Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
Nov 10, 2007 12:34 PM

Real Barbecue in Central Jersey

My wife is originally from western North Carolina. On trips to see her family, we stop in and around Lexington for barbecue. The only way I have been able to get good barbecue at home, however, is to dedicate 12-14 hours to preparing pork shoulders on my grill at home. Simply stated, real barbecue requires two things -- time and wood.

Anyone know of a place where I can get real barbecue in the Garden State? Doesn't matter to me what style, per se, but the place must prepare it properly -- slowly and with real smoke.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have never been, but supposedly Big Ed's BBQ in Matawan is good. I'm looking forward to trying it some day.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DJMarilyn

      I'm sorry, but if you search the posts here about Big Ed's you'll see that our prevailing opinion is that they are lousy. They are certainly not cooked low and slow.

      There are only a few choices locally and none are as good as home smoked. I will say that front street is about as good as it gets around here.

      1. re: seal

        I will have to research some more before trying. Thanks for the head's up, seal!

        1. re: seal

          Well, seal, I'll duck as a few brickbats come sailing my way because I happen to like the baby back ribs at Big Ed's. :-o lol I've never tried the pulled pork, so maybe that is bad.

          1. re: RGR

            I like the ribs at Jack's too RGR, but neither
            place is slow smoked.

        2. re: DJMarilyn

          oh god no.. no no no no no no no...a thousand times no!

        3. Front Street Smokehouse in Elizabeth. We've both been there and have had them cater for us and it's great.

          1. Central Jersey is a pretty large area. The following thread mentions a few places within a 30 min drive of Princeton/Trenton. Some of them have already been mentioned here.


            1. There's a place on Route 9 in Forked River that's the real deal. The name escapes me at the moment but it's in the old Stewarts Root Beer building. It might be called Extreme Barbeque or something like that.

              5 Replies
              1. re: BCjr

                Yes, I think the name is Extreme Barbecue. I tried it once when it was open a few months and it was more than decent. :)

                There used to be a REAL Barbecue master called Kingfisher who had an outdoor, set up on weekends, under a tin roof mecca in the South Jersey area, outside Buena (on rt 40?) I heard he moved ot a different location, The most amazingly good Barbecue. Anyone know news of him?

                1. re: Quine

         lists Kingfish Ribs and Chicken stand on his website. See . He also has Uncle Dewey’s at . I seem to recall reading that one or both of these places has since closed. In either case, I would assume that they’re both only open during the summer.

                  1. re: TomDel

                    Not sure how up to date is. I just took a look at it and another restaurant on the list has been closed for about 2 years.

                    1. re: mschow

                      According to the web site, it was last updated on February 2, 2008. However, it does appear that some of the content is WAY out of date.

                    2. re: TomDel

                      Kingfish Ribs and Chicken is now in Woodbine across from Capt. Scrap Antiques and Collectibles. You can get directions by going to you can also view his menu on the front page. I love his chicken and potato salad.

                2. Don't know if it will meet your standards, but I was quite pleased with my pulled pork sandwich at Hot Rod's in Wharton:

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jmoryl

                    I gotta say i recently enjoyed ribs @ Famous Daves, Woodbridge. I know, I know they are a chain but the ribs were GOOD. Found Big Ed's greasy, and no taste.

                    1. re: nyebaby37

                      For the record, I love Famous Dave's and think of them as a go-to place locally. The ribs and chopped pork and brisket are all top notch, but the best thing there has to be the chicken wings with the hot bbq sauce. My son and I often split 60 wings there.

                      1. re: seal

                        I also like the ribs at Famous Dave's. However, just about every time we went there (Route 1, in N. Brunswick), we had to send the food back because the ribs were not hot. :-( To be fair, we've sometimes had that problem at Big Ed's. Why that happens remains a mystery to me.

                        1. re: RGR

                          actually didnt like the one in NB, but the one in Wdge.