The onion rings at the Bar-B-Que House in Laurel were the answer to days of craving. Crispy rings. A sweet onion taste inside. Thin, golden coating. Spicy barbeque sauce for dipping. The rings stayed warm and crisp while I ate a pulled pork sandwich, and each ring lived up to the hope that had driven me since last weekend.
How often does that happen? I don't deep fry anything at home. Every once in a while I crave fries or samosas, and they're disappointing far too often -- greasy instead of crisp and flavorful. The Bar-B-Que House served up the perfect treat.
I'd actually gone to the Bar-B-Que House inspired by a post on the Don Rockwell site that had touted the best barbeque in the Washington or DC. DonRocks himself talked it up, although that was from 15 years ago. This is a friendly little restaurant without the rough edges that make me unsure about some of the U.S. 1 joints. Counter service from the woman who fries up my onion rings. It's all smiles, completely kid-friendly and sweet.
Maybe a touch too sweet. My pulled pork was a really tasty sandwich, although it was more sugar and less vinegar than I normally want. But that's just personal preference. The meat was tender, and it had the real flavor and texture of pork. Mass-produced meat can be so soft that it disappears into the sauce. The Bar-B-Que House serves real meat, which I doctored with the spiciest sauce, and I didn't leave until I had dipped every bit of the every-day roll to savor that spice.
In the end, the sandwich was on par with the Kloby's Smokehouse sandwich, which the post office also calls Laurel, but which is actually between Columbia and Fulton on Johns Hopkins Road. That's well-cooked pork with an interesting sauce. The truth is that barbeque joints often make their name on side dishes -- mac & cheese, hush puppies, greens, etc., and Bar-B-Que House certainly delivers on that score. It'll be my place for onion rings, and maybe next time I'll go pit beef. Oooooooo.
Who else serves up great onion rings? What about french fries? People talk up the fries at Five Guys, but I have had hit or miss.
Click here for my post about the best kabobs and barbeque in Howard County. And if you check out the Bar-B-Que House, you should consider a drive along U.S. 1 -- the foodie frontier with great food all the way north to Elkridge.
9990 Washington Blvd N
NEAR: This is on the southbound side of U.S. 1 right at the point where the road splits and has stores in the middle. That's south of Rte 32 and north of Main Street in Laurel. From downtown Laurel, you actually need to go past the McDonald's and then U-turn up the hill.