*TC L CHUCK WAGON BAR-B-QUE 1690-B Annapolis Road (Route 175), Odenton. Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 11 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays, closed Sundays. Phone: (410) 551-6340.
The secret to the delicious Southwestern barbecue at this Odenton carryout is the special sauce (all natural ingredients). Owner Don German boasts that the sauce was developed in the mid-1860s by a cook on the Texas-Kansas Chisholm Trail. The tender but meaty spareribs are roasted slowly (never parboiled or steamed) over hickory logs in an enclosed pit, basted every half hour and then served crispy with a side of the sauce.
Located on state Route 175, about halfway between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 32, the Chuck Wagon attracts ribs and barbecue fans from Fort Meade, which is right across the road, and from the nearby National Security Agency. While it caters to the carryout crowd, there are more than enough tables for those who want to stay.
The Chuck Wagon, which opened in the spring, offers a regular order of ribs for $7.95 or, if you're really hungry, the half rack for $9.95 is especially generous. For $2 extra, you can get a dinner platter with a choice of two side orders: potato salad, cole slaw, scrumptious baked beans with sweet Vidalia onions or french fries.
Besides ribs, the Chuck Wagon offers barbecued chicken, sliced beef brisket or sliced pork shoulder. If you want to sample everything, order a combination for $8.95. Planning a party or a cookout? It's good to call ahead. Otherwise, there are always enough ribs available.
The Chuck Wagon is open for lunch Monday through Saturday with $1-off specials every day.