BBQ World, Burke, VA

Burke has numerous strip shopping centers dotted with independently owned restaurants that many Washingtonians will never lay eyes on, and BBQ World is one of them even though it’s been open since 1993. The best way to describe its location is that it’s in the Wal-Mart Center.

Two days before, I’d ordered some really middling ribs at Dixie Bones in Woodbridge. Trying to be more rigorous than hedonistic, I figured, well, why not torture myself a bit more.

The atmosphere here is very old-school suburban (think of the old McLean Three Pigs), and there’s a certain veneer of decrepitude that can never be undone.

I was very skeptical about the preparation of the ribs here, so I asked the gentleman behind the register if they were really smoked. “They’re smoked, then baked,” he said.

A Smoked Pork Ribs Platter ($15.50 for 1/2 rack with 2 sides and cornbread) made me pine away for Dixie Bones. The ribs were wet and flavorless, as if they had been boiled before being baked, and there was no smoke ring at all. Both the mac and cheese and collard greens were exactly what you’d expect at a place like this, and the meal was rescued by dumping as much sauce on things as possible. A self-serve Diet Coke ($1.75) had unlimited refills.

The life of a masochist – it’s never dun (unless you consider the color of the rib meat he endures).

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