Barlow’s BBQ Transitions From Truck to Restaurant

By Eric Englund | Nov 27, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Barnegat — After operating out of a food truck since February, Big Barlow’s BBQ and Catering recently opened a restaurant at 21 South Main St. (Route 9) in Barnegat Township. At the moment, it’s primarily takeout as it has eight counter seats and four tables. But owner Chris Barlow Sr. hopes to eventually expand by taking over an adjacent vacant storefront.

“Then I will be able to have a full-fledged dining room and a larger kitchen,” he said. “I’ll also be looking to add items to the menu.”

Barlow said his most popular items are the ribs and brisket. But also very popular are the Barlow Burger, on a pub bun topped with bacon, pulled pork, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, frizzled onions, lettuce and tomato; the Pulled Pork; and the Barlow Fries, the shoestring variety, with cheese sauce, pulled pork, BBQ sauce and crumbled “pig candy” – thick-cut applewood smoked bacon slow-cooked with sugars, maple syrup and a touch of cayenne.

“I always had a love for cooking ever since I cooked my first scrambled eggs at my grandmother’s house,” said Barlow, 35. “I started cooking barbecue when I was 15 years old, with a lot of trial and error, because at that time we didn’t have the internet and we are from New Jersey – not a big barbecue state.”

Barlow said he is mostly self-taught, but along the way he did earn a food science degree from Johnson and Wales University.

“That has helped me with some of the sauces I come up with, like my new Peanut Butter BBQ sauce that everyone can’t seem to get enough of,” he said.

After earning his degree, Barlow worked in various restaurants throughout the New York area. He found barbecue could be his calling when he worked at the Blue Smoke in New York.

“As I got better, everyone told me that I should consider it as my career, and that’s when the planning started. No matter where I worked, I always just wanted to do southern barbecue because it was my niche.”

It was last fall when Barlow decided it was time to go into business for himself.

“I wanted to put out good quality food with decent portions without breaking people’s pockets,” he said. “One thing I always believed strongly in is good customer service and the freshness and quality of menu items. That’s what customers love, and that’s why they come back.”

Even though he has transitioned from truck to restaurant, Barlow isn’t through with the mobile aspect of the business.

“Next year, I’m looking to have the truck out again,” he said. “It had been making appearances at a lot of community-oriented events.”

For more information on Big Barlow’s BBQ, including catering options, call 609-549-3640 or visit

— Eric Englund

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