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Supreme Barbeque serves Texas-style barbecue at its restaurant located on the edge of Eckington in Northeast. Filipino-American father and son Juan and Jeremy Canlas opened their first location ten years ago in Lanham, with the D.C. store being their second. They took over the former New York Pizza spot at the busy intersection of North Capitol Street and Florida Avenue NE in April 2021. They opened a third location, in Annandale in February 2022, and a fourth store is set to open in Clinton by the end of the year.
A beautiful hand painted mural adorns the left side of the takeout spot’s building. “Washington” is written in a large white script with blue, pink and purple flowers behind it, perfect for a photo opp. If you choose to eat your food right away, snag a picnic table near the mural. A smaller mural with blue and white bubbles surrounds one of the entrances.
The inside of the store is bright and clean. You’ll find two cash registers behind the counter, and a self-serve kiosk next to a grass wall backdrop. Menus are posted on the walls and behind the cashiers.
Supreme is all about their smoked meats. Each of their proteins is brined for several hours, then seasoned with a house blend dry rub, and smoked with hickory wood for several hours in the back of their kitchen. “We use two industrial smokers. People don’t think we smoke in-house because of the lack of visible smoke outside the store,” Jeremy says.
The restaurant serves all the traditional barbecue items, from ribs to several side dishes. Lunch combos of your choice of one meat, a small side, and a drink are available 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The larger family feasts come with several pounds of food, feeding five to eight people. Each protein is also available as a sandwich or on a salad.
Of the handful of their meats I sampled, the pork ribs were my absolute favorite! The taste immediately took me to a backyard barbecue as I chowed down on them. They are brined for twenty-four hours, then smoked for twelve. The ribs glistened, had a beautiful char on the outside, but were still tender on the inside. If it were healthy to eat pork everyday, these ribs would be part of my diet. I see why it’s one of their top sellers.
The beef brisket is another popular menu item, and something I always order at barbecue joints. It chills out in a brine for a day, then gets seasoned to smoke for 16 hours. A moist, thinly sliced brisket is the end result, with a decent amount of that juicy fat in the middle. Two words for this: meat butter.
If you don’t eat red meat, chicken and turkey are available. Cooks smoke chicken wings for three hours before quickly deep frying them. They are tossed in your choice between a spicy buffalo or mild mumbo-flavored sauce, or can be left plain. Whole turkey legs are another option, and had a hint of spice. “These are rare to find, unless you go to Disneyland”, says Jeremy of the enormous turkey legs, which get smoked for four hours.
Supreme offers three sweet housemade barbecue sauces to drizzle on your food. My favorite is their mild sauce made with molasses. Their southern sweet is vinegar-based. Their sweet and spicy sauce is like a cross between the first two, with a bit of heat. These sauces are always served on the side. Chef Randy mentions that while they’re delicious, “you get the true experience of our barbecue by trying everything without the sauce first.” Although I’m not a barbecue connoisseur, I strongly agree.
Supreme also sells crispy deep-fried fish. You can choose between tilapia, whiting, or catfish, and I went with the latter. Cooks dip two or three fresh fish filets in egg wash and dredge them in seasoned cornmeal flour, then fry them until they’re golden brown and crunchy. The coating on the fish was a bit salty, which I didn’t mind.
The sides are just as important as the meat when it comes to good barbecue. Supreme has 12 to choose from. They’re available in eight-, 16-, and 32-ounce portions. Creamy coleslaw can be eaten on sandwiches or alone. Slow-cooked green beans are seasoned with spices, onions and green peppers. Their candied yams are topped with toasted marshmallows. Pork rinds are also available for an additional charge.
With so many options, I followed the staff’s recommendations. The ooey gooey macaroni and cheese is their top seller. It spends 20 minutes in the smoker at the end of the process for a bit more flavor. Fork-tender collard greens cook overnight in turkey broth. The slow-cooked baked beans were my favorite, and the best baked beans I’ve ever had in my life—I find it hard to believe they are vegetarian!
If you’re seeking something sweet, Supreme serves a small selection of baked goods. Cornbread and sweet potato bread are served individually in sealed packaging. The creamy sweet potato pie is made in house. I absolutely loved the filling, which wasn’t overly sweet. The crust was also good, but needed a little more color.
The barbecue spot shares its space with its sister concept, AunTea Boba, serving made-to-order boba drinks. Boba is a sweet beverage of black tea, flavored milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls. The cooks make the tapioca pearls fresh each morning. A customer mentioned these were the best she’d tried.
AunTea Boba has a wide selection to choose from, which is also customizable. Several are listed as their most popular. I tried the cereal milk flavor paired with brown sugar tapioca. It was that slightly sweet taste you get when drinking leftover milk in a bowl of cereal.
With the approaching summer, Supreme is another barbecue spot that can be added to your list. A flavorful menu with classic tastes is exactly what’s needed.
Supreme is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is available next to the building in a small parking lot, with more street parking behind the building. Pickup orders can be placed online, over the phone, or in person. Delivery is available through UberEats and Doordash.
Supreme Barbeque, 2 Florida Ave NE. (202) 635-5000. supremebbq.com.