Smokin’ Jarhead “”, Woodstock, Virginia

I waddled out of Bean’s, fully sated by my huge pork sandwich and chips. I was headed to Chantilly to check out another place, and decided that it would be wise to take back roads so that I’d have time to build up an appetite before my next meal. So I drove slowly up Route 11 toward Woodstock, and after seven miles, before I was even out of Shenandoah County, I thought I saw a wood-fired grill smoking away outside a bright yellow building. A mirage? I turned my car around to investigate.

I parked and walked over to make sure there were no hoses or electrical cords attached to the cooker. This was another True ‘Cue place! Here’s the front of the building —

and here’s Ron, with … I’m a little hazy on that. At this point Siri hijacked my notes as I was getting their names. Siri recorded “picture of y’all … your name again … and I gotta … turn off stupid Siri” interspersed with a mixture of comments from Ron and his compatriots, Chris and Dave. That’s Ron in the middle.

I’m not sure which is which. As you can see, the older — I think it’s Dave, but someone please tell me — is another former Jarhead, if there is such thing as a former Jarhead. Semper Fi! Anyway, I presented Ron with his Campaign for Real Barbecue certification, and we chatted a bit.

Ron Johnson grew up down South, but went to the Massanutten Military Academy. After graduating and a first career in the Marine Corps, he gravitated to the restaurant business. Ron had a food truck for a while that was successful enough to enable him to open his current place in December 2021. It sits right across Main Street from his alma mater, the Massanutten Military Academy.

Ron is an outgoing person, and it was a treat talking with him and the crew. I eventually ordered a pork sandwich and retreated to the hood of my car. I had a few bites, and it tasted good, but I was already full, near the point at which I’d have to tamp any more down my throat with a spoon. Sufficiently addled that I neglected to photograph the pork, I eased back into the car and headed homeward.

I absolutely will return to Smokin’ Jarhead “”. For one thing, I’m curious about the double quotation marks. My guess is that he ran afoul of another place that had claimed the name. More important, though, I want to try his ribs. I saw some on the cooker and have a good feeling about the ribs. I’m also interested in the chicken and something he calls Smoked Armadillo Eggs. They look like sausage wrapped in bacon. Smokin’ Jarhead is a place well worth the trip. Head to Woodstock. I’ll close with a post on Ron’s Facebook page on Memorial Day:

I just wanted to share my Memorial day experience. I was honored to help Chris Cruise set up memorials for men and women affiliated with Operation Honor our Heros. As I journeyed through Arlington National Cemetery I overheard a man with his wife and kids pushing a stroller with his young toddler daughter standing next to him as they stood in front of a headstone the little girl asked who is this? the father aswered “It’s daddy’s friend”. As i continued i heard a woman crying, when i looked in her direction i saw several graves with no grass on them and the woman lying on a blanket on the fresh soil. Another woman cracked a can of beer and poured it out at the headstone she sat at. The sights and sounds ran a range of emotions. The 5 yr old boy dressed in full blues at his father’s grave was awesome. I was blessed to experience the peace that i did yesterday.

Go visit Ron and get some good barbecue.


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6 thoughts on “Smokin’ Jarhead “”, Woodstock, Virginia

  1. That’s a great bio – from the Marines to Barbecue. I can actually see how being a Marine leading may lead one to not settle for anything less than real Q. Or perhaps both the Marines and Barbecue attract that type of person.

    Liked by 1 person

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