Article and photography by Fitz
Lead photo of Pitmaster and Owner Jon Wade at Two Drummers Smokehouse
Jon Wade, a music education graduate from Christopher Newport University and long time working musician in the band Rich Whiskey, has been cooking for a fun paycheck since ‘98.
Wade began cooking back when The Trellis, a restaurant located in the heart of Williamsburg, was full of energy and making its reputation for its sourcing practices. Wade would get his first taste for working with an involved culinary team in the kitchen there before switching gears and working solo and/or with minimal staff at pubs like The Corner Pocket in Williamsburg where he worked under his brother Jason.
Wade, while crediting his brother for “lighting the candle for him” in the dining world, would eventually make his way to work under locally renowned chef and owner David Everett at Blue Talon Bistro in Williamsburg. Back in the fine dining world, Wade cultivated his skills for working with large cuts of game meats along with his talents for braising and roasting meats. As Wade explained, “It was at Blue Talon that I really began developing the skills for backyard barbecuing […] handling fifteen pound cuts of meat and such.” Notably, Wade would also work with Forrest Warren at Blue Talon, with Warren in later years becoming one of the most recognized barbecue pitmasters in Newport News for his work at Smoke BBQ Restaurant & Bar.
In 2013, Wade and his brother ultimately made the jump to restaurant owners in the Toano Community of James City County, which is 12 miles north of Williamsburg. Wade’s brother was contacted by the owners of the building, a great deal was struck, and the two brothers would name their restaurant Two Drummers, after their time spent as boys and young men in the fife and drum corps.
Originally built in the 40’s, the building would go through many iterations, from Pierce Brothers, with a history of welcoming touring southern rock acts, to in more recent years, Hog Wild. At their smokehouse, today, Wade takes what he has learned cooking for fun under and with the likes of Everett and Warren, and applies it to arguably the best barbecue between Williamsburg and Richmond.
Two Drummers Smokehouse is a restaurant off the beaten path serving succulent Cherry-wood smoked pulled pork and chicken, with twelve hour smoked brisket and spiced rubbed pork ribs. While Wade might be about the fun, he is making some rather mean barbecue.
Two Drummers Smokehouse is located at 8864 Richmond Rd W Toano, Virginia 23168 and online at twodrummerssmokehouse.com