Full Rack of Ribs platter at Ronnie's BBQ (Photo by Julianne Tripp)
1. Miss Piggy, $8 from Southern Charm BBQ Co. at South of the James Market
Imagine a barbecue sundae, layered and savory: mac ‘n’ cheese on the bottom, topped with bacon-scented pulled pork, topped with milky-white slaw. The cherry? North Carolina-style hot sauce.
2. Pork BBQ Sandwich, $5.96 for a small, $6.95 for a large at Hawks
An old-school riff on Virginia-style barbecue: minced pork on a buttered, grilled Kaiser roll soaked with a sweet, smoky tomato sauce. Save room for Hawks’ sweet potato pie with the texture of flan.
3. Brisket Fajita, $8.50 at Deep Run Roadhouse
This brisket’s slathered in dry rub, then hickory- and oak-smoked to coax out all the flavors of the flat and burnt ends that get stuffed into a tortilla with Texas caviar, grilled onions, peppers and rice.
4. Pulled Pork Barbecue, $18 at Comfort
This North Carolina-style ‘cue gets smoked hard for 20 minutes, then slow and low for 12 hours, but what makes it is the bevy of sides and the house-made hot sauce: With celery, onion, bay leaf and six-plus varieties of peppers, it’s a squeeze bottle you’ll want to smuggle in your bag.
5. Full Rack of Ribs, $25 at Ronnie’s BBQ (New Location: 2097 New Market Road)
Ronnie’s hashtag of choice is #BbqBadBoyz, so you know that once you see his smoker, Big Red, it’s going down for real. Don’t forget the secret sauce. Or napkins.