Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque takes the winning title for Best BBQ of the DC Suburbs for the second year in a row. A small, rustic building with a welcoming front porch, Carolina Brothers is an Ashburn, Virginia favorite. Conveniently located right off the W&OD trail, the BBQ joint is a popular stop for the area’s many cyclists.
Owned for the last seven years by Danny Hurdle, this is the place that Carolina-style barbeque lovers’ dreams are made of. Patrons select their meals from a variety of hickory-smoked meat and traditional southern-inspired comfort food side dishes, and after ordering at the counter, they make their way to wooden tables replete with an impressive collection of sauces and condiments. The ambiance of the restaurant helps give customers a complete dining experience that feels authentically down-home and southern.
Hurdle, who runs the restaurant with the help of his wife, is a North Carolina native. According to his website, Hurdle “grew up eating, cooking, and serving barbeque at Hurdle’s Restaurant, a South Mills eatery his daddy won in a poker game.” For Hurdle, authentic barbeque is in the details. “The grill,” he insists, “has to be exactly 17 inches from the bottom of the cooker. One inch either way will change the cooking tremendously.” Additionally, “The pig can’t weigh an ounce over 140 pounds. Any bigger than that, and he’s not a pig, he’s a hog, and all you’re cooking is grease.”
Carolina Brothers hickory smokes all of its meats while they gently cook in a traditional North Carolina-style pit, after which the pork, beef, or chicken is hand shredded into tender, bite-sized pieces. Meat is garnished at the table, and the Carolina Brothers’ special sauce has a much-loved subtle spiciness that compliments the familiar BBQ flavor.
Hurdle’s efforts to make truly delicious barbeque have not gone unrewarded. Carolina Brothers has won several competitive awards, including first place in the whole hog and chicken categories and second place in the ribs category at the National BBQ Battle, as well as placing seventh out of almost five hundred competitors with Carolina Brothers’ BBQ sauce in the world championship held in Memphis, TN.
Perhaps the strongest testament to Carolina Brothers’ popularity, however, is simply how busy they are. On some nights it can be difficult to find a seat, and if clients want to make sure the restaurant’s infamous tender ribs will be available, especially for later diners, they’ll have to call and order them ahead of time. Parking can also sometimes be scarce, but the patrons who frequent this establishment know that the quality of the food and service and the incredibly reasonable prices are well worth it.
Carolina Brothers offers a comprehensive dine-in and carryout menu, as well as a special catering menu and party packs. Visit them at 20702 Ashburn Rd., Ashburn, VA from 10:30 am to 7:00 pm Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 am to 8:00 pm Friday and Saturday. For more info, call 703.729.7070 or visit www.CarolinaBrothers.com.
CAROLINA BROTHERS PIT BARBEQUE
20702 Ashburn Rd Ashburn, VA 20147
Kirsten Clodfelter holds an MFA in fiction from George Mason University and teaches English Composition at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky. Her writing has been published most recently in The Iowa Review, Brevity, Avery, and I Am Modern.