About Us

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About US

In 1952, my Grandfather, John D, began barbecuing chicken to bring attention to the Valley’s poultry farmers. We still use his original charcoal chicken pits and grills today for special occasions!

During the 1950s and 1960s, John D. and my grandmother Joanna, traversed the Commonwealth with their trusty food trailer, The Chicken Palace, attending various festivals and fairs. They also began serving BBQ Chicken at the Shenandoah County Fair in 1956 and the tradition continues today.

In the late 1970s, the smoke was passed to my father, George. He grew the barbecue operation into a full-time business in the early 1990s catering events both large and small - including an unforgettable feast for 5,000 people outside Atoka, VA.

Growing up surrounded by the family business, I particularly enjoyed the camaraderie and community spirit that our BBQ inspired. After my adventures flying helicopters in the U.S. Navy and starting a food truck in Arlington, my wife Julie and I decided to put down roots in Winchester. Our circus tent is currently located in a charming 1760 native Virginia limestone house and our three children Sam, CeCe, and Ruby keep it real every day.

In July 2016, fate led us to a 1956 gas station just a few miles away in Middletown. With a ton of support from our friends and a healthy dose of hard work, we transformed it into Shaffer's BBQ & Market. The smoke rises daily and we are open from 9AM-7PM, Monday through Saturday. Our BBQ & Market is a treasure trove of local products, craft beer, meats, and of course, Big Julie's famous BBQ sauces and rub.

As the story of our family business continues to evolve, we proudly uphold the values of Quality, Service, and Value that have been the pillars of Shaffer businesses for generations. Julie, Sam, CeCe, Ruby and I appreciate the opportunity to carry on the family tradition and look forward to sharing our hospitality with you in Middletown.

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About Our BBQ

In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, where time-honored traditions meet a host of locally sourced products, our pits are kindled with locally harvested oak and hickory.  We smoke at 275 degrees and our unique, Vinegar-based sauces complement the Cue's smoky goodness. 
Our signature Pork BBQ is finely chopped bark and all, not pulled.  We mix in just a touch of our Tangy Virginia Sauce and serve a heaping 1/3 pound on a Brioche Bun. 
Our Brisket is truly a Shaffer family original.  This is Virginia Brisket (not texas).....we trim all the fat off and let the meat rest in a house rub for 3 days.  Then we smoke it for a few hours and slice it thin, served with our Bold & Sassy Sauce.  Most folks enjoy it as a hot 1/3 sandwich, though we sell it by the pound as well.  
We smoke a St Louis cut rib rubbed down with our House Recipe Big Julie's All-Purpose BBQ Rub....these sell quickly, so please order ahead!
Our smoked Adobo Sausage is a Local Masterpiece.  Each 1/3 pound link is made with Crabill's homestyle sausage and blended with Adodo seasoning from Shenandoah Spice Company.  Served with Peppers & Onions on a bun or naked. 
Fried Chicken......I know, I know, it's not barbecue, but my goodness some days I think we should call this place Big Julie's House of Fried Chicken!  Each piece is hand breaded with our house seasoning (13 ingredients!) and fried to order. 
We believe in sourcing local as much as possible....and you can taste the difference.  Our Smash Burgers are a 1/3 pound of Springdale Farms Beef from right here in Frederick County....dry-aged a week longer than most.....with just a touch of our House seasoning mixed in. 
Our Catfish comes straight from Virginia's Rappahannock River and the Oysters are wild caught from the Chesapeake Bay.  Supporting Virginia's Watermen has never tasted so good!  Enjoy either fried to order or on a Po' boy.  
Big Julie is from New Orleans so keep an eye out for red beans and rice, po' boys, gumbo, collards, and bread pudding specials from time to time.
We look forward to cooking for you, please come visit!