Why is my chicken pink?

…Because it was smoked!

We get asked occasionally why our Cajun chicken can look pink on the inside. And we get it – we grow up thinking that pink in chicken means it’s undercooked.

But that’s not the case with smoked barbecue, and there is real science behind it.

As an authentic BBQ joint, we smoke all of our meat low and slow – in simpler terms, this means we cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

Most people think of pork and ribs when they think of BBQ. But when chicken gets the low n’ slow treatment, it adds a whole new dimension.

At Shaffer’s, we brine our Cajun Chicken for 48 hours and then smoke it for 3 hours at 275 degrees over oak and hickory wood.

So here’s where the science comes in…

Myoglobin is a protein stored in muscle, which when mixed with water (brine) takes on a pink appearance. When exposed to high temperatures, myoglobin breaks down to give a consistent white coloring across the whole piece of meat.

As we smoke our chicken at a lower temperature for a much longer period of time, the myoglobin doesn’t fully break down. This creates a pink tinge to the meat – the same reaction that causes the smoke ring you see on our brisket and ribs.

This doesn’t mean it’s undercooked, just that it’s been smoked. We probe all of our chickens on the breast to make sure they have hit an internal temperature of  at least 165 degrees before they get to you.

If you are accustomed to BBQ chicken at Shaffer’s in Woodstock, know that BBQ vs Smoked chicken are two very different processes with a very different outcome. BBQ Chicken in Woodstock is cooked at 400-500 degrees for 1.5-2 hours and will not be pink.

If you would like to read a detailed explanation, here is a link to the USDA site:


So next time you see a pink tinge to the Cajun chicken at Shaffer’s BBQ & Market, worry not, and enjoy!

Crabill’s Riverview Brand Cloth Bologna by the pound or the meat stick


Local meat masters Crabill’s Butchery  brings us another outstanding product.  Their Riverview Brand Cloth Bologna is the real deal.  You can buy it by the pound, $4.99 or get your own Bologna Stick for $6.25.  We are also showcasing local Goats Milk Soap from Star Tannery in Shenandoah County.  Baron Faust with Fossil Rock Farm provides an astonishing assortment of flavors and scents.  Sure does make the beer aisle smell fresh!

What does all this have to do with BBQ, you ask?  Not much…and Everything.  Barbecue is about bringing the community together, communicating with our neighbors, breaking bread together, and generally providing an atmosphere of support.  Come sit at the Wagon Wheel table, meet a new friend, and learn about all the exciting products that your talented friends and neighbors produce!

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A Fine Virginia Hot Sauce has arrived…and it is tasty!


Local Hot Sauce from right here in the Shenandoah Valley

Introducing a tasty hot sauce from Clark & Hopkins.  The Chesapeake Bay is not very spicy and finishes well on the back of your tongue.  We like it on egg sandwiches, hamburgers, french fries, pretty much anything you want to add a little zip too…..and I have a sample bottle of “Kerala” on my desk, which promises a lot more heat!  Brandon and Don and really fun folks who have put their heart and soul into this business.  Come support a Virginia Company with ties to Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley.  A few more nuggets of knowledge about Chef Brandon and Don:

Clark and Hopkins hot sauce brings flavors from across the globe right to your kitchen table. It all started on the tennis court, when Chef Brandon Clark was challenged by a tennis buddy of Indian descent, to create a hot sauce using the tastes of the Malabar Coast, a region rich in indigenous spicecraft that somehow lacked its own version of hot sauce. The result was so outstanding that Brandon’s tennis buddy Brijesh exclaimed, “This tastes like home!”

Brandon went on to experiment with flavors from Thailand, Laos, Mexico, Maine and further afield, in search of interesting new combinations. Over the years, with the help of tennis pal Don Hopkins and friends Mike and Kristin O’Connor, he refined the flavor, heat, and taste of these blends. Then in 2016, Clark and Hopkins was born.


The dynamic Duo right here in our Market!!

