Can you imagine a Super Bowl watch party that doesn’t involve massive quantities of beef, pork or chicken?  Crazy talk, I know.  But if you make it through eight days of Meat Week, you may not just imagine it…you might actively crave it.

For the third year in a row, Washington will be celebrating “the holiday that time forgot” with a tour-de-carnivore that will highlight some of the best barbecue the area has to offer.  Beginning at Urban Bar-B-Que’s newest location on Sunday night and ending at long-time favorite Rocklands the following Sunday, we’re taking it to the next level for this year’s Meat Week.  We’ve got so much new talent on the DC barbecue scene, we just had to add an eighth day (finally bringing us in line with the national organizers’ recommendation).  And with one of those shiny new logos that plays off the DC flag, you know we’re ready.

If you’ve been following along from the beginning, you know that we started DC’s Meat Week chapter after an introduction to the event by the Washington City Paper’s Tim Carman.  I’m pleased to report that our Meat Week team from last year is back together again this year, with Jenelle Dennis (aka Babeque) as our Captain and David Gootzit as First Mate.  Both are KCBS-Certified Barbecue Judges, and they’re quick to extol the virtues of crisp bark and a well-defined smoke ring in quality ‘cue.  I asked each a few key questions about Meat Week and will be posting their answers tomorrow.

As befits a celebration of the best of the area’s barbecue offerings, we’ll be returning to several of our most popular venues from last year.  In addition to the two I mentioned above, we’ll be hitting up the PORC crew for a second response-requested buffet at Wilson’s in Shaw) and Mr. P’s Ribs and Fish for another round of parking lot barbecue.

We’re also proud to finally be able to visit the guys from Pork Barrel BBQ in their own space after two consecutive Meat Weeks featuring “coming soon” sneak peeks.  They’re rolling out the red carpet, with a Meat Week sampler special and the first official taste of their new Carolina Vinegar sauce.  It’s been a long time coming, but good barbecue is all about taking the time to get it right.

The rest of our Meat Week slots this year are given over to ‘cue joints that didn’t exist when Meat Week 2011 rolled around:

Hill Country’s DC outpost has been winning rave reviews since they opened, and their all-you-can-eat Monday night special seemed like the perfect way to welcome them to the lineup.  As it turns out, this Monday Hill Country offers a chance to do some good with your meal: they’re holding a charity concert to benefit the victims of the recent Texas wildfires.  Tickets are $20 and the restaurant is also donating 20% of their food and beverage sales for the night to the relief efforts, as well.  If you’re thinking about coming out Monday night, please consider making a donation.

Smoke & Barrel knows how to draw a crowd with their combination of barbecue and beverages (most notably bourbon).  Due to their limited size – at least until expansion is complete – they’re participating in Meat Week with a reservations-required.  That’s the good news.  The bad news?  Reservations are already completely booked.  If you’re not already on board, you’ll have to check them out another night.

Finally, Memphis Barbeque in Crystal City is doing its namesake city proud, smoking everything from pork to salmon (not to mention a few sides) in a massive sit-down space on 23rd Street.  What better way to celebrate the Friday night of Meat Week?  We had the privilege of taking a First Look when they were ready to open.

The official website features the schedule, addresses and special offers that will be available each night.  While you’re on the site, take a look around at some of the photos from last year and check out the Meat Week Hype that we’ve created for this year, too.  Like that flag logo?  You’re in luck – t-shirts will be available for sale each night (just find the Captain or First Mates).

Except where noted above, all events are come-as-you-are and everyone is free to order whatever they please.

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