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Cowlings BBQ on US 460 outside Waverly, VA--anyone been there?

  • j
  • 6

We drive down US 460 a lot going between Richmond and Virginia Beach, and we always pass this place on the way. It looks like it's real pit BBQ (separate smokehouse) but we usually go by in the mornings before it opens. We finally got around to trying the Virginia Diner (good fried chicken) and were thinking about trying this place next. Is it worth the stop, or is it yet another in a long line of mediocre Virginia BBQ?

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  1. I've been to Cowling's only a couple of times, the most recent being over three years ago. They're a real log-burner, cooking their barbecue over oak coals in a pit that has some sort of turntable in it. The barbecue served on my first visit was disappointing. It was dry and somewhat tough. Perhaps it had been cooked too fast or maybe it was from a poor shoulder. The last visit was much, much better. The texture was good and the flavor classic real i.e. wood-cooked, barbecue. The sides and home-style vegetables were very good both times I stopped there. In the "big picture" of barbecue Cowling's is just OK. That would place it among the best five real barbecue spots in Virginia. If you go, please post and let us know how it was.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jim

      My family and I have been going to Cowlings since I was a baby (now 33) and we love it. Its the 2nd best in Virginia with King's in Petersburg being the tops. Its a differnt type of Que and you can get some nice crunchy(some might say dry) edges. But boy do we love it!

      1. re: Jim

        Every time we stop at Cowlings, the food has been great.
        I find that the homemade onion rings and coconut cream pie alone are worth the stop.

      2. Any update on this? Any other recommendations for a place to stop (besides the Virginia Diner) on 460 - Richmond to VA Beach?

        1 Reply
        1. re: jennyschoenherr

          It is totally worth the stop! I used to stop by there with my family on the way to the beach and it was delicious every time. I was surprised to see the post that said it was dry- never had that problem. It's good North Carolina-style barbecue. Get a BBQ sandwich and make sure to get the pie for dessert- often still warm from the oven!! Best hidden barbecue spot in Virginia :)

        2. We've been going to Cowling's for many years and find the 'Q consistently very good. They have their own vinegar-based sauce which you add as you see fit. And the onion rings are exceptional ( I didn't know about the coconut pie and will have to try it!). This is a family owned and operated restaurant with the typical "feel" of the genuine barbecue joint that it is. Worth stopping for lunch on US 460 half-way between Petersburg and Suffolk on the east side of Waverly, VA.