Brandon went on to experiment with flavors from Thailand, Laos, Mexico, Maine and further afield, in search of

interesting new combinations. Over the years, with the help of tennis pal Don Hopkins and friends Mike and Kristin O’Connor, he refined the flavor, heat, and taste of these blends. Then in 2016, Clark and Hopkins was born.




Elsa & Olaf Are Coming to Visit!!


Free visit with Elsa & Olaf

Mark your calendars….Saturday March 18, 2017 from 2-4 Elsa and Olaf will be at Shaffer’s BBQ & Market! Come visit.  Take Pictures!  Eat BBQ!  Pics and visit are free……though we do encourage you do come hungry!  Weather permitting the event will be outside under out picnic shelter and we will have a beer tasting from Three Notch’d Brewery inside, just to make the Frozen sing-a-long that much more fun…..we will also have ribs, pork bbq, beef brisket, cajun chix, nuggets, and hot dogs for sale….and homemade pecan pie, chocolate chips cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and THREE NOTCH’D BEER from Charlottesville.

Maple Bacon Bourbon BOOM!!!

Drunken Pig Coffee

By the single brew or 1/2 pound!

Smokin Beans!

BBQ for Breakfast!!

ISmokin Beans Maple Bacon Bourbon BOOM!

We have teamed up with Rick’s Roasters from Fredericksburg to create our own unique coffees!  Sean Ricks is a fellow Navy Vet and he and his wife Keely make some sweet coffee combos.  Smokin Beans is available daily at our Market by the cup or the Gallon!  The Drunken Pig is our signature Cold Brew coffee and is tastes exactly like it sounds.  Cold Brews available by the cup or gallon, too!

We are also selling each coffee by the bag, 1.5oz and 1/2 pound.  The larger bags come pre-ground or whole bean.  Smokin Beans goes great with….you guessed it, Barbecue.  So on those mornings where you need BBQ for breakfast, this is your coffee…..don’t want hot meat that early?  Smokin Beans is still a great brew to enjoy with donuts, biscuits & gravy, and egg sandwiches too!

New Orleans & Mardi Gras at The South End Market

Made-From-Scratch King Cakes For Sale

Chef Oscar wants you to hide the baby

February in the Shenandoah Valley usually translates to the dreaded “wintry mix”…..but not this year!  February brings Carnivale Season straight from the Crescent City.  Julie’s brother, David, an accomplished New Orleans chef will visit with us on Saturday February 18 while providing a FREE CREOLE COOKING DEMONSTRATION.

Learn how to make a Roux that’ll stick to your insides…and a seafood stock that serves as the foundation of many a French Quarter dish.  David will share insights and techniques from his 40+ years in the kitchen while also preparing Gumbo, Etouffee, Jambalaya, and other Creole delights FOR SALE TO THE PUBLIC.

Chef Oscar will be baking King Cakes all month in February to help you celebrate Mardi Gras in traditional NOLA fashion.  Each King Cake is $19.99 and comes with a Mardi Gras baby for you to hide inside this tasty, made-from-scratch dessert. Please order ahead….540.508.4274

Shaffer’s BBQ & Markets Hosts Wine Tasting w/ Cross Keys Vineyard Feb 10th 4-6

cross-keys-tasting-Shaffer's BBQ

Cross Keys Vineyard Wine Tasting

Shaffer’s BBQ & Market is excited to welcome Bubbles Snarr from Cross Keys Vineyard to our Market on Friday, February 10 from 4-6. (***Men this is your chance to impress your Valentine***)

She will bring a variety of wines from Cross Keys’ cellar to share, including their award-winning Joy Red and Joy White.  Everyone will also be able to taste the Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Meritage, & Chardonnay.

Additionally, Cross Keys offers Strawberry, Blueberry, Apple, Peach wines…..perfect for a sweet-little-somethin-somethin after supper. You can taste them all and pick our your favorite for that special Valentine!

Shaffer’s BBQ & Market will also offer a small variety finger foods and BBQ to complement the tastings, including Chef Oscars homemade Pepper Jelly.  And we believe the Cross Keys Petit Verdot is the perfect match to our Pork BBQ and our Ribs….stop by and let us know what you think.

To find our more about Cross Keys Vineyard and their wines, click here: Cross Keys

See you on the 10th!

