Eight Great Barbecue Joints in New Jersey

Atlantic City and the surrounding shore towns attract visitors in search of boardwalks, beaches, and betting opportunities. But there’s another draw to the area: barbecue. As surprising as it seems, you can find an embarrassment of excellent, real-deal barbecue spots if you’re willing to take a leisurely drive inland, away from the casinos, to quieter roads. Many of these places are seasonal, open only during warmer months; some are just tent-covered roadside stands (call ahead for hours). Pit masters blend Carolina, Texas, and Kansas City styles of barbecue, but the taste is distinctly Jersey—and in this case, that’s a good thing.
uncle dewey’s outdoor bbq pavilion

1. Christine’s House of Kingfish BBQ

Owner Towanda Price named her barbecue spot after her late parents, Charlie Bryant, aka the “Kingfish,” whose roadside stand on Route 40 was beloved by barbecue fans, and her mother, Christine, whose barbecue sauce recipe she uses. Order the sticky and delicious ribs, the “heavenly hearty chicken” (a moist, smoky, grilled half chicken served with barbecue sauce) or the beef “rump shaker” sandwich with onions and relish. 926 Route 206, Shamong (609-268-3600); open seasonally April–October

2. Henri’s Hotts Barbeque

As you might guess from its name, this casual place serves kicking-hot, smoky Texas-style barbecue. “I don’t open the smoker too much,” says owner Doug Henri, who often works all night on the weekends tending to his pulled pork, dry-rubbed ribs, and juicy brisket. He runs the restaurant with his wife, Ruthie, who makes a mean macaroni and cheese. 1003 Black Horse Pike (609-270-7268; henrishottsbarbeque.com)

3. Uncle Dewey’s Outdoor BBQ Pavilion

Route 40 is a sleepy two-lane highway, but it’s easy to find Uncle Dewey’s: Roll down your window and wait for the whiff of smoking hickory to hit you. Pull over and dig in to “tender-as-a-baby-back” ribs, as the menu calls them (they’re not actually baby backs, but you wouldn’t know it from their soft, yielding texture); or order a pulled-pork sandwich smothered with sauce, sit at one of the picnic tables, and savor summer. 6931 Route 40, Mizpah (609-476-4040; uncledeweys.com)

4. General Barbecue

Glenn “Duke” Bowens grew up locally, but he learned to cook from his mother, a Southerner, and makes what he calls “a taste of Georgia” barbecue. Order juicy chicken with simmered green beans and chunky potato salad, or pink-tinged ribs slathered with rich brown sauce. Bowens keeps his ingredients secret, but whatever is in that sauce is good stuff; soak it up with a side of cornbread. 1333 Route 40, Richland (856-697-8200)

5. JB’s Bar-B-Q

Located in an out-of-way spot behind a gas station, this takeout shop is worth seeking out for traditional Carolina-style barbecue (the owner, Joseph Battle, is originally from North Carolina). The meltingly tender chopped pork is an absolute must-try; be generous with the sublimely spicy vinegar-based sauce. Get your hands messy with some barbecue chicken (or, if you’re an offal lover, fried gizzards), and be sure to add a side of smoky collard greens. 201 Hirst Street #D Suite, Rio Grande (609-886-PORK)

6. Pork’s BBQ

This cozy place opened late last spring and serves traditional barbecue as well as more unusual creations. Try the straightforwardly good ribs or the pulled-pork sandwich (which comes topped with either sauerkraut or coleslaw). A deep-fried jalapeño popper stuffed with cream cheese, rib meat, and fresh peach dipping sauce is in the works. 1 Fulling Mill Road, Villas (609-425-4503)

7. Kingfish

Barbecue, in these parts, is a family affair. Raymond Bryant, son of the Kingfish and sister of Towanda Price, runs this outdoor stand (just a smoker under a tent on the side of the road), along with his nephew. The menu is short, but who needs more than these delicious ribs, succulent chicken, and sides like cabbage with curry? 714 Washington Avenue (next to Ron’s Consignments), Woodbine (856-896-4321)

8. Corky’s

The ambience of Corky’s—located in the Tropicana casino in Atlantic City—hardly screams Southern soul, but this place is worth mentioning because it’s a branch of the Memphis barbecue institution of the same name, famous for its smoky ribs. Corky’s is a safe bet if you’re in AC, but you’ll have to taste for yourself to see if Memphis translates to the boardwalk—or if in Jersey, you should just get your local ’cue on. The Marketplace at the Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk (609-345-4100; corkysribsandbbq.com)

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