Last weekend I ventured down to La Plata to eat at the storied Johny Boy's, which the Post called "the ultimate rib shack". The Post was correct about it being a shack, and ribs being served, but not much beyond that.
My order of baby-back ribs was disappointing, due mainly to the fact that the ribs were very undercooked. With ribs, the meat should come right off the bones and melt in your mouth with a nice flavor infused within the meat. They shoundn't require that the meat be gnawed and cut away (if it isn't too tough for that even). I'm imagining that the ribs being very undercooked accounted for the unmemorable flavor and overly chewy fat. When sharing with a friend, he took a bite, then asked, "what's the name of that parasite you get from undercooked pork?" This is not what one should have to think about at a rib shack.
His pulled pork sandwich was bland and unmemorable. His quote was: "There no such thing as bad BBQ, just BBQ that isn't great. My BBQ sandwich isn't something I regret ordering, but it isn't great. I've had pulled pork sandwiches that were as good as this at Safeway." He did think the side dishes were good and liked the large chucks of pork in the greens.
Another friend liked the sides, but when trying the two different BBQ sauce options, she said, "if this isn't KC Masters BBQ sauce, it's a pretty good copy of it. We drove an hour for BBQ made with a sauce I have in my fridge?"
Considering other recommended places around Waldorf and La Plata (such as Lefties), I would recommend against Johny Boy's, unless you like apologizing to friends for taking them there. Simply put, on the night of September 11th, Johny Boy's was not up to the standards of a BBQ joint in the District, let alone one in Southern Maryland. There was some talk on the eGullet boards that the orginal owner of Johny Boy's retired and died, and that several Gulleteers had noticed a decline in quality after this point.
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