Words and Photos by Melissa Groth
Chef Andrew Evans brings his signature slow-cooked barbecue to Union Market with the opening of The BBQ Joint, one of the Market’s newest additions. Evans has already established a devoted following at the Easton and Pasadena, Maryland locations, and is set to gather more loyal ‘cue cravers with his new DC location. For ten years he’s been fine-tuning his craft, creating flavorful rubs and perfecting the art of the smoke.
You’ll find beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and Sriracha and beer smoked sausage on the menu at The BBQ Joint’s Union Market location. The sides are what you’d expect from a barbecue restaurant: collard greens, coleslaw, baked beans, and yams. The recipes used to prepare the sides create a flavor that is based in that expectation, but goes way beyond it. Each side dish is uniquely Evans’s. You’ll sense the homage he’s paying to tried-and-true preparation, but you’ll taste a delicious departure from typical with each bite. His attention to detail and intricacies of flavor extends beyond the barbecue items to everything on the menu, even the corn muffins which are buttery golden perfection.
But back to the meat. The pulled pork is tender and flavorful, and the ribs- with a shake of Chef’s signature spices- pack just the right amount of heat. It’s the brisket that will keep you coming back for the sweetly savory uniqueness of its flavor. The fat cap is more of a fat crown, glorious atop tender, slow-smoked meat. Careful, you’ll crave this. Each meat item is delicious on its own, but if you prefer your ribs “wet,” or some sauce on that pulled pork sandwich, The BBQ Joint offers a selection of custom sauces ranging between sweet, medium, and spicy. There is also “swicy” sauce, a combination of all three.
Chef Evans’s passion for barbecue is apparent, both in the attention and focus he puts into the preparation of his meats, as well as in the enthusiastic glow of adoration you see on his face when he talks about the simple yet complex process of slow-cooking a well seasoned cut. If you love barbecue, rejoice and hie thee to the Joint. If you’re not so familiar with the slow-smoke, if you don’t know what’s so special about brisket or you think you’d never eat something called pork butt, don’t hesitate to visit Evans at the Union Market location. You’ll love this totally unpretentious yet sophisticated cuisine as much as he does in no time.