’Cue the Bromance

Custodian With a dry mop in a hallway

By Adam Wade | Posted on 01.19.20

I love barbecue. I love big fat hog..love slow-burning fire. I love spicy, sweet, juicy in my mouth. The flavor and sensation of that perfectly smoked sparerib, dusted with extra rib rub, and dunked in sauce is second only to your first kiss.

Every minute that pungent smoke makes sweet, slow, gentle love to that ugly-ass, tough-as-hell, but wonderfully promising chunk of meat, dusted with secrets, at just the right amount of heat, inches taste buds closer to the edge of bliss. Breath caught in the back of your throat nanoseconds before the meat touches your tongue with brown sugar, salt, cayenne, black pepper. That hint of smoky temptation that hits your nose like a sucker punch of flesh and fire. Flavors that alternate between sweet, savory, salt and heat. Pulling the bone out of a perfect rack, so that only the tender bits remain, before devouring it with a with a dribble of sauce down your chin. Eyes glassy and dilated, already reaching for a cold can to refresh. Pouring some down over almost exhausted taste buds.

Hunk after hunk after hunk of soft, fall-apart pork butt, brisket, chicken, and sausage. Too many to count. Splashed with sauces all colors of the rainbow. Yellow from South Carolina, sweet red from Memphis, mayo vinegar from Alabama, D.C. Mumbo sauce. One after another. Dripping down your chin, seconds before falling onto your shirt. A gastronomic Scarlet Letter. Sticky fingers wiped on paper towels in average places, slices of soft white bread at the better places.

Sandwiches of flame-licked pit beef doused in horsey and Tiger sauce. The roll soft, and giving, and hopefully dotted with onion. Explosions of flavor from the spice of the horseradish, and the moist, pink meat that drips down onto the fries that serve to mop up any innocence lost. Just one pit beef sandwich is never enough, however. Always wanting more. Another. Maybe with smoked sausage on it this time? Old favorites are forgotten and a new favorite sandwich is introduced. A pile of used wet naps streaked with glee, the only evidence of what just occurred. Knowing glances of satisfaction or anticipation exchanged with other patrons. No time for shame or salad inside these carbon scented walls.

There are some places around Frederick where consenting adults can go to get their barbecue kicks, and I would be negligent if I spent all this time writing Barbecue Fan Fiction and not telling you where to find them. After visiting a whole hog’s worth of places around this part of the DMV, there were three that lived up to the standards set after living in the Deep South for 20-plus years.

Mackie’s Southern Barbecue on 7th Street makes a fantastic rib sandwich for $10, an unbelievable deal. At Black Hog BBQ on Market Street you can dive into chopped pork cheese fries that come topped with bacon(!) for only $7.50. CarterQue BBQ & Grilling Company, located on Main Street in Mount Airy, has burnt ends. Yes, you are reading this correctly. The be-all-end-all Holy Grail for true BBQ cognoscente. Burnt. Ends.

I love barbecue. It’s messy, sexy and delicious. In fact, all this writing about it is making me … hungry. I think I’m gonna go get some. With extra sauce and rub. And extra napkins. And some alone time with my hog.

Frederick Magazine