The Meaty Story Behind JT Wilder BBQ

JT Wilder
An unassuming BBQ stand in Devon serves some of the best smoked meat on the Main Line.

By Maura Boughter-Dornfeld, food editor

Know the BBQ stand in the gas station across from the Devon Whole Foods? Yep, that one. Have you driven by and wondered exactly what it’s all about it? Same. So we paid a visit to JT Wilder BBQ. Turns out, it serves some of the best smoked meat on the Main Line.

Jason Wilder is the owner and founder of JT Wilder BBQ, which has been open for just over two years. JT Wilder is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., during which time Wilder, his partner Lisa Costa Urie and their crew serve brisket, pork, sausage, St. Louis style ribs, and chicken – whole, by the pound, chopped and in sandwiches.

Smoked mac-and-cheese, smoked beans, coleslaw and corn muffins are just a few of the sides. Don’t know where to start? Try the sampler plate, which includes two meats and one side, or three meats. Roll up to JT Wilder to see what’s smoking, or order in advance via ToastTab.

If you haven’t driven down Rte. 30 and seen the BBQ stand in the Ed Forde gas station, you may have seen JT Wilder at the 2022 Devon Fall Classic. Then again, you may have gotten there too late. The smoke show was such a huge hit that Wilder sold out of almost everything he cooked.  

JT Wilder

So who is Jason Wilder? A Chesterbrook resident and finance pro with over 24 years in the field, Wilder was let go from his job as a result of COVID-related cuts. That came as a shock, to say the least. He turned to the ever-exhausting job market in the early COVID days of 2020. After many a job application and subsequent interviews, Wilder found himself struggling to raise kiddos while the world was flipped upside down – and without significant income to support his family.

While working his tail off to find a new job, Wilder had loved ones constantly chiming in with ideas (helpful and kind, but often not turning into much). Then, one day, a pal came up with the idea of barbequing. Urie, his ever-wonderful partner, fit in perfectly as the person to forge ahead with and start this new, unknown venture. Except, Urie’s business acumen does not come from the food business. Her years of experience are in mechanical engineering.

JT Wilder

And yet … it works. Meeting Wilder and Urie is awesome. You can see how much they love and care about what they do. The two complement one another perfectly, navigating their outdoor kitchen and unusual set up with ease. In the 20 minutes of chilly banter we exchanged, every few minutes was interrupted by another faithful, returning customer with a big smile and recitation of their usual, favorite order.

You know that we love to support what we lovingly deem “the underdogs” – those who have unique stories, interesting spins on items that have become commonplace, and spots that we think simply do not get recognition (or as much as they should) where it’s due. Well, JT Wilder fits this bill and some. There is a lot coming up in the future for this duo. Jason, Lisa and their smokers have a second physical location up their sleeves and ready to go as soon as they are able.

For now, get yourself over to Berwyn on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday afternoon. You’ll love JT Wilder. The love and passion in the food is palpable. File this as a must try; truly worth a trip. We highly suggest bringing back enough for everyone in your crew – and seconds for you, too.

JT Wilder BBQ, 790 Lancaster Ave Berwyn, PA

Want more stories about great food in our area? Read about Taku Japanese Steakhouse in King of Prussia, Autana in Ardmore, and the Insider’s Guide To Manayunk.

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