Review: Woodrow’s Bar-B-Que

Texas-style barbecue comes to Mt. Washington.

Corey McLaughlin - June 2019

Review: Woodrow’s Bar-B-Que

Texas-style barbecue comes to Mt. Washington.

Corey McLaughlin - June 2019

The barbecued brisket with a side of fries. -Kate Grewal

There’s always a beautiful moment at Woodrow’s Bar-B-Que—maybe as you’re effortlessly peeling a tender piece of char-encrusted meat from a giant rib bone or savoring a slice of moist brisket that melts in your mouth—when you think to yourself: It just can’t get any better than this. In the South and many other parts of the country, the meat would likely come from a pig—“hog heaven,” as it were—but at this small, general-store-looking Mt. Washington establishment, we’re talking about Texas style barbecue, which means predominantly beef, not pork. And not just any beef—gloriously authentic, deliciously dry- rubbed, wood-fired, and smoked-for-more-hours-than-you-sleep beef.

That juicy brisket, those “is this meat even connected to the bone?” ribs, and even the delicious sides of mac-n-cheese, potato salad, French fries, and more come from the imagination of owner Matthew Piron, a 1993 Loyola University graduate who opened the place in 2017, inspired by his wife’s San Antonio roots and his own disillusionment with corporate life after he was laid off from his sales job of 15 years. Is it wrong to say we’re thankful for whomever made that staffing decision? Unemployment lit a classic American entrepreneurial spark in Piron that ultimately ignited the red smoker in Woodrow’s tiny commercial kitchen, which cooks 75 pounds of savory hormone-and antibiotic-free prime black angus brisket and ribs, not to mention pork butts, sausage, and turkey, too.

If you’re a fan of barbecue, and perhaps even if you’re not, you will not leave Woodrow’s disappointed—or hungry. The protein is prepared with a Kosher salt-and-peppered rub, no sauce, and cooked over a white oak fire, making this the only restaurant in the city to follow the mid-Texas tradition. Indeed, while enjoying dinner, my wife and I overheard a couple tell the cashier that they recently moved from McKinney, Texas (which is just north of Dallas) and on this night felt they finally found real barbecue. After their meal, they paid for a pound-and-a-half of beef ribs to go.

Be warned, the physical space of this gem is relatively small; there’s the front door, the counter, the menu on a chalkboard wall, plus 14 seats inside and few out front, but finding an open table on our recent visits was no problem. The atmosphere is comfortable and laid-back, and the service is fast and friendly. Until March, the drinks policy was BYOB, but that’s recently changed with a liquor license in hand. And we’re guessing the food is just as good at home, as most of Woodrow’s business is carry-out.

Interestingly, the man behind the meat candy—a term that can be applied literally and figuratively (it’s pitmaster slang for the crispy, fatty bits from a brisket’s flavorful outer bark)—is from New Jersey. He taught himself the barbecue craft, with a lot of trial and error, plus a little R&D from BBQ hotbeds across the country. “It’s got to be perfect,” Piron says, “or I won’t do it.” After one bite of his goods, there’s no denying the results.

›› Woodrow’s Bar-B-Que
1607 Sulgrave Ave., 667-212-4436. Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.: Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

You May Also Like

Food & Drink

Review: The Tilted Row

For a great gathering spot in Bolton Hill, head to The Tilted Row.

In Good Taste

Local Bread Subscriptions Are Making Fresh Loaves More Accessible Than Ever

These pre-paid methods are the best thing on the market since, well, sliced bread.

In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Limoncello; The Rathskeller; Raw & Refined

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.

On The Town

Charm City Night Market Plots Bigger and Brighter Return in Second Year

The event highlighting Asian American culture is expanding its reach and ambition.

In Good Taste

Treehouse Cafe and Juice Bar Replaces Prime Corner in Hampden

Local fitness instructors offer gluten-free menu featuring pizzas, salads, and wraps.

In Good Taste

First Taste of True Chesapeake Oyster Co. at Whitehall Mill

Locally farmed oysters inspire every aspect of the Hampden seafood spot.

The barbecued brisket with a side of fries. -Kate Grewal

Connect With Us

Most Read

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management: Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.

The Mare Projects Connects Communities in the African Diaspora: Works from their first-ever residency program will be on display at Gallery CA.

The Orioles Aren’t Moving Out of Town, But They Have a Long Way To Go: Putting a wrap on relocation rumors and the O’s predictable 2019 season.

Cardinal Art Walks Explore Works Outside of the Gallery's Bolton Hill Walls: The ongoing fall exhibition is meant to make participants see the city in a new way.

A New Production of 'The Phantom of the Opera' Is Headed to the Hippodrome: Go behind the mask with the tour's Phantom, Derrick Davis.