The Quest for the Perfect Pig: Rocklands

30 Mar
Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling


A few months ago The Hay Sayers set out to find the perfect pig, or our favorite barbeque.  Our first adventure took us to a very small pit called Mr. B’s in White Post, Virginia.

Last week, as Washington City Paper put out the 2009 Best of DC, our taste buds woke up, and our quest took us to a local establishment.  Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling (voted #1 BBQ, for Best of DC) is a small restaurant located on Wisconsin.  As you walk in, you notice that there is only one large island and some counter seating to dine on.  Your wall to the left is filled with about 100 different types of barbeque and hot sauces, and your wall to the right houses large batches of sweet tea and lemonade.  The restaurant is filled with a smell of smoked meat, which caused those mouth juices to start flowing.

The menu gives you several options from sandwiches to racks.  There is a Blue Plate Special every day, and several sides to chose from.

Rocklands Half Rack

Rocklands Half Rack


Our trip this time was a little different. Instead of traveling over the country side, we went to the other side of DC. It makes you wonder what bbq could be so good in the middle of a city? Well Rocklands did a pretty good job. I ordered the beef brisket platter, which included a choice of two sides.  I chose mac and cheese and cole slaw to join my sandwich. When the food came out, I was pleased to see a heaping mound of smoked beef covered in sauce, just sitting there waiting for my consumption.

I started with the cole slaw…eh. Could be better (but I may not be the best judge of it because I’m a huge fan of KFC slaw). The mac and cheese was fair, it was the cheese and shells stuff you can buy at the supermarket, nothing really special. Maybe it serves me right for expecting it to be like my mother’s mac and cheese…it was better with some salt and pepper. That brings us to the meat! When first tasting it, I couldn’t help but to notice the smoked flavor of the brisket, mmhmmm very good, but that sensation lasted for about 3 seconds when I got the flavor of the sauce they put on it. Not as good as I hoped.  I don’t know how to describe it but the sauce did nothing to help the sandwich, it would have been just as good, or better with no sauce at all.

Doug and I decided to bring some research home with us from Rocklands, so we bought a half rack of pork ribs to go. The first thing you notice when looking at them is that they are HUGE, which is great because we’re meat loving men (in the dietary sense). The ribs were good and I thought they were much better than the beef sandwich (there may be no real comparison since they’re two different animals). I can only imagine the joy that could be obtained if there was a full rack of ribs sitting before the two of us. I would say overall the menu items were was solid, but not great.  The meat flavor was better than Mr. B’s in rural VA, but the sauce left something to be desired.

Let the quest continue…


One Response to “The Quest for the Perfect Pig: Rocklands”

  1. M Ho March 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    My favorite part of this was that you clarified that you are meat loving men….in the dietary sense!

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