There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
As a former resident of Cowtown,USA, I had been eyeballing the KC Pit BBQ truck for a couple of weeks now. I finally visited the massive 18-wheeler over the weekend only to discover that the owners are based in…wait for it…Sandy Springs, Ga.
Not to worry. The owners, according to KC Pit BBQ’s designed-within-an-inch-of-its-life Web site, moved to the Atlanta suburb after living in the Kansas City area, where they learned the local barbecue traditions.
Given Kansas City’s affection for ribs, I opted for the spare ribs ($11 for a generous portion, probably a half-rack). Not that I had much choice. It was either that or rib tips (not a fan of the cartilage) or a hamburger and hot dog (which, last I checked, didn’t really fit under the K.C. barbecue banner).
The woman at the cash register told me the ribs were smoked over hickory wood for 10 hours, then finished on the grill until they were fall-off-the-bone good. I knew right then they weren’t going to be my kind of ribs.
I prefer ribs with a little chew left on them, so that your teeth have to clench into the meat and detach it from the bone, caveman-style. I also like a lot more seasoning than what the KC Pit BBQ ribs had to offer. They were decidedly sweet, too, with a wimpy smoke penetration that didn’t bespeak a 10-hour pit stop.
The worst part, however, was the ribs’ exterior. It had hardened into something rubbery, likely the result of excessive mopping of the ribs and too much time away from the smoker. I have no idea how KC Pit BBQ holds its meat, but whatever method the cooks employ, it’s not doing the ribs any favors.
With that said, the ribs were more than passable when dunked into KC Pit BBQ’s tangy sauce, which is important to remember when judging K.C.-style ‘cue. The city really digs sauce.
Still, I’d love to try KC Pit BBQ’s ribs straight out of the smoker. I suspect their texture is far better, even if they remain too sweet for me.