Photography by Rey Lopez

Barbequed Beef Ribs at Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co.


The thing about beef ribs is that nobody around here gets them.

Figuratively or otherwise.

Rocklands founder John Snedden originally fell for the primal cut—typically composed of knobby bones (any single one of which could easily double as a bludgeon once picked clean) enrobed in mouthwatering meat—while eating his way across the Lone Star State. When it came time to stoke his own barbecue venture, Snedden carved out room for the lusty treat.

Most locals, apparently, stick with the pork-based baby back and spare ribs favored east of the Appalachians.


Available by the rack, half-rack or a single Flintstone-sized indulgence, each glorious hunk of well-marbled flesh arrives smothered in saucy grilled onions.

“I tell people, ‘This isn’t like a filet. It’s a Delmonico,’” one Rocklands manager explained.

His assessment is spot-on.

Each generously portioned rib I wolfed down featured fork-tender meat moistened by deposits of creamy fat. The intoxicating aroma of hickory smoke permeated every bite, while a vinegary sauce provided tang.

“I try to limit myself to just a couple a week. You know, save some for the customers,” the manager joked after spotting the mammoth portion on my plate. Too late: The secret’s out.


Get it: Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co., 25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria and 3471 Washington Blvd., Arlington



Baby back ribs at Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque
What they lack in size, expertly prepared baby backs more than make up for in lip-smacking satisfaction. These spice-crusted specimens offer up mouthfuls of savory meat shaken up by zesty-sweet sauce.

Get it: Carolina Brothers Pit Barbecue, 20702 Ashburn Road, Ashburn


Pork spare ribs at Dixie Bones bbq
Signature sauces stand at the ready, but these beauties don’t need a thing; the meat smacks of salt, sugar and smoke and slides off the bone with a tug of the teeth.

Get it: Dixie Bones bbq, 13440 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge and 1917 Plank Road, Fredericksburg


Beef short ribs at Victor’s Grill
Though far less theatrical than the still-sizzling mixed grills presented tableside, the asado de tira summons twin slabs of succulent beef rendered absolutely irresistible when slathered in garlic- and herb-spiked chimichurri.

Get it: Victor’s Grill, 7634 Lee Highway, Falls Church


(July 2015)