Judging Restaurants – Rocklands


Rocklands is located at 2418 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. I know we have lots of bbq fans so I’m curious if there are any fans of Rocklands? Walking by the spot smelled delicious. Many folks mentioned Rocklands when we discussed best bbq in the city. So I thought it deserved its own post. For the fans, what do you like best? Any must order items?

33 Comment

  • Rocklands has really good BBQ. I work relatively close, and would pick up take out, but finding parking around there is too difficult

  • From 1990-1996, I lived on Wisconsin Ave, and frequented Rocklands which was 1/4 away. to date, it is the best bbq I’ve had in the metro DC area. in 1996, I moved to Greenbelt, MD where I stayed for a few years before moving to Ward 4, where I’ve been for for 10 years. I’m not loyal to most restaurants, but this one was the exception. The location has not deterred me from making the ocassional drive to Rocklands. They also have a store at Rockville’s Wintergreen Plaza, located at 891 Rockville Pike.

    The only other q-joint I’ve enjoyed is Capital Q on H St, but the parking is ridiculous!

  • I love this place. My band used to play at the Grog (RIP) and we’d always start the evening with a meal at Rocklands. It kept us going and was always delicious. I’ve also used Rocklands for parties + receptions at my house and it works really well. I’ve never heard a complaint, even from vegetarians since there are decent non-meat options.

  • I used to have Softball league games across the street at Guy Mason Field. The field has a parking lot with probably over 100 spots that’s has signage stating it’s use is only for park patrons. However I imagine if you’re only getting takeout at Rocklands your car would be fine there for 20 minutes.

  • ‘Chopped pork’ is good, as are the sides and sauce. Brisket okay, everything else (ribs, etc)–I can make better.

  • Yeah, it’s the best.

    Parking in the rec center lot is OK, too, despite the signs saying you’ll be towed. I’ve even left my car there overnight for a couple of nights with no problem.

  • Stick to the ribs– theyre incredible but the chicken leaves something to be desired. The sides are the best part and I love how the bbq sauce has more of spicey bite to it rather than being sweet. We used to order it for every special event in college, ranging from the superbowl to the oscars!

  • Rocklands is excellent but you have to know what you’re doing. Many people head right for the ribs, thinking (correctly) that a good bbq place should have good ribs. Rocklands does not, but don’t let that deter you from the many things it does well. The pulled chicken is delicious, and somewhat unusual. The chopped pork is very good. The fish is good, the sides are tasty. The atmosphere is excellent (if limited in size).

    If you do get the ribs, be advised that unlike other places here the baby backs are distinctly inferior to the regular pork ribs. Do not make this mistake. Get the pork ribs. I’m not sure about the beef ribs.

    If you really want good ribs you have to go to Dixie Bones.

  • Rocklands is alright, but it’s far from the best in DC. That title would probably go to Mr. P’s Fish and Ribs, but he might not be in business for much longer.

  • I wish they would open one on mtp street.

  • You can also park without much fear of towing in the bank parking lot behind Rocklands, especially after the bank closes.

  • rocklands? really? this thread is going to make me cry

  • I’ve tried the one in Rockville and the brisket was terrible—and I mean thrown away after a few bites terrible. Soggy brisket was thrown on a flat top griddle (I guess to heat it up??) and served with chewy, wilted green onions. As a native Texan, it was like some sick practical joke. Making decent brisket isn’t hard, but it takes special effort to screw it up that badly.

  • love this place. used to live behind the russian embassy, maybe 3ish blocks away. every time i’d walk outside in the summer i could smell the woodsmoke from Rockland’s and it’d get me thinking about ribs.

  • I am a VEGETARIAN and I love Rocklands! Yes, they grill vegetables, very nicely thank you, and those rolls are the best. Highly recommended.

  • I love BBQ, but I’m not crazy about Rocklands. The only saving grace was the sauce. It was pretty tasty!

