The Best 10 BBQ Places in Tennessee

Barbecue is a Tennessee special. With more signature sauces than the stars, Tennessians know a thing or two about smoky meats. Here are the best bbq joints in the TN.

(c) Sean Davis/Flickr

Central BBQ

Central BBQ in Memphis is an award-winning, multiple-venue restaurant. All the meat is slow smoked after being rubbed with their trademark spice rub and marinated for 24 hours to give the meat flavor. Then the ribs, chicken, pork, brisket, and sausages are smoked in the pit over hickory and pecan woods and served up with onion rings, fries and potato salad to suit your tastes.

Central BBQ, 2249 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 767 9377

Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que

The Hickory Pit is all about quality food in a no-frills setting in Chattanooga. It’s the food that’s the star, with only 20 patrons able to sit down and eat at any one time. The food is regarded by many as some of the best BBQ in the USA; owner Mike Ford cooks his pork for 14 hours and his ribs for five to six over hickory wood after an application of dry rub. You can choose from plates of chopped pork and beef or chicken, sandwiches, and baked potatoes stuffed with delicious smoky meat.

Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, 5611 Ringgold Road, Chattanooga, TN, USA, +1 423 894 1217

Jack’s Creek Bar-B-Que | © Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr

Jack’s Creek Bar-B-Que

Jack’s Creek is a family-owned and run setup that still uses the recipes of 50 years ago. This is barbecue the way it used to be — the building has remained the same for those 50 years too. You can pick up ribs, bologna, chicken wings and whole chickens and nachos with sides of slaw, beans and chips.More Info

Double J Smokehouse

Double J Smokehouse is famous for ribs and live music. There are now two locations, one at West Memphis and the other in Downtown. Ribs, steaks, ‘gator tails, burgers — all are on the menu, with the rib racks, slow smoked over pecan wood being particularly highly rated. Or, mix it up a bit and have a BBQ baked potato packed with cheese, smoked pork, onions and sour cream.

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, 124 Patterson Avenue, TN, USA, +1 901 347 2648

A and R Bar-B-Que | © Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr

A and R Bar-B-Que

A and R Bar-B-Que serves pork rib sandwiches, chopped beef plates, BBQ spaghetti, slow-smoked turkey, brisket plates and hickory-smoked chicken wings served up with beans, slaw, onion rings and potato salad.

A and R Bar-B-Que, 3721 Hickory Hill Road, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 365 9777

Peg Leg Porker

Peg Leg Porker is an award-winning, family-run restaurant which has been cooking smoked pork for generations.

Peg Leg Porker, 903 Gleaves Street, Nashville, TN, USA, +1 615 829 6023

Payne’s Bar-B-Q

Famous for serving up one of the best barbecue pork sandwiches in the country and famous too for the unpretentious appearance of the place, Payne’s Bar-B-Q in Memphis has been described as barbecue perfection. You can enjoy smoked sausage, ribs, bologna and, of course, the slow-smoked pork shoulder sandwich, with pulled, chopped or sliced pork made to your tastes.

Payne’s, 1762 Lamar Avenue, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 272 1523

Edley’s Bar-B-Que

Edley’s claims to be a tribute to all things Southern. So along with the barbecue, the menu operates on the old meat and three system. All of the barbecue is slowly smoked over white oak wood — choose from pork, turkey, chicken, brisket, rib racks with sides of fried okra, fries, or BBQ quesadilla.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que, 2706 12th Avenue, Nashville, TN, USA, +1 615 953 2951

Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que | © Krista/Flickr

Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue

The Neely family are legends on the BBQ scene in Tennessee. The patriarch is Jim Neely who set up the Interstate Barbecue in a converted store in Memphis in 1979. Ever since the Interstate Barbecue opened, it’s been gaining plaudits and picking up awards. Make sure you try the pork and beef ribs, and try out the foot-long hot dog, which gets a great write-up by Serious Eats here.More Info

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous

This Downtown Memphis BBQ joint has become an institution. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Prince Albert of Monaco and the Rolling Stones are among the famous names to have sampled the food at Rendezvous over the years. Rendezvous remains one of the best places around for BBQ ribs and pork shoulder.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, 52 South 2nd Street, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 523 2746

All credit for this list goes to Culture Trip.

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