A recent dining experience at Liberty BBQ in Falls Church, Virginia had me wondering: What is this? I placed my order by telephone, for pick-up. My orded was standard BBQ fare: two pulled pork sandwiches, two sides of cole slaw and BBQ beans. Since this is Falls Church, Virginia and not Woodstock, Georgia (or anywhere else really) I paid $30 for this take-out meal for two, no drinks, no table service, and no tip.
We unpacked the food at home to discover the pork sandwiches were buried under a mound of cole slaw and pickles and the BBQ beans were Navy beans? These are egregious violations of the Excellence in BBQ Act of 1964. BBQ is about the meat and when you start off by burying it under culinary adjuncts you have no business calling it BBQ. Whether this was done out of ignorance or ego it doesn’t matter. The question remains: What is this?
Liberty BBQ diners might think they are eating BBQ, and they are certainly paying a premium for the illusion, but this is not BBQ. When Liberty BBQ opened about a year and a half ago I had high hopes but Liberty is trying to be too fancy, trying to make BBQ into something it’s not. If they are serious about BBQ - and Virginia could certainly use one decent BBQ joint - they should fire their chef and hire a pit-master. On the other hand, if they insist on pursuing this haute cuisine they should drop the BBQ from their name so they can be at Liberty to pursue whatever this is they are selling.