she made her Mumbo she said: “I cut my finger and squeeze” .
Anyway the shit is delicious and should be experienced by anyone claiming to be a DC resident.
Do this tonight:
Go to Smokey’s and order a $5.50 five-piece chicken wing basket with a big side of hand-cut fries
Douse everything in Mumbo until only hints of brown peek through the red icing.
Enjoy for about 3.5 minutes until you join me in gluttonous remorse.
Come to Fatback and dance away your shame.