The 10 Best BBQ Joints in Tennessee!

When it comes to mouth-watering barbecue, the South reigns supreme. When you think of this Southern comfort-style of food prep, it’s hard to look past Tennessee. At all of these locations you can be sure to find pork, chicken, and brisket slow-cooked to perfection with a combination of authentic Tennessee rubs and spices. Add to that a couple of classic barbecue sides such as creamy mac and cheese or baked barbecue beans and you will surely understand why when it comes to smoked meats, Tennessee can’t be beat. 

1. Peg Leg Porker, Nashville, TN

Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, this real Tennessee barbecue specializes in dry rub pork and chicken (sorry brisket lovers). Their authentic sauce has a sweet, yet slight smoky taste to it and pairs great with their slide-off-the bone ribs and tender pork platter. The sides complete any meal as you can expect to find that same great smoky flavor in their green beans and barbecue baked beans and the mac and cheese is the perfect combination of creamy, savory cheeses. If you’re looking for local, authentic Tennessee barbecue look no further. 

2. Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, Memphis, TN

It is well documented that Memphis barbecue has a tradition that dates back to the early developments stages of barbecuing. Rendezvous is one Memphis joint that embodies this sacred tradition. Started in an alley basement in downtown Memphis by Mr. Charlie Vergos in 1948, this barbecue joint offers a variety of meats including sausage, ham, and salami in addition to typical BBQ meats like pork and chicken. One item in particular off the “first thing” menu is a combination of sausage, ham, salami, cheese, pickles and peppers known as the Rendezvous special which is perfect for anyone wanting to get a taste of several different meats. 

3. Tennessee Barbeque, Livingston, TN

This local family-owned restaurant would fall under the category of delicious hole-in-the wall barbecue. On the menu, you will find a wide variety of foods from sandwiches and salads to their Tennessee smothered baked potato topped with pork, beef or turkey, cheese, butter, sour cream, and barbecue sauce. 

4. Jack’s Bar-B-Que, Nashville, TN

This cafeteria-style barbecue joint serves smoked brisket, pork, turkey and ribs in addition to classic country sides. The original location opened off Broadway in 1989 and quickly the word got around about the hickory smoked flavor of their food. Now with three locations throughout Nashville its no surprise that Jack’s has created quite the loyal following of barbecue enthusiasts.

5. Payne’s Bar-B-Que, Memphis, TN

This small, simple barbecue joint upholds the tradition of mouthwatering Memphis barbecue—serving chopped and pulled pork sandwiches and smoked sausage. The menu may be limited but that doesn’t take away from the savory flavors of their meats!

6. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Nashville, TN

If you’re the type of person who loves barbecue chicken wings, this is the spot to go! Martin’s is one of those restaurants that is always busy, so you know it’s a good one. The masters behind the food here take pride in their roots, and that reflects strongly in the way they prepare these delicious, savory meats. 

7. Central BBQ, Memphis, TN

This Memphis barbecue joint serves a wide variety of meats including ribs, pork, chicken, turkey, beef brisket, sausage and bologna. It’s safe to say that if you’re not sure what kind of meat you are in the mood for, this is the place for you to go. Their secret combination of dry spices in addition to the pecan and hickory wood they are smoked with make bring out an authentic Memphis taste in their meat. 

8. Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Nashville, TN

Located in the 12th south neighborhood of Nashville, this barbecue joint serves smoky style brisket, pork, seafood and chicken with a modern, urban restaurant atmosphere. Try the hot chicken sandwich, a Nashville classic and you’ll swear by your dining experience. Just make sure you have a tall glass of water handy.

9. Dead End BBQ, Knoxville, TN

This East Tennessee barbecue joint serves delicious apps and specialty sandwiches with your choice of meats including chicken, sausage, beef, beef brisket, and bologna. One of the burgers you can order is called the Rebel Yell barbecue burger, a juicy grilled burger topped with their signature dead end red sauce, which is a staple of many of their specialty sandwiches.

10. Ridgewood Barbecue, Bluff City, TN

This small barbecue joint in Bluff City specializes in barbecue style steak. Another barbecue joint with a limited menu but that’s because they do one thing very well and that’s create delicious smoky steak. You can get sirloin, Virginia ham, ribeye or hamburger steak. Perfect for any steak lover!

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