No.63 Kangaroo Boxing Club – Washington, DC

Number 63 on my list of barbeque establishments is the new Kangaroo Boxing Club in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. The owners are also the operators of the food truck Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine (PORC for short). The KBC was barely a month old when I visited recently on a warm Sunday evening. We were one of the early tables, but by the time we left a little while later, the little restaurant was really beginning to fill up. So how was the food? Hit and miss, but worth the visit. We started with an order of the Johnny Cakes, which I thought were delicious. A warm pile of corn pancakes, soft fluffy, a little gritty and topped with a big ball of maple butter, slowly melting in; they were so good. Do not pass these up.

KBC Johnny Cakes

But what about the meat you say! The meat – it was good enough for BBQ in the city. I tried the Three Little Pigs plate. The plate is a slab of Virginia Ham topped with pulled pork, and topped again with two pieces of thick bacon. The ham was super tender, but it was Virginia ham, to me it’s nothing special but it worked in the 3LP plate presentation. The bacon was very good and properly cooked, not overly crisp, but stout enough not to bend and still have a nice chew. Very good bacon. The pork was fine, if not a tad dry. Otherwise, not terribly memorable, but not bad either. Bacon wins the battle of the 3 little pigs.

KBC Three Little Pigs plate

I cannot judge a BBQ joint without tasting the sides, so I had my go-to side items, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. The mac-n-cheese is said to include the ingredients blue cheese, rosemary, and magic. The blue cheese I noticed, you could not miss it. The rosemary, I did not note, and the magic, well, poof I made it disappear from my plate, but as much as I like a good mac-n-cheese, this was a one-and-done. There are far more cheeses that will perform greatly in this classic dish. It was creamy, the pasta was not overcooked, all-in-all a noble effort, but I think they should consider experimenting with other cheese options. the collards were good, I also made them disappear. They were dark, we surmised flavored with molasses and some sugar – sweet and dark, but good. Every plate also comes with a side of slaw, it’s a vinegar base, it had not marinated long by the time I received my taste, but it did have a nice tang and crunch. I’d like to have tasted the beans, but my dining companion and I failed to use our heads and order different sides so we could taste them all, thought the beans were probably the only other side I would have liked to try. Oh, as a ‘side’ note, both mac-n-cheese and the Johnny Cakes are an up-charge side. Go for the JCs.

And the sauces, there were five if I remember correctly, but I cannot remember all of the specifics of each. I seem to recall two vinegar based, two ketchup based, and the vegan. One each of the vinegar and ketchup based sauces also had meat drippings, whereas I think the other two did not,  therefore I would think they would be vegan in their own right, and I have no idea what made the vegan special. Frankly I thought they were all just a slight variation on a narrow theme, all worth using or tasting, but not distinct enough to warrant the presence of all 5 on the table.

KBC sauce caddy

The restaurant is small so I can see if it gets busy a wait would be in order. I recommend you wait, it’s worth a try. Get a drink at the bar, which by my one order was surprisingly affordable. I got a call bourbon and coke and it was less than $6. I was shocked.

KBC menu

Kangaroo Boxing Club, 3410 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010

Kangaroo Boxing Club on Urbanspoon

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Cornell Chicken

It was time for a little more backyard BBQ this weekend. This time around I tried the Western NY staple, Cornell Chicken. I made a slight variation on the original recipe based on an America’s Test Kitchen recipe I previously got my hands on. It certainly works to make a pretty good looking and tasty chicken. No Cornell Chicken can be served without salt potatoes, so of course I made a pot full. If you’ve never had salt potatoes, I recommend you try them. Add 1.5 to 2 cups kosher salt to 8 cups of water, boil three pounds of small round (I used Yukon Gold) potatoes until tender, then drain and set the individual potatoes on a cooling rack and watch the salt crust form. Melt some butter, a stick should suffice, throw in some fresh chives and a twist of the pepper grinder and you are good to go.


Blue Smoke

Today I went to Nationals Park to see the Braves beat the Nats in game one of the doubleheader – go Braves! While at the park I saw they had a bbq stand called Blue Smoke. I had already eaten one overpriced ballpark food item and then debated fries or pork, fries or pork? Ultimately I ended up getting some overpriced fries, and just took a photo of the Blue Smoke stand. Blue Smoke was between Shake Shack and Box Frites – all three part of the same Union Square Hospitality Group out of NYC. My Box Frites were good enough, and if it counts I did get the Chipotle Barbeque dipping sauce. I am kind of glad I did not end up going for the pork sandwich, as I doubt they are succeeding with the same quality product as they would serve in the Blue Smoke restaurant in NYC- not that everything you read on the internet is true, but the Yelp reviews for Blue Smoke at the Nats stadium are pretty lackluster at best. I will say however that I have had a burger from a proper Shake Shack restaurant before and I saw some SS burgers at the stadium that looked pretty true to the real thing…so maybe all stadium food is not a half representation of the original. Anyway this post is more about a drive-by of a bbq joint that an actual tasting, but at least if you are headed to Nationals Park anytime soon, then you know what’s there and can try it for yourself.


Manuel’s Tavern BBQ sandwich

So I haven’t made it to any barbeque joints, shacks, restaurants, or the like in a while, but Friday we night stopped at the venerable Manuel’s Tavern at the corner of North and Highland for some dinner. I decided to try their self proclaimed Memphis Style bbq sandwich. The pork was thin sliced, not pulled or chopped. It was tender with a nice bite of black pepper. The sauce was sweet and piled on. I would actually recommend getting it with sauce on the side. The sandwich was topped with slaw, a standard cabbage-carrot mix with some green pepper too. With some of the other sides Manuel’s offers you could make it a real ‘bbq plate’ if you wanted. It’s solid bar food and a reasonable bbq sandwich, if you are in the neighborhood.

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Manuel's BBQ sandwich


Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Rochester, NY

It’s been a year and a half since I went to Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, NY, but I remember is was good enough that I would go back! I remember noting the ribs were quite good, as were many of the sides. I think the pulled pork left something to be desired, but all in all a good place to eat BBQ. I had to have some faith going into it based upon the size of that wood pile in downtown Rochester! they weren’t just keeping the place warm with it.