View Full Version : Recommendations for BBQ in Tennessee (not Memphis)

Bob in St. Louis
06-16-2013, 08:21 PM
Hey all,
I'm not seeing much in the way of recommendations for Tennessee, other than Memphis.

This summer, the family will take a driving vacation to Sevierville Tenn. from St. Louis.

We'll be traveling through Nashville and Knoxville and I'm looking for recommendations. Not sure the exact route we'll be taking, not that there are many option mind you, but I'm very willing to alter the route based on Brethren suggestions on where to find good food on the way.

Extra points for finding a place in the town of Sevierville, since that's where we'll be calling "home base" for several days.

Thanks in advance fellas. :-D

06-22-2013, 12:07 PM
If you're on Interstate 40 try Scotts BBQ ,10880 Highway 412 W, Lexington, TN. It's widely considered as the whole hog mecca. You can get it mixed or ask for whatever part of the hog you want and if they're out of it they will tell you.

06-22-2013, 12:49 PM
About 40 minutes or less South of Nashville is Martin's BBQ Joint. Highly recommended.


Bob in St. Louis
06-22-2013, 01:25 PM
Cool, thanks for the replies fellas. After six days and only 18 views, I was worried this thread was hiding in the dead zone.

I'll check out their websites.
I quickly skimmed the "Scotts BBQ" site and they say that they get their pigs from a fella 10 miles away and he feeds the hogs what Scott tells him to.
That's impressive.

06-22-2013, 02:12 PM
I quickly skimmed the "Scotts BBQ" site and they say that they get their pigs from a fella 10 miles away and he feeds the hogs what Scott tells him to.
That's impressive. Here are a couple of pics from Scott's. The cooking pic is pitmaster Rickey Parker and his son Zach.
Here is part of a conversation between Rien Fertel of the Southern Foodway Alliance and Rickey Parker the pitmaster at Scott's.

RP:There’s a piece of meat up under the tenderloin. It’s—it’s about six inches long and about
three inches wide. It is the most tender(est) part of the hog. There’s enough in the hog for two
sandwiches; that’s it.

RF: And what is that—that’s called the catfish?

RP: That’s what—that’s what I named it ‘cause it’s shaped like a catfish.

RF: Like a fillet of a catfish?

RP: Uh-huh.

RF: And what color is it?

RP: It’s—it’s a white—it’s an off white color and it just absolutely will melt in your mouth.

RF: Hmm; do people fight over that piece of meat? [Laughs]

RP: They ask for it. I mean you know if I got it, I got it; I ain't, I ain't. They’ll come in and they
look at me Ricky; you got anything today? I ain't got it; oh just fix me a sandwich; yeah.

06-22-2013, 02:32 PM
I got some good stuff at a place called "Pup's Pit" in Knoxville a while back - it's a little bit off the track though - but not too far from where I wrecked both the family cars within a period of 3 days as a young 'un. :tsk:.

There's a chain in Knoxville called "Buddy's BBQ" which I really enjoyed growing up, but that was before I was cooking my own stuff and had done a lot of exploring. I wasn't very impressed last time I had it but if you gotta grab something quick it beats other fast food choices.

Do not go to the Corky's by Dollywood. :puke:

There are a couple locations in Knoxville of a place called "Smokey Mountain Market", or actually I think it's called "Rocky Top" now - the chicken with cheese is fanfarkingtastic - just a fried chicken sammich and glorious - at least it was years ago - it's been a while for me.

There's a place called "Ott's BBQ" in west Knoxville - haven't been there since I was very young - have no idea how it is these days but may be worth checking out.

"Calhoun's" is one of those bland chain type of deals - a popular place, but probably not for those of us who make our own BBQ. The onion loaf is kinda great though and the atmosphere at the ones at Loudon Lake and on the Tennessee River are really nice (as in fun, not formal). I worked at the one on the river in a previous century.

If you like gut bomb burgers - and I do - there's always Krystal's.

Apparently a couple of comp guys opened a place called "Dead End BBQ" in Knoxville - I have never been there and know nothing about it but would like to check it out sometime.

Enjoy your stay in East Tennessee - farking great place IMO!

06-22-2013, 03:29 PM
Do not go to the Corky's by Dollywood. :puke:

If you like gut bomb burgers - and I do - there's always Krystal's.

Don't go to Corky's period. Anywhere.

Even better than Krystal is the Blue Circle in Bristol TN, just Northeast of Knoxpatch. Well, OK, if you consider 100 miles or so "Just Northeast"...
Anyway, Bristol is pretty too. We used to have Blue Circle in Decatur, but Krystal moved in and took over that joint and was never as good.

