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Posted at 8:00 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Smoke Signals: More (and more) holiday eating

By Jim Shahin
meatweek_hype1_opt.jpg Meat Week: The carnivores run wild. (Photo illustration by Brooke Hatfield)

Tell the boss you need some days off because it’s . . . Washington's annual Meat Week or, as organizers like to call it, The Holiday Time Forgot.

What? You hadn’t heard of this holiday?

Well, if you love barbecue, this, as the song goes, is the most wonderful time of the year. The lowdown: Participants can (but don’t have to) eat at a different designated barbecue restaurant for seven consecutive nights. The, um, holiday runs Sunday through Saturday, Feb. 5. Organizers are giving locals a break on Feb. 6, to watch that little ol' game known as the Super Bowl.

The event is pretty loosely organized. Some restaurants offer specials, some don’t. Think of it as real-life Facebook. Actual friends and total strangers will sit around tables stuffing their faces with smoked meats. It has all the benefits of Facebook without any of the spammy wall posts. The event gives barbecue veterans and rookies alike a chance to chat about favorite joints; trade tips about sauces, rigs and techniques; and argue the distinctions between the “pull” versus the “tug” of rib meat.

“It’s a way to bring lovers of barbecue, or people who are just interested in barbecue, together,” says Jenelle Dennis, 32, organizer (or, in the parlance, “captain”) of the event in Washington. Founded in 2005 in Tallahassee, Fla., Meat Week is now celebrated in 16 cities, including that fabled barbecue capital, London.

Participating restaurants in the D.C. area include the Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co. in Glover Park, the Urban Bar-B-Que Co. in Rockville, Capitol Q and everybody’s favorite converted school bus, Mr. P’s. Also included are three newbies to the local scene: American Ice Co.., the as-yet-to-open Pork Barrel BBQ, and the as-yet-to-arrive PORC truck.

There is no fee beyond what you pay for your meal. Just show up at one of those restaurants at the scheduled time, look for a Meat Week banner or search out Dennis in a “Eat Meat Repeat” T-shirt (not joking) and congregate. That’s it.

Oh, there’s supposed to be some voting for best this and best that. But Dennis isn’t sure that will happen. Voters must have eaten at all seven restaurants during Meat Week.

“If we see enough people at each of the restaurants, then...,” Dennis says, her voice trailing off. “We can play it by ear.”

Did I mention this holiday is pretty loose?

For more information, check out the D.C. section of Meat Week’s Web site and the Newcomer’s Guide.

By Jim Shahin  | January 25, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Holiday, Smoke Signals  | Tags:  Jim Shahin, Smoke Signals  
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