Arlington, VA

If there’s one thing Arlington does particularly well, from a culinary perspective, it’s barbecue.

Four Arlington restaurants have made it on to Washington Post critic Tim Carman’s new top 10 D.C. area barbecue joints list, placing Nos. 3, 4, 8 and 9.

The overrepresentation of Arlington restaurants on the list is a remarkable achievement, considering that local eateries often underperform on regional restaurant lists and awards.

The BBQ joints that made Carman’s 2020 list (below) include two that opened this year: Smokecraft and Ruthie’s.

  • Texas Jack’s (2761 Washington Blvd, Lyon Park) — “This Arlington restaurant has topped this list for the past two years, a difficult task given the vagaries of barbecue, and it might have retained the title if not for some tiny slippages.”
  • Smokecraft Modern Barbecue (1051 N. Highland Street, Clarendon) — “Darneille buys Duroc pork, Wagyu beef and all-natural chicken and cooks them over six different types of wood, constantly tinkering with techniques to get the best out of his gas-assist smokers. The results are often mouthwatering.”
  • Ruthie’s All-Day (3411 5th Street S., Arlington Heights) — “Formerly the culinary director for the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group, including its smokehouse in Falls Church, Hill is blessed with an all-wood smoker at Ruthie’s… where he turns out superb specimens of brisket, pulled pork and spare ribs.”
  • Sloppy Mama’s (5731 Lee Highway & 4238 Wilson Blvd in Ballston Quarter mall) — “The shop’s chopped pork, rich and smoky, remains the gold standard. The housemade sausage, a pork link emboldened with brisket fat, snaps on first bite, its richness cut ever so gently with pickle brine.”
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