Alamo Barbecue, Richmond, Virginia

It used to be that barbecue quality dropped off the table as soon as you crossed into Virginia from North Carolina. No more. Places like ZZQ, Sloppy Mama’s, Ronnie’s, and Northern Neck can hold their heads up anywhere in the country, and it has been an unalloyed pleasure verifying places that cook exclusively with wood in my capacity as Smoke Detector for the Washington area and Virginia on behalf of the Campaign for Real Barbecue.

It was therefore with much anticipation that on my way back from the Jim Early Memorial North Carolina Historic Barbecue Trail Tour that I got a chance to go to Alamo Barbecue in the historic Church Hill section of Richmond, where Patrick Henry gave his immortal “Liberty or Death” speech in St. John’s Church. I’d been to Alamo once before years ago. I wasn’t overly enthused then, but the quality of Texas-style barbecue generally has risen sharply since then. Indeed, Daniel Vaughn says brisket has peaked(!). I heard that a rising tide lifts all boats. Alamo had closed during the COVID restrictions, so they’d had plenty of time to learn the latest techniques.

Up and running again, Alamo is a small place, and the meat is cooked in smokers outside the Spanish style building.

Alamo boasts “Texas Barbecue RVA Style”. Given the Texas theme, I ordered a half pound of brisket (the meat is sold in half pound increments), and some collards, jalapeño macaroni and cheese, candied yams, and some of their homemade limeade.

Starting with the positive, the candied yams were delicious. The brisket has a good smoky flavor, but it was lean and the slices defeated the plastic fork they provided. I enjoyed the jalapeño macaroni and cheese, but the jalapeño bits weren’t really blended in like the Blaine Cooper’s macaroni and queso at the late South Fork in Harrisonburg. The collards apparently were vegan-friendly, and the limeade had much more sugar than lime.

Alamo cooks all of their meats with wood, no gas or electricity, so I was able to hand them the True ‘Cue certification. Alas, cooking with wood no more guarantees great results than gas-assisted cooking rules out tasty barbecue. There’s a lot more to good barbecue than that. I do hope that Alamo keeps it up and improves. Alamo is a nice addition to an immediate neighborhood with few options.


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5 thoughts on “Alamo Barbecue, Richmond, Virginia

  1. I wonder if you caught Alamo on an off day on your visit there several years ago. We had their barbecue several times in the years after it opened in 2009 and it was always excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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