    The ribs, however, were no good at all. I’ve also had the pulled pork sandwich. It wasn’t horrible, but certainly not the best in the area.

  • I think they have the best baby back ribs I’ve tasted, and I always by their sauce at Harris Teeter or Whole Paycheck for grilling chicken. You have to ask for the grilled scallions when you buy a rack. Don’t forget.

  • Rocklands is definitely the best BBQ in the city. The brisket is phenomenal. I do notice a difference between the Arlington Rocklands and the Wisconsin Ave location, so maybe the Rockville one isn’t as good as the Wisconsin Ave spot either. Wisconsin ave is consistent, low-key, and you can call ahead and pick it up–perfect for parking illegally in the Pearson’s lot before they notice!

  • I’m a big fan of Rocklands, they’re extremely tasty. If you do go, try the mac and cheese–they really know how to do that well.

  • I really like their grilled lamb, and their brisket’s OK, but in my experience — borne out by these comments, I think — the ribs are really inconsistent: sometimes good and sometimes really poorly done. Also their side orders menu could stand some updating. Also, in the past they’ve had a really maddening tendency to lock their doors 15 minutes or more early, which I find nearly unforgiveable in a carryout place.

    Bottom line is that it’s OK to have in your neighborhood but not worth a trip from somewhere else. I feel sure that there’s better BBQ east of the park.

  • Awful, go to Red Hot and Blue and thank me later. The one in Laurel is much better than the one in Rosslyn. I’ve gotten Rocklands once and threw half of it away. Who wants a pile of dry pulled pork with a tablespoon of runny BBQ sauce on top?

  • Let’s not forget that when you finish your bbq – Rocklands is one of the few places that sells Baltimore based Berger’s cookies (basically chocolate fudge globbed on vanilla cake cookie) OH SO GOOD!

  • My husband is a psycho about Rocklands chicken wings. P S Y C H O. He wants to order a hundred wings (with extra blue cheese) for any sort of occasion. Game night, wings. Bris, wings. Wake, wings. Baby shower, wings. He needs some sort of rehab, really…

  • I miss the Grog and Tankard.

  • Never been, but if red hot and blue and capitol Q compare favorably to it then I’m not interested.

  • It saddens me, but DC just has weak BBQ. Rocklands, Red, Hot & Blue, Rib Pit, et al – average. Bubba’s Bar-BQ in Falls Church isn’t bad (and the owner is a trip) but I wouldn’t make a pilgrimage for it.

  • I have to agree with the general consensus on the ribs. I’ve only had them once, and they were dry and tough. The chicken and the sides, on the other hand, are delicious.

  • Unfortunately, never found decent BBQ in DC or surrounds. I’d kill for some decent Eastern NC pork bbq.

  • As a native texan, I’ve never had worse brisket than at Rocklands. It was inedible. I threw it away. If Rockland’s wants to pass what they serve off as smoked brisket, then I don’t trust them enough to taste anything else they claim is bbq. I’ve been on a search for decent bbq in the dc area and haven’t found any so my husband bought me a smoker. I wouldn’t waste money at Rocklands.

  • Next time you’re driving down Indian Head Highway (say, on your way to Ft. Washington, Waldorf, La Plata or taking the scenic route to the 301 south bridge) try Dale’s Smokehouse. Great meats, big portions.

  • chopped pork sandwich. side of mac and cheese. get extra sauce. amazing.

  • Rocklands is inconsistent. It’s upsetting too, because as a Glover Park resident, I smell the place all the time. I just wish it always tasted as good as it smells when we walk by.

    I’m with fellow Texan, Anon 9:48. If you want good bbq in DC, order from home or buy a smoker.

  • Don’t dig the Glover Park BBQ myself. Try sliding over to Bladensburg and South Dakota Ave NE on the weekend and have some real bbq from the ladies smokin next to the liquor store. $10 for a half slab of ribs and 2 sides. INCREDIBLE.

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