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Johnny Boy's Ribs, LaPlata - Sold to New Owners, and Closed


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Joe H said:
I haven't been in two years but then and for years before this, Johnny Boy's in LaPlata. In Fredericksburg it is the original Allman's on route 1 which I was at several months ago. For me nothing in the D. C. area approaches either of these.

I always thought Johnny Boys was good but not great, benefitting as much from its location as from the quality of its meat. I eat it gladly, but have gotten better 'cue from other places along the 301 corridor.

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I always thought Johnny Boys was good but not great, benefitting as much from its location as from the quality of its meat. I eat it gladly, but have gotten better 'cue from other places along the 301 corridor.

I hadn't been to Johnny Boy's in almost two years (click). The problem with going to exurb (does LaPlata count as an exurb?) rib joints sporadically, is that you can't really get a good grasp on what to expect. I'm no expert, but it seems like most places have dramatic swings in quality from day-to-day, and to really "judge" a rib shack, you pretty much need to specialize in road food, driving around and trying these places often.

That said, I didn't love my ribs two years ago, and I barely even liked my ribs last night. A full slab was well-smoked, but the question is: when? These ribs were extremely "done," and were so dried out that some of the end-parts had the consistency and toughness of beef jerky, and the dryness of a cotton ball. There's no question that Johnny Boy's is smoking good ribs, but now that I've had two disappointing visits in a row, the question is: When do you get them?

Granted, it was late on Memorial Day, after a long weekend. That alone can account for a lot: The french fries were simply awful, having been fried in oil that was too old and not hot enough (they're not going to change their oil two hours before they close), managing to be a dark, golden brown, but oily and mushy at the same time. The "home made" beans weren't as good as versions I've had from a can, and the "home made" collard greens were wilted and soggy - no real surprise there, because you just don't count on barbecue shacks to have good side orders.

My takeaway here is not so much contra-Johnny Boy's as it is pro-Pit Stop, which I just had two days before. Johnny Boy's has been (and still may be) a wonderful institution, fully deserving of all the press it has gotten over the past ten years or so. But I hope that from this point forward, the press, particularly the national press, realizes that there are other, equally deserving hour-long jaunts for barbecue. KBQ, Chubby's, and The Pit Stop have all produced better ribs than I've had at my last two visits to Johnny Boy's.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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I drove by the sad remnant of Johnny Boy's on Monday, and the main building was barren and closed; the original trailer was also closed, but "looked" like it might still be in business.

However, while the original "Johnny Boys" sign is still up on the front of the trailer, there's also a vinyl sign on the back that says Smokin' Joe's Open Pit BBQ (here's their Facebook page - it's definitely the same logo). I'm not sure if it's usually open, or will open in the near future, or ... ? 

Here are four pictures I took, including one with the new sign:

JBs1.jpgJBs2.jpgJBs3.jpgJBs4.jpg

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