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Slow-Smoked Barbecue and Southern Cooking Arrive in the Gaslamp

Smokin’ J’s BBQ opens its biggest location yet

Smoked brisket.
Smoked brisket.
Smokin J’s BBQ

A popular local barbecue outfit just opened its third location in the Gaslamp, its largest yet, that will spolights its acclaimed smoked meat as well as new Southern-styled dishes. Founded by the George brothers — Jeremy, a barbecue fanatic, and Josh, a five-time Paralympic medalist — Smokin J’s BBQ began as a farmers market vendor and mobile caterer before establishing its first restaurant in Old Poway Village in 2019.

Earlier this year, the George’s launched an outpost at the Miralani Brewer’s District in Miramar, which features a gluten-free menu.

The new Smokin J’s lands on Fourth Avenue in a 120-seat, 3,800-square-foot space that’s been redesigned by Mckenzie George, Jeremy’s wife, and includes a large dining room and 18-tap bar set up for sports-watching.

Tables inside a large restaurant.
The new Gaslamp dining room.
Dee Sandoval

Open Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m., the restaurant is serving its signature meats, including brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, and chicken, which will be smoked overnight in Poway on its two, 2,000-gallon offset smokers and delivered daily to downtown. Offered in half-pound or pound-size portions, the meats are also available in family-sized platters and individual “TV dinners” with homemade sides like smoked succotash and slaw.

A patio in front of a restaurant.
The front patio.
Dee Sandoval

With the larger footprint, chef Rick Daniels (Iron Pig Alehouse) will be rolling out his recipe for fried chicken along with Southern specialties like blackened catfish and blackened shrimp; the kitchen will also bake up fresh cornbread and pecan pie.

People in chicken costumes.
The team in Cluckin’ Bell uniforms.
Smokin’ J’s BBQ

The brothers, who tell Eater that they’re planning on opening more locations in San Diego as well a large-scale barbecue hub out of town, are also getting into the fun of Comic-Con.

Reviving a collaboration created in partnership with Las Vegas-based fashion and art brand, boyworldwide, for last year’s fest, Smokin J’s will be turning its new Gaslamp space into a real-life version of Cluckin’ Bell, a restaurant from the video game franchise Grand Theft Auto (GTA) that mashes up Taco Bell with KFC. Running July 19 through July 23, the pop-up will feature its staff outfitted in Cluckin’ Bell gear and an exclusive chicken-based menu as well as drinks like eCola and Orang-O-Tang. And this weekend, from July 14 through July 16, their Poway location will be dressing up as another GTA restaurant called Burger Shot, offering themed food and drink plus limited quantities of Burger Shot Stallion toy cars and uniforms.

Smokin' J's BBQ Gaslamp Quarter

751 4th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101