Two Palate Dining: Willard’s Real Pit BBQ

Doesn't this look tasty?

Doesn’t this look tasty?

She Said:

We’ve been meaning to try Willard’s Real Pit BBQ in Chantilly, Virginia for so long! I’m so happy that we finally got a chance to sample their delicious BBQ. I’m always happy to find a place with delicious food and a nice atmosphere and Willard’s fits that bill!

Allow me to prepare you for the feast that awaits you:

As soon as you enter the restaurant the air greets with you with the smoky and roasted smell of meat. Be forewarned, it will make your mouth water. You’ll see a slightly staggering amount of choices to select from- meats, sides and combos/platters. Just order something- it will be tasty. Not only will the food be delicious, but also you’ll be surprised at how reasonable the prices are and pleased with the quantity of the food. All of the staff are super-nice and you’ll be amazed with their speed, accuracy and patience. The restaurant is very clean and you’ll be lucky to get a booth and feast your eyes on their eclectic Americana décor, although the stools will do if they are the only open seating. Sit back and enjoy the wonderful BBQ and don’t forget to try the sauces!  Get extra napkins, too!

How cool is the decor? I love the big Jasper Johns like flag!

How cool is the decor? I love the big Jasper Johns like flag!

Now, that you are ready and prepped for your experience let me tell you about the food.

The meats are all delicious. The Texas Sliced Beef Brisket is tender, rich and has the perfect unctuous ratio of fat. It’s perfect all by itself, but it pairs well with the sweet sauce. It’s my favorite, because it makes me feel like a little girl eating my Mammaw’s roast beef. I’ve had the brisket both by itself and as a sandwich and I have to say that my favorite current way to eat it is on their fluffy sandwich rolls. The North Carolina Pulled Pork is also wonderful. From the first bite, your mouth is full of smoky meat juices and the shred size is perfect, too. The BBQ chicken is sweet and melts in your mouth tender. The St Louis Cut Ribs are good, not too dry at all. I’m just not a big rib fan, but since I enjoy the brisket, pulled pork and chicken so much I don’t mind RJ enjoying the ribs at all!

Kari's favorite- brisket sandwich

Kari’s favorite- brisket sandwich

Willard’s also serves a variety of sides. The pickles are amazing because they taste so perfectly homemade and compliment the meat so nicely. The mashed potatoes are creamy, fluffy and set off by a delightfully spicy pan gravy. I’m pretty picky about coleslaw and I didn’t care much for this slaw, but I’m really picky about it. RJ loved the potato salad and the macaroni salad, so clearly they make great side salads. I’m just not a mayo fan, so side salads with mayo and I don’t get along! The macaroni& cheese is cheesy and comforting. The baked beans are perfectly cooked and spiced to perfection. They are seriously some of the best beans that I’ve ever had.

I’m not always a fan of sweet cornbread, but Willard’s is lovely. It’s not too sweet, has a nice fluffy yet dense texture and is the perfect accompaniment to their meats, especially the chicken.

I love Willard’s and I’m starving just now thinking about the wonderful food. There are so many other items, in particular their pies and burnt ends that I’m anxious to try. I can’t wait for our next visit; I just hope it will be soon!


Kari’s Ratings:

Texas Sliced Beef Brisket-10

North Carolina Pulled Pork- 10

BBQ Chicken- 9

St Louis Cut Ribs- 7

Sandwiches- 10

Sides- 8 (My favorites are the beans, the macaroni & cheese and the mashed potatoes with gravy- and those pickles!)

Fluffy Cornbread

Fluffy Cornbread

He Said:

We’ve all got places that we live near for a long time and never try.  Well, now that we moved, we’ve tried one of those places, and I’m kicking myself for all the lost time.  Willard’s Real Pit BBQ in Chantilly is amazing.

Since we’ve finally tried it, we’ve managed to taste their Texas Sliced Beef Brisket, North Carolina Pulled Pork, Barbequed Chicken, St. Louis Cut Ribs, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Macaroni and Cheese, and Mashed Potatoes with Pan Gravy.

I can’t say enough good things about Willard’s.  The atmosphere is cozy and homey, but also very clean.  They have more seating than I would have expected as well.  The portions are huge.   Our first time there we ordered Duo Barbeque Combos, more than anything else to try different meats.  What we got was a first for me.  For $12.50 each, we got so much that neither of us could finish.  Usually I finish my dish and whatever Kari has left over beside, but not this time.  We didn’t even eat dinner we were so full from lunch there.

So much food!

So much food!

On to the tastes!  There’s so much to describe.  I can’t decide what my favorite meat is at Willard’s.  Everything is so tender and moist.  The seasonings are wonderful and diverse.  The chicken is done to a turn with a great smoky flavor.  The brisket was unbelievable.  I don’t even have words.  The ribs were perfect.  They fell off the bone once you bit into them, but not a moment before.  One bite of the pulled pork and I was ten years old in the Outer Banks eating barbeque sandwiches for lunch.  It was so crazy good.  The pulled pork and the brisket also work incredibly well as sandwiches.

RJ's favorite side- Macaroni Salad

RJ’s favorite side- Macaroni Salad

The sides are all top notch, but I think my favorites are the Macaroni Salad (which was a special for the day, so it might not be there next time) and the mashed potatoes with pan gravy.  The gravy in particular is great in an unexpected way: it’s spicy.  I’ve never had spicy gravy on mashed potatoes.  I’m going to get this every time I go here!  I almost forgot about the cornbread and the pickles, but you shouldn’t!  You have to ask for the pickles, but they don’t cost any extra, and they’re amazing pickles.  The cornbread is a sweet cornbread, but not cloyingly so like most sweet corn breads tend to be.

RJ’s Ratings:

Texas Sliced Beef Brisket- 10

North Carolina Pulled Pork-10

BBQ Chicken-10

St. Louis Cut Ribs-10


Macaroni and Cheese-9

Potato Salad-9

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy-10

Macaroni Salad-10

What do you guys think about Willard’s?  What’s your favorite BBQ joint in the DC area?