Photos By Armando Gallardo, Words By Brandon Wetherbee
Chef/Pitmaster Rob Sonderman has a new BBQ joint. Federalist Pig, located in Adams Morgan but on a block that doesn’t feel like Adams Morgan, has been open for one weekend. It sold out of food on Saturday and Sunday. We’re not surprised.
Previous to Federalist Pig, Sonderman was the original DCity Smokehouse pitmaster. Before that he was at Hill Country. He made an impression at both establishments. His BBQ was regarded as some of the best in the DMV. It still is. He sold out of food the first weekend in his new place.
The new place is small. It seats up to 40, but will be comfortable for 20. The lighting is gold. Our photos are not not white balanced, FP just has yellow lights. The menu is on a tack board, allowing Sonderman flexibility to change his menu on a daily basis. A butcher sheet featuring special meats and sides hangs next to the beer cooler. The place has the look and feel of a quality BBQ joint. What makes it a D.C. establishment is the massive Kelly Towles pig.
The food is what you’d expect from one of the best pitmasters in the DMV. People will be raving about the ribs, as they should, but the chicken sandwich, The Music City, is one of our favorites of 2016. It’s a mess. You’ll need a lot of napkins.
Based on our sneak peak, the best way to approach the menu is with a large group. Order 1/2 lb of whatever meats you fancy with as many people as possible. You’ll want to sample each meat since each meat was smoked with a different wood. One of the reasons Sonderman earned his well regarded reputation is his wood. He’s got a wood guy. The wood you see underneath the benches and under the menu? That’s all different wood. There are currently 6 different types of wood being used to experiment with new flavors. Each meat will taste different. Some meats will be different based on the wood. In order to try as much as possible, go with a group. If you’re alone, the sandwiches are more than enough for one.
Federalist Pig, 1654 Columbia Road, is open Wednesday through Friday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Check their Instagram and Twitter feeds before heading over. They’ll post when they’re running out of food. Catering and more vegetarian options are on the way.