Where’s the smoke?

To me, smoke = barbecue.

In search of DC’s best BBQ joints, I found that too many meats had only the faintest whiff, detectable perhaps to a hound, but not detectable with the sad olfactory skills that come standard with the human species. If you ask 100 adults how to define barbecue, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. But to me, the cuisine’s defining characteristic is the complex aromatic byproduct of burning hardwoods.

With that in mind, here is what we believe to be;

The 10 best barbecue joints

10DCity Smokehouse

Once the preeminent barbecue spot in Washington, DCity slid into mediocrity when pitmaster Sonderman left and the remaining crew had to work from an off-site production kitchen while waiting for a new space. The rejuvenated DCity emerged in January in a handsome, if somewhat uncomfortable, space on Florida Avenue NW. Even better, pitmaster Shawn McWhirter has DCity back on the right track. His spare ribs — oddly cut, so that some flaps of meat are basically smoked into jerky — are a special treat, an un­or­tho­dox rack that nonetheless has become a signature item. 203 Florida Ave. NW. 202-733-1919.dcitysmokehouse.com.