Danny Hurdle is a celebrity.
On any given night at Hurdle’s Carolina Brothers Barbecue spot in Ashburn, a young boy will look at the Carolina Brothers’ to-go menu. Flipping to the back of the pamphlet-style menu, the small lad will set his eyes on the picture of Hurdle, who has owned the Carolina Brothers restaurant for seven years. In walks Hurdle. The young boy does a double-take.
“They’ll come up and ask for my autograph, like I’m famous or something,” says Danny. “My wife just shakes her head, but I think it’s funny.”
For barbecue aficionados, Hurdle is deserving of celebrity status. Being the transient locale it is, Northern Virginia is dense with residents either from the Carolinas, or those who have passed through at various stints in their careers. Finding authentic Carolina barbecue can be a trying practice. Search no more. Carolina Brothers has all the pulled pork, rotisserie chicken, beef and ribs to satisfy those moist, vinegar-based barbecue cravings.
“Eating the food at Carolina Brothers took me back home, especially the pulled pork sandwiches,” says Times-Mirror Associate Editor Crystal Owens, an Alabama native who spent three years working in South Carolina. “Living in Northern Virginia, it’s difficult to find barbeque that equals the food that I grew up enjoying, especially living as close as I did to Memphis. But, anytime I need some comfort food, I head to Carolina Brothers.”
Hurdle has been proud to serve Virginia implants their native barbecue for nearly 30 years, first strictly through his catering operation, now at his sit-down restaurant, as well.
Carolina Brothers hickory smokes all its meats—pork, beef, chicken—while gently cooking in a traditional North Carolina pit. The employees, and Hurdle himself, hand shreds the meat into tender bite-sized pieces.
Add the main event sides of cole slaw, barbecue baked beans, potato salad or macaroni and cheese, take a seat at the Ma and Pa-style set of tables, and you might as well be in a Deep South shack miles away from cell service.
Like a true Southern gentleman, Hurdle quickly bows to his wife for her assistance and support with the restaurant.
A native of northeastern North Carolina, Hurdle first got his hands dirty in the barbecue game working at Hurdle’s Restaurant, an eatery his father won in a poker game.
While, with a few of the other restaurants and chefs in Taste of Loudoun, you’re guaranteed a dazzling dining experience, you’re also likely to spend a decent chunk of cash. Not the case with Carolina Brothers. Grab a sandwich, side and soda for $10. Or, better yet, buy in bulk – pounds of pulled pork, racks or ribs – and take it home for the family chow for days.
Hurdle cherishes his product. To him, it’s a privilege to introduce newcomers to Carolina ‘cue.
“You know, they say if you find something you love, you never have to work a day in your life,” Hurdle says. “Well, when I’m here at the restaurant, I never feel like I’m working.”
This local restaurant feature originally appeared in the Times-Mirror’s 2012 Taste of Loudoun.
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