Meats & Foods wins Best Half-Smoke in Washington, DC!

Stachowski's Market, Ben's Chili Bowl ,The Big Stick and Bold Bite in top five

If you've ever cheered on the Nats or gone for a beer or two on U Street, you're probably familiar with DC's signature street eat, the half-smoke. The name refers to a spicy pork and beef sausage, typically larger and courser than a hot dog, that is most commonly served on a soft bun and smothered in chili, mustard and onions.

  • EatBar

    The half-smoke at EatBar comes topped with beef and bacon chili and white American Cheeze Whiz – a twist on the classic 'wich. It comes with a side salad or fries.
    Photo courtesy of EatBar

  • The Passenger

    Famous for its cocktails, The Passenger also boasts a worthwhile food menu. Their massive half-smoke comes loaded with finely diced onions and meaty chili.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • HalfSmoke

    It's no surprise that a place called HalfSmoke has a great half-smoke on their menu. This beef and pork smoked sausage comes on a toasted bun with a whole range of topping options, from the classic chili, cheese and mustard to interesting items like beer cheese, pulled pork or hummus.
    Photo courtesy of HalfSmoke

  • DCity Smokehouse

    DCity Smokehouse serves their half-smoke two ways – a classic version with nacho cheese, brisket chili and yellow mustard and The Big Snoop (pictured), topped with pulled pork, coleslaw and BBQ sauce.
    Photo courtesy of DCity Smokehouse

  • Straw Stick & Brick Delicatessen

    Straw Stick & Brick serves a sizable menu of hot sandwiches; one of them is a classic DC half-smoke topped with chili and cheese.
    Photo courtesy of Straw Stick & Brick

  • Bold Bite

    Known for its hickory-smoked burgers, Bold Bite also serves almost a half dozen different half-smokes, including a classic version with onions, spicy mustard and chili. Vegetarians can even partake by subbing in an Italian veggie sausage.
    Photo courtesy of Bold Bite

  • The Big Stick

    One of several sausage options at The Big Stick is the Half Street Smoke, a half-smoke with house-made chili, cheddar cheese, onions and jalapeños.
    Photo courtesy of The Big Stick Restaurant & Sports Bar

  • Ben's Chili Bowl

    The Original Chili Half-Smoke, the signature item at Ben's Chili Bowl, features a 1/4-pound beef and pork smoked sausage on a steamed bun with mustard, onions and a fiery house-made chili. This is the original, made famous in 1958.
    Photo courtesy of Ben's Chili Bowl

  • Stachowski's Market

    Stachowski's Market makes all their sausages daily in-house, and that extensive sausage menu often includes a classic half-smoke garnished with chili.
    Photo courtesy of Stachowski's Market

  • Meats & Foods

    The Meats & Foods half-smoke is a blend of beef and pork, handmade and smoked in-house. It's grilled to order and topped with toppings of choice. The classic version comes with all-beef chili, onions and yellow mustard, but other options include sauerkraut, bacon or vegetarian chili.
    Photo courtesy of Carissa Craven / Meats & Foods

No one is quite sure how the half-smoke originating, but some believe the sausage was first produced by Briggs & Co. meatpackers in the 1930s. In 1954, Weenie Beenie opened in Shirlington and began grilling half-smokes, followed by Ben's Chili Bowl in 1958. 

10Best and Sandwich America wanted to find the best half-smoke in the District, so the editors joined forces with local DC food writers and The Food Channel to nominate 20 worthy restaurants across the city. For the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites, and the results are in.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Half-Smoke in Washington, DC are as follows:

  1. Meats & Foods
  2. Stachowski's Market
  3. Ben’s Chili Bowl
  4. The Big Stick
  5. Bold Bite
  6. Straw Stick & Brick Delicatessen
  7. DCity Smokehouse
  8. HalfSmoke
  9. The Passenger
  10. EatBar

Congratulations to all 10 of our winning half-smoke shops in DC!

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