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Absolute Barbecue, Pit Barbecue in Manassas - Owner Martha Morris on Old Centreville Road - Closed


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This was the space that was Ben's Whole Hog Barbecue, then an excellent Michoacan place, then a short-lived Korean place (I may have those last two backwards), and has been empty for at least two years.

The pits are built into the building, and they're the real deal. Ben's was often highly regarded in its day.

That said, most folks who live in the area know this road as the one they sit on forever at the start of their commute.

These guys are likely going to need a healthy catering business to make it.

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We went to Absolute Barbecue in Manassas for dinner tonight. This is the real deal. The whole hog pulled pork is cooked for 24 hours, the brisket for 17. There's not a lot of smoke flavor, but the pork is perfectly cooked, very moist and tender. There's a pit for the ribs, and they are exactly right. They're not the fall-off-bone tender that indicates being boiled first. Instead these ribs still have substance and texture, but the meat comes easily from the bone. I also tried some brisket, which is less smokey than Black's in Lockhart, and the rub is a little more salty, but the meat is very juicy and full of flavor.

This place has the right decor for a barbecue place. Plain tables, metal chairs and live music sometimes. They make the sides in the kitchen, and the fried okra is as good as grandma's. the beer selection is small but well chosen.

This is real barbecue. The place is a little hard to find, but trust your GPS.

I'll be back for another visit very soon. Yum.

Wayne Rash

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This was the space that was Ben's Whole Hog Barbecue, then an excellent Michoacan place, then a short-lived Korean place (I may have those last two backwards), and has been empty for at least two years.

The pits are built into the building, and they're the real deal. Ben's was often highly regarded in its day.

That said, most folks who live in the area know this road as the one they sit on forever at the start of their commute.

These guys are likely going to need a healthy catering business to make it.

Jake, you'll be pleased to know that they're at the Bristow Farmers' Market (the one by the elementary school; not the one by Walgreen's) Sundays from 10:30-2:30. They brought two racks of ribs today and sold both of them quickly.

The restaurant is now open Thursday for dinner, as well as Friday and Saturday, lunch and dinner (I didn't have a pencil, so don't remember the exact hours). I had a long conversation with the owner, and they're trying to figure out how to be open longer (she asked me to stay tuned in for potential changes, so I advise everyone to call before going).

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Just to comment on this as I was a HUGE fan of Ben's. I have mixed feelings about this place. It was over a year and a half ago and I was in South Carolina on Business. On our last day there our customer drove us 30 minutes out of town to a BBQ place. It was awesome. As I sat there eating I thought to myself, "damn, I miss Ben's." I fly back (after being diverted through O'Hare) and get an e-mail from my Dad. It said - Ben's is coming back. Needless to say I eagerly anticipated the opening of this place. I've been for dinner a few times and found it ok but not like Ben's. I think I need to try them for lunch when the BBQ may be just out of the smoker.

While I have had mixed experiences with the BBQ, the sides have been pretty good. The last Saturday I went the place was absolutely mobbed which bodes well for their long term survival.

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In an effort to take advantage of perfect weather on Saturday we put our unruly, large Pitador in the back of the convertible and headed out 66 with the vague plan to go berry picking and for a hike. It is amazing what you can find with a GPS and an ipad with a data plan. Ninety minutes later we were at Hollin Farms in Delaplane, Virginia. First we picked strawberries and then ended up also picking cherries and lettuce (yes, they have u-pick lettuce). We never got to the hike becuase this took much longer than expected. The farm was large and you basically have to be over six feet to pick cherries with any sort of efficiency. They were super nice about letting the dog hang out with us. By the time we filled the five pound bag of cherries it was getting close to two and we were hungry. So we hop back onto 66 and search DCDining.com to find somewhere with a possibility of being dog friendly- Absolute Barbecue seemed like a good bet. We arrived around 2:30 and it was pretty much empty. On weekends they have a $9.95 all you can eat BBQ buffet. We opted instead for one pulled pork sandwich, one brisket sandwich, black bean salad, potato salad, and fried okra. That and a Coke was $26 with tip. I'd agree with others above that the meat lacks any real smoke but is tender. The pork had a spicey, vinegery sauce on it. Buns were the basic sawdust commercial variety. I'd skip them and just get a meat and two platter. Sauces were ok, not great. The sides are the standouts. Cole slaw, potato salad, and black bean salad were all made in house and very tastey. The fried okra came out of a box. Overall, the food is good but not great. Honestly, we've made better brisket and pulled pork ourselves in our smoker. But for what we wanted and needed that day it hit the spot.

Note: This is a dog friendly restaurant. They were super nice and let us bring the dog onto the fenced in patio. They also sent him out a little bowl of barbecue. He ate it right up.

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