Inspire BBQ: A Nice Neighborhood Carryout

28 Jul

Inspire BBQ from Across H Street

You can easily drive H Street everyday and not notice Inspire BBQ.  Its small store front with only two tables outside and a tarp currently serving as its sign do not stand out.  However, this relatively new BBQ joint located at 650 H Street is a nice place to grab a cheap and tasty dinner on the way home or for lunch on Saturday (closed Sunday).  Recently, they announced that they would be open until 11pm.  Whenever you go, plan on taking it with you because there is literally no where to sit inside and only two tables outside that are practically on the curb.  Because there are not many other places around it, parking is usually pretty easy in the evening.

We are always skeptical that BBQ places with too many meat choices and without a clear regional preference (i.e. Carolina, Texas, Memphis, Savannah, or Kansas City) will lack focus.  We prefer that BBQ restaurants have a clear style and focus rather than trying to be everything at once.  Places with too many varieties of meat risk not doing any of them well.  While Inspire BBQ did not have a clear region and did have several meat options (beef ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, chicken quarters, and brisket), we left satisfied. (Note: beware of the menu online, it claims that certain dishes are served ways they are not.  For example, the ribs did not include bread or onions).

Inspire BBQ sometimes does not have all of their options on their menu because their place is fairly small.  This particular night the brisket was not ready, but the server immediately said that the beef ribs were the best option.  We chose the macaroni and cheese to accompany the ribs (other options included string beans, barbecue beans, and collard greens).  The entire meal cost around $11.  The friendly server rang a bell and then handed the order through a tiny window into the kitchen.  The inside literally consists of a counter and not much else–on nice days the servers encourage takeout dinners to sit outside, and they will bring your food to you.

The wonderful smell of the ribs on the short ride home was enough to make one want to pull over and eat right there in the

The Ribs at Inspire BBQ Require Extra Napkins

car.  The meal included two large ribs (these are not baby back) that had a flavorful smokey taste with a very slight sweet taste (they smoke their meats with a variety of fruits and vegetables to complement the wood and charcoal).  Despite the drive and the carryout aspect the ribs had not dried out and were juicy enough to require a little stack of napkins.  Inspire offered several BBQ sauces; we tried the hot one and the sweet one.  For the ribs, skip the sweet one because they already have a slight hint of sweetness and need no more.  If you feel like fire, give the hot one a try–it’s not the spiciest sauce you will ever try, but it provides a little kick.  The macaroni and cheese did not disappoint either, although perhaps the grease could be cut a little bit.

Despite the relative closeness to BBQ country, D.C. has lacked quality BBQ in the past.  While recently Hill Country has received all of the press for D.C. BBQ (we look forward to reviewing it soon), Inspire BBQ is a good option if you are in the neighborhood and want to take home a nice BBQ meal.  Don’t forget extra napkins and remember that your car and house will have a nice BBQ aroma until at least the morning.


One Response to “Inspire BBQ: A Nice Neighborhood Carryout”


  1. What H Street Needs: BBQ | District Cuisine - February 17, 2016

    […] a little while we had a barbecue carry out spot in Inspire BBQ, but it was carryout only and wasn’t that great of an option.  TD Burger just up the street […]

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