UPDATE: Alas, South Fork has closed. The owner got sick of people wandering in and asking if he served chicken tenders, so he went back to Texas where people appreciate brisket. He may have left too soon. Brisket is booming all over the place, as is the state of barbecue in Virginia. So here’s an update.
I have since tried several of the places mentioned in the link — King’s, Monk’s, and the Barbecue Exchange, and you can click on each for a full review, each of which serves True ‘Cue — barbecue cooked only with wood — no gas or electric heat. And I’ve also identified some more wood-only places that you definitely should try. On the top of the list is the truly outstanding ZZQ in Richmond, which can save you a trip to Texas. Really. Richmond also is blessed with SMoHK, just around the corner from ZZQ, and two Buz and Ned’s locations. Up in Arlington, Sloppy Mama’s is very good, the best oil Northern Virginia by a good margin — at least the best I’ve tried to date. Finally, you should try Doveshack, a food truck — actually two food trucks — in the Fredericksburg area.
I’ve also reviewed some good non-barbecue places in Virginia you should try. Just search”Virginia.” And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box. Or bookmark us and check in from time to time. If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, often close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome. And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.
UPDATE: The best barbecue in Virginia is at South Fork in Harrisonburg.
My cousin Sinclair Griffin Lee pointed out this list of 13 top Virginia barbecue places that appeared in the virginia.org blog. I haven’t tried any of them, but I see that they don’t include Pierce’s, and that adds some credibility. I have been meaning to try the BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, which is a couple of hours away. It was touted in Garden and Gun. Monk’s in Purcellville is within striking distance of DC, and it makes sense to try Allman’s in Fredericksburg, since traffic on I95 always comes to a standstill in Fredericksburg, and ducking in for some sandwiches to eat while sitting in traffic makes sense. Nancy and I will need to go to Richmond as part of our state capital volksmarch quest, and the prospect of both barbecue and raw oysters at the Hogshead Cafe should lure me in for a meal.
So many places, so little time. If you’ve been to any of these, please let me know how it was.