Now, AVOID NEELY'S AT ALL COSTS!!! Unless you want to eat this, or something like it:



My review from a couple years ago:

OK then. Where was I? Ah. Neely's.

Yes. THOSE Neely's. The TV Neely's. Seems they're all the rave and such. I went there Tuesday night around 7 and besides the one guy waiting for his take out order I was the only one there. That told me something. One other person came in after me. So. Since they've got a rib rivalry going on in the family in Memphis, I thought I'd try their "specialty" ribs.

Menu above.

I could not smell any evidence of smoke, but I could smell smoked pork. I ordered a half rack with fries and bbq beans to go. I get back to the hotel and realized I forgot to specify sauce on the side so they were slathered, rinsed and repeated.

I take a bite and...



Wait for it...

It wouldn't have mattered about the sauce. There was absolutely no smoke taste, the texture was mealy, there was waaaaay too much chili powder in the rub and it and the nondescript sauce completely covered any other flavor that may have been there. I've had better ribs out of a crock pot.

The beans were just as bad. But...the fries didn't suck. The "fresh" bread was just a piece of Texas Toast stale'd up in a toaster. I wound up just throwing three of the six ribs away.

Michele told her supervisor about my opinion and she apparently agreed as she kept saying "Thank you!" and raising that hand high as she went into detail of my criticisms.

Disclaimer. I've never been to Neely's in Memphis and this may just be a bad store but...If in Nashville, avoid this one.

06-22-2013, 03:37 PM
Disclaimer. I've never been to Neely's in Memphis and this may just be a bad store but...If in Nashville, avoid this one. I've been to Neely's Interstate Barbecue in Memphis and was not impressed with their ribs at all. I've never been to Pat and Gina Neely's restaurant but i suspect that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Bob in St. Louis
06-22-2013, 03:45 PM
Nice. I'm loving the recommendations, please keep 'em coming.

So here's the score sheet:

Brethren Approved:
- Blue Circle in Bristol (WAY out of the way though)
- Scotts BBQ in Lexington (a bit out of the way)
- Martin's BBQ
- Pup's Pit in Knoxville

In a pinch:
- Buddy's BBQ in Knoxville
- Smokey Mountain Market, or Rocky Top in Knoxville (not BBQ??)
- Ott's BBQ in west Knoxville
- Dead End BBQ in Knoxville - "unknown"

Death Awaits:
- Neely's
- Corky's

06-22-2013, 04:04 PM
Just saw that Ricky Parker passed away in April. I don't know if Scott's is still open. If it is Ricky's son will run it the way he did. If you decide to try it call ahead to make sure.

Bob in St. Louis
06-22-2013, 04:08 PM
Good advice. Thanks for the posts Johnny, very much appreciated.

06-23-2013, 02:20 AM
When in the Gatlinburg/ Pigeon Forge area, we have had bbq at Bennett's Pit BBQ several times and it was pretty good. This was several years ago and was also before we became bbq addicts, but I would go there again when in the area.

06-23-2013, 03:02 AM
Nashville..downtown, along all the bars, clubs and stores. "Jack's"

Probably not the best you'll ever have, but good, and worth seeing. Plus it's in a great part of town. Lots of fun and things to do.

06-23-2013, 06:54 AM
Edley's (http://edleysbbq.com/category/press/)in the SoBro district of Nashville is getting a lot of buzz. I haven't been so I can't personally attest to it.

07-11-2013, 02:00 PM
I agree about that place. We went to the one in Memphis and it was horrible. We had eaten dinner at BB King's the night before and it was very good. Neeley's was the complete opposite of that.


Bob in St. Louis
07-31-2013, 09:03 AM
Good info guys, thank you all for that. Our original plan was to stop at one or two of these places on the way in. We missed that, so will be stopping at some of them on the way out. "Martin's" gook like a strong contender.

We have found ourselves here in Gatlinburg, Pidgeon Forge, Sevierville area and are looking for recommendations. I see one for 'Bennetts', although not a strong recommendation.
Anything else?

07-31-2013, 12:50 PM
I know I sound like a broken record but if you have two meals in Nashville make one of them lunch at Arnold's Country Cooking on 8th ave. It is (and this is not hyperbole) a world class meat and three.

Bob in St. Louis
07-31-2013, 05:02 PM
We ate at Bennett's today. My family and I would give this a strong recommendation. My burnt ends where a bit too burnt and a bit too small, but other than that, the brisket, pulled pork, and chicken are very good. The cornbread was very good, but you only get one little muffin as a side. That's pretty stingy if you ask me.

Here's a few pics:


My burnt ends;

My wifes brisket;

The combo/sampler platter my son had;

I'll spare you a pic if the mac and cheese plate with a side of fries my daughter ate. :crazy:


07-31-2013, 10:26 PM
great pics bro