went to the newly opened Pork Barrel Barbecue in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood to get a taste of this savory mid-western Missouri delight.

Brett Thompson & Heath Hall - Founders of Pork Barrel BBQ

Brett Thompson & Heath Hall - Founders of Pork Barrel BBQ

Originally hashed out during a late night budget battle by former Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) staffers Heath Hall and Brett Thompson, Pork Barrel, we’re told, was created to fill a niche in the D.C. barbecue scene brought on by way too much late night fast food from Senate side staples.

And so it began — delicious rubs and succulent sauces sold at Harris Teeter, and all the way back home in Missouri at the grocery with the funny name “Schnucks.” (The author shopped there in college and bought his favorite cooking pan there during a labor union strike just to anger union workers in the picket line.)

After a few years of sauces, Brett and Heath partnered with veteran restaurateurs “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn to set up a place in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. (If you’ve never been to Mango Mike’s on Duke street, definitely check it out.) According to the official Pork Barrel story, this took place in 2009 — but the restaurant didn’t open until December 2011. We’re told that regulations and red tape caused some headaches because the barbecue is cooked right on premises.

The place was packed — patrons lining up in order along a row of coolers with everything from Cheerwine to Ale 8 waiting to place their order. Pork Barrel Barbecue - BrisketThe person in front of me had the good sense to order the ribs, and unfortunately for me and my crew, they were the last. No worries, other delicious things were in store so we ordered the barbecue chicken and pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. All were amazing. Interestingly enough, the menu board has its own CNN ticker.

The monster mac and cheese and sweet BBQ baked beans was a crowd favorite.

It was so good, we had to go back and try those ribs. They were worth the wait, having been rubbed down in excellent fashion and cooked to perfection. We also tried out the bar, which has a very respectable beer selection and the televisions, which showed sports just fine.

If you’re missing mid-western BBQ, we highly recommend you check out Pork Barrel BBQ. Tell them sent you.

Barbara Corcoran invested in a barbecue sauce company run by two politicians — after urging one of them to dress up in a pig suit to advertise the company, which features a pig on its sign. Corcoran chose not to invest in an energy bar company, an entrepreneur with an innovative way to make root beer floats and a start-up that makes sports bras.

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