Our Market is Getting BETTER!

Local Products | Shenandoah Valley

We’ve re-arranged!

Our first Holiday Season in business was a booming success!  Thank you to each and every one of you that supported us, we appreciate your business.

2017 brings new opportunities to expand our Market with local products, while continuing to serve taste-bud-tingling Barbecue.  We have added wine from a local Shenandoah Valley favorite, Cross Keys Vineyard, to include their award-winning Joy Red and Joy White.  We also carry their line of Fruit and Port Wines and other red and white selections.

Pasture-Raised eggs have made their debut and we will continue to expand our offerings of fresh, local, healthy products, like Apple Butter for instance.  We have sugar free and fully leaded (sugar) jars in large and small from Mackintosh Farms and from the Stephen’s City Lions Club. When they’re gone they’re gone, so…..

We are also working on details for a Spring/Summer Farmers’ Market here on the property, we have a line on hyper-local honey, homemade dog treats, and many more fun products…..if you have an idea or better yet a unique local product, please bring me a sample!

The History of Virginia Barbecue

World renowned historian, author, Barbecue connoisseur Joe Haynes spent the afternoon with us last week.  Joe and his wife Gail are terrific folks with a passion for real Virginia BBQ……so they fit right in here.  Since my Grandfather John D. Shaffer started barbecuing chicken in 1952, we have stuck to the flavors and traditions of Virginia BBQ.

Joe’s book details how the Indians and first Settlers used what they had to cook wild game and hogs low and slow, sealing in all the smoky goodness.  He goes on to provide insight into fellow longtime Virginia pitmasters from across the state and even shares authentic Virginia BBQ recipes.

Joe was gracious enough to sign several copies of his book which we have for sale here at our BBQ & Market.  My father George and I continue to follow the traditions of Shenandoah Valley BBQ chicken, chopped pork, vinegar sauces, and paprika rib rubs.  Stop by and say hello!

Virginia Barbecue

Joe’s Book is fascinating page turner if you love taste-bud-tingling BBQ!

Real Virginia BBQ

The man himself…..

Real Virginia BBQ

A book & a Gift Card…great combo for that meat lover in your life!

Want me to send you a copy of Joe’s book email or call 540.508.4274

Smoked Christmas Turkeys & Country Hams Specials

Country hams for Christmas

Felt’s Country Ham or Kite’s (Special order)

Christmas Specials

Christmas 2016

Smoked Turkey at Shaffer's

Smoked Turkey Deliciousness

Too much to do for Christmas?  Let us cook that bird or ham for you!  We are offering a 12-14# Turkey for $48 and Felt’s Country Hams.  We can sell you the ham raw or cook it for you (and you get the broth and bones to make a stock!).  $3.99/# raw or $5.49/# cooked by us.  Questions?  Give me a call anytime or shoot me an email. 540.508.4274 or email 


virginia oysters

Straight from the Bay to Middletown

bushel oysters

Buy them by the Bushel too!

These little salts will light up your evening.  Whether you want to do the work or get them ready to eat.  Shaffer’s BBQ & Market has the oysters and shrimp you are looking for.  We bring in Oysters by the Pint and Quart every Wednesday…..but only a couple.  SO….please order ahead by Monday for Wednesday arrival.  We also offer Wild Caught Shrimp from the USA.  We have two bags frozen for you to cook or we can steam them for you.  Just let me know.

Check out these Virginia products

tart local applesauce

An old family recipe that my cousin has perfected! Tart Tart Tart

local and virginia products

Just a few of the Virginia products we offer

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This is your one-stop-shop for local Virginia Products.  Including Virginia Diner Peanuts from Southside, Apple Butter from Clarke County, Apple Cider and Applesauce from my cousins in Edinburg, Honey from Berryville, Spice rubs from Toms Brook, Lone Oak Coffee from Winchester, Vinegar Mustard from Winchester, Candy from Chesapeake, Heirloom salt from WVa, and much more.  Gift Baskets and Gift Certificates available too.  All this and Barbecue! Buy t-shirts and hats here