Best Barbecue

Urban Bar-B-Que
2007 Chapman Ave., Rockville; (240) 290-4827
David Calkins, a late-but-devoted adopter of Texas-style barbecue, would be the first to tell you that, as hard as he tries, no two briskets ever come out the same at Urban Bar-B-Que in Rockville. It’s just a fact of life for pitmasters: Consistency in barbecue is all but impossible; the variables are just too many. This, in part, explains why Urban has had wide fluctuations in recent years, particularly with its brisket, arguably the hardest of all smoked meats. But Calkins has made some changes to foster a better consistency; namely, the ’cue house is smoking briskets daily, which means its meats won’t be drying out in the holding unit or losing the edge on their bark. Urban’s also changed its approach to ribs, which makes for a less sticky (but no less moist and smoky) product. They’re still the best around. And that chili with the chopped smoked brisket? In the winter, I could live off it.

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