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Federalist Pig - Pitmaster Rob Sonderman Comes from DCity Smokehouse - Now in Adams Morgan

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This took me by surprise as this news was highly anticipated for anybody who had grown to love his work at DCity Smokehouse, but it hadn't received much press.  Rob Sonderman's new barbecue joint opens this Friday on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan.  The article discusses some limitations he had to accept with the equipment allowed in the new space, as well as some recipes he had to leave behind in his split with DCity.

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DCity was never the same after he left.  They are now a Kirk Cousins long bomb away from my new house and I can't get excited for it opening anymore after my last couple visits before it closed, unfortunately.  Hopefully the Federalist Pig scratches the itch, DCity was really good when Rob was there.

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unfortunately, it looks like they will only be open for lunch on weekends. DCity was so good I trekked across town a few times for lunch. Now they are closer to me and not open - shame. Still looking forward to trying this new place.

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I have visited Federalist Pig three times now. The beef short rib when available was the best item.  The brisket needs work.  I know that the pit master is experimenting with different types of woods.  I would like to see more of a smoke ring on the brisket.

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7 hours ago, TheGut said:

I have visited Federalist Pig three times now. The beef short rib when available was the best item.  The brisket needs work.  I know that the pit master is experimenting with different types of woods.  I would like to see more of a smoke ring on the brisket.

The "smoke ring" is really more of an aesthetic thing, and not at all an indication of the quality of the barbecue.

"The Science of the Smoke Ring" by Daniel Vaughn on tmbbq.com

4 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Them ribs look awfully dry.

Agreed.

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1 hour ago, DanielK said:

Tim Carman also commented on the lighter smoke profile and lack of smoke ring in his review.

I have a ton of respect for Tim's palate, especially with barbecue.  Worth noting re: smoke ring that he also included a link to the (awesome) amazingribs.com that agreed that the presence/absence/prominence of the smoke ring doesn't correlate with quailty.

4 minutes ago, TheGut said:

the ribs were perfect. better than the brisket.

Good to know. Looks can be deceiving...it all comes down to the taste.

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For what it is worth, at Kansas City Barbeque Society , judging specifically does not consider presence or absence of smoke ring.

their reasoning is that smoke ring can be artificially produced.

In any event it is not considered in competition judging

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some more Fed Pig food porn for everyone.  Was there this past weekend and the brisket was singing to me.  Also do not sleep on the music city chicken sandwich.

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That chicken sandwich looks the best-(of course, as a home smoker, I feel free to say that brisket does not look appetizing at all). What's the stuff in the lower left corner of the photo?

 

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1 hour ago, TheGut said:

some more Fed Pig food porn for everyone.  Was there this past weekend and the brisket was singing to me.  Also do not sleep on the music city chicken sandwich.

Just a note to say I love your food photos. They're fantastic.

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14 hours ago, thistle said:

That chicken sandwich looks the best-(of course, as a home smoker, I feel free to say that brisket does not look appetizing at all). What's the stuff in the lower left corner of the photo?

 

that is the green chili hominy.

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We went to Federalist Pig this past Saturday. We got there just after they opened and they were already packed. Tons of take out orders as there weren't nearly enough seats for the business they were doing. We managed to squeeze in a couple seats at a shared table and chowed down on their pork ribs, pork shoulder, and brisket. The ribs and shoulder were incredible. The brisket was very good but perhaps just a touch too dry - didn't stop me from finishing our portion with some of their sauces though. Crispy Brussel sprouts and potato salad were great as well.

It's small, but has a great feel. Very friendly staff and you could tell everyone working there was having a great time. That attitude definitely showed through in the food. Can't wait to go back.

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Went to Federalist Pig for the first time over the weekend.  Overall a solid experience.  We got there around 12:30pm and they were decently busy, by 1pm there was a line out the door. 

One piece of advice, try to avoid sitting at the back of the restaurant when it's busy.  People kinda mill around waiting for their orders and then as things get louder and louder the counterman starts yelling out pick ups (Order Up for John) and after-a-while you just feel like you're being yelled at.       

I went with the Carolina On My Mind, their ode to Carolina-style pork bbq.  Chopped pork shoulder, crispy skin, spicy vinegar sauce, cole slaw, sesame bun ($9.50).  This is a good pork sandwich, which I would be happy to eat again.  But I had the unique opportunity to try it the same day I also received a shipment of Wilber's BBQ for Goldsboro, NC (relatives brought some up), and you can really tell the difference.  Of course Wilber's is whole hog, vs. shoulder, and Wilber's is minced vs. a shredded pork at Federalist...but Wilber's is just down right addictive, like every time you walk past the fridge the pork calls out your name...eat me...eat me. 

The crispy brussels were as good as advertised.  The smoked mac and cheese was disappointing, a little on the runny/soupy side and weirdly mustardy. The slaw was also weirdly mustardy and pretty much inedible.  The charred carrots were almost good, they just needed a little more finesse (a quick chop of the parsley would help, maybe a hit of lemon juice).  The thinly sliced pickles were also tasty.         

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On 5/1/2017 at 11:17 AM, Tweaked said:

One piece of advice, try to avoid sitting at the back of the restaurant when it's busy.  People kinda mill around waiting for their orders and then as things get louder and louder the counterman starts yelling out pick ups (Order Up for John) and after-a-while you just feel like you're being yelled at.              

Tweaked, your entire post was wonderful, but this one paragraph is particularly important, so I want to again bring it to peoples' attention.

Thank you for writing it,
Rocks

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I wandered in today for the first time, debating with myself whether to eat some animal, and found a vegetarian sandwich on the specials menu: smoked spaghetti squash, vinegar sauce, cole slaw, and avocado on a potato roll.  Wow was it a good sandwich - good in concept and good in execution.  Here is an imperfect picture from their instagram.

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Two meats & two sides for $15 - seems like a bargain to me.  I tried their wings and pork ribs because that dude from Texas Monthly raved about them.  I thought they were both good (maybe even great) but I think I've had better ribs at DCity Smokehouse when Rob was still working there.  I like the ribs with a bit of chew and the ones today were quite soft.  I really liked the chipotle green beans which came soft and had a hint of spiciness.  The coleslaw was bleh.

Rob was working the till, Man U was on TV and losing to Brighton Hove Albion - it all should add up to a great experience but the small space and knuckleheads feeling the need to package lots of sauces (in little plastic cups) irritated the hell out of me.  One guy who sat at my table had 2 cups of each sauce (I think there are 5 sauces so he has 10 plastic cups), when there are bottles of sauces on the table. 

I'm not a fanboy of Texas Jack but I like a nicely air conditioned dining room and table service.

Even better than the BBQ is the falafel sandwich I had afterwards at Amsterdam.

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I was the first person to order today but I got disappointing brisket and ribs.  Both were overcooked and underseasoned.  The staff was solicitous - asking how things were.  I said very good even though things weren't good at all.  Is there anything I could have accomplished by telling the truth?  Lots of food tossed away.

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