It’s finally Spring – don’t ask when the weather will start acting like that’s true – which means BBQ season is right around the corner – and Sloppy Mama’s slings BBQ all over DC!
But if you’re no good around a grill, don’t fret. DC’s BBQ scene continues to add pop-ups, trucks, and brick-and-mortar spots to get you your fix without investing hours of your own time smoking and grilling nice cuts of meat that you end up drying out. Please, leave the BBQ to the professionals.
Like Joe Neuman.
Neuman grew up an army brat before he played college football in southern Virginia, introducing him at an early age to all mess of regional, southern cooking. He was never more than a hobbyist when he took a big swing, on his wedding day, no less: he and his wife decided they would cook a whole hog to feed their guests.
It went well. Friends and family had nothing but good things to say, and some even requested whole hogs for their own nuptials. Even more hogs followed, to the point that, four years ago, Neuman launched Sloppy Mama’s BBQ.
Today, you can find Sloppy Mama’s Carolina-style pulled pork Texas-style brisket, chicken, and other options dished from its food truck, more goodies like wings and Memphis-style ribs on its catering menu, and an even deeper menu at Solly’s Pub on U & 11th and its stall at Union Market.
Neuman wood-smokes his meats at food incubator Mess Hall and distributes them across this network, which is what he’ll do when the Sloppy Mama’s BBQ counter opens inside Ballston’s Quarter Market Food Hall in September. This model works, he says, because barbeque is uniquely suited to short-distance travel: meat needs time to rest, and the flavors only intensify.
And speaking of flavors: his food is delicious. In a trip to Mess Hall to see the smoker in action, I got to sample most everything on the menu. Everything (save the sandwich bread) is made in-house, and the meats are rubbed with Neuman’s own (sorry I had to) “Happy Sprinkles” seasoning – a shaker of which now sits in my pantry.
So if you find yourself looking for some good BBQ, don’t fret: Sloppy Mama’s is easy to find.