Smoke & Barrel Puts Barbecue Sauce on Tap

Smoke & Barrel Sauce

You could say that Smoke & Barrel now boasts the most diverse draft list in town. That’s because chef Logan McGear is introducing barbecue sauce on tap this week.

“I honestly came up with the idea after watching servers spill sauce everywhere trying to fill up bottles,” he says. “It really grinds my gears.” Staff will now dispense the sauce from the taps into ramekins and squirt bottles. McGear confesses they’re also in it for the “cool factor.”

Two of Smoke & Barrel’s six sauces (original and spicy) will be offered in this new format, which utilizes specialty nitrogen beer taps. “You kind of have to use nitrogen when pushing something through that thick,” McGear explains.

In the beer world, nitrogen taps are reserved for thicker beers deserving of creamy heads like Guinness. It's a departure from the typical use of carbon dioxide to pressurize beer enough to coax it through draft lines. Instead, the taps typically utilize 75 percent nitrogen and 25 percent carbon dioxide.

Dolcezza’s new CityCenterDC shop, which opened last week, is also putting something other than suds on draft using a "nitro" system. They’re pouring iced coffee, claiming the addition of nitrogen contributes to intensified flavor and a smoother, creamier texture. McGear says his sauces, on the other hand, should taste the same.

McGear’s innovations aren’t just limited to how the sauces a dispensed, but also what’s in them. The Arkansas native makes seasonal sauce flavors like watermelon Thai chili, blueberry jalapeño, and sweet potato habanero that can perk up an order of brisket or Smoke & Barrel’s signature smoked duck.

Smoke & Barrel, 2471 18th St. NW; (202) 319-9353;

Photo by Laura Hayes