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What’s the opposite of healthy, artisanal sandwiches? Fat-ass, gloriously-messy, literally in-your-face sandwiches from Epiphany Open Pit Beef & Subs in Petworth.  This carry-out looks unassuming from the outside and only has 4 seats at the counter, but you may need to sit down once you catch a whiff of the Southern barbecue sizzling in the smoker.

There are over 15 types of overstuffed sandwiches like pulled pork, hot pastrami, roast beef, fried fish, smoked turkey, plus rotisserie chicken, hickory-smoked ribs, and something called the “Vegetarian Squeeze” which I can only presume is another one of PETA’s NSFW, painfully-awkward campaigns.

All the open pit offerings begin life getting massaged with the “Essence of Epiphany,” (which is also the name of a drag queen I know), then slowly-cooked for hours on a charcoal, hickory (and rocket?!) fueled smoker, drawing in all the spicy, tangy and sweet flavors. By the time I was done with my sandwich, I was covered in warm, sticky barbecue sauce, with pieces of napkin dried to my face.  Is this what going down on Bobby Flay is like?

  • The famous pit beef and cheddar ($7.95, pictured) is monstrous, as the Kaiser roll threatens to buckle under the weight of beef brisket, melted cheddar and peppy horseradish mayo.
  • If you’re wearing white, you might be better off with the open-faced prime rib sammie, dipped in au jus, and served with house-made horseradish.  (But not much.)
  • You can get the Cuban Reuben ($7.95) with any combination of Cuban ham, turkey and pork, all topped with Swiss cheese, pickles, and roulade, but why leave any loose ends?
  • The half-slab of ribs ($14.95) comes with 2 sides and a corn muffin. Do not skip the corn muffin.
  • I guess you can order the relatively-healthy collard greens ($2.25) but I feel like you’re missing the point. Just accept that afterwards, you’ll feel like a personal floatation device and you may never get a date ever again (unless you take a spritz of that “Essence of Epiphany”).  So finish up with the mac ‘n’ cheese ($2.25) instead.

Epiphany Open Pit Beef & Subs
4128 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 545-0003