View Full Version : Road Trip to Tennessee

07-27-2013, 11:44 PM
Just got back from my trip to Tennessee. My brother-in-law, my sister and I decided to take an old fashion road trip with BBQ as an integral part of the trip. We stopped at 11 places. This is a trip report with a some pictures of the places we stopped at and my personal thoughts about each place. Forgive the quality of the pictures as they were taken with my phone.

Day one we we left WI through Chicago on our way to Louiville KY. We hit traffic in Chicago so we pulled off and began our BBQ trip at Smoque.

I got the ribs and brisket. The brisket was quite good, but the texture on the ribs was not perfect. The sides were baked beans, mac and cheese, and coleslaw. All were really good with the beans having a nice smoked flavor and the slaw was fantastic. It had a crisp, light flavor and was possibly my favorite slaw of the trip.

We got to Louisville around 1:30 AM and left for Mammoth Cave early in the morning so we didn't get to try BBQ in Kentucky. We stayed in Nashville and decided to eat downtown, but since the BBQ joints were packed we opted for non-BBQ.

The next day we headed down to Chattanooga, but based on recommendations from BBQ Brethren we had to stop and Martin's. This was my favorite place overall. Between the three of us we had the sausage, ribs, turkey, pork, and brisket. All were fantastic. Best brisket I had on the trip and ribs were in the top three. The beans were also my favorite.

While in Chattanooga we tried to stop at Hill Billy Willy's, but they were closed since it was a Sunday. We ended up stopping at Shuford's Smokehouse.

The food was really good. The pork was flavorful and not too mushy. My ribs were pretty good though a touch overcooked. The chicken was great and was fresh off the smoker. The sides were good, but nothing standout. The sausage had a smoke flavor, but tasted like bologna to me. The interesting thing about this place is that they didn't serve brisket. Their beef was bottom round, and though it was different than brisket is was still good.

After two nights in Chattanooga we headed toward Memphis through Alabama. After hitting the Space and Rocket Museum we stopped at Big Bob Gibson's BBQ. This place was my least favorite BBQ restaurant. That's not to say I didn't like the food, but there it was inconsistent between our plates. We all got the chicken, but one was juicy and another was dry. My pork was a touch dry, but the brisket was pretty good. One person in our group didn't care for the slaw.

I forgot to get a picture of the outside, but here is my plate.

We got to Memphis later in the afternoon and the following morning we headed to the National Bird Dog Museum. Field trialing is a big pastime for me so I wanted to post a picture of a statue out front. I'm a setter guy so this year has been a big year for us setter guys!
Setter's Rule.

To be continued.

07-28-2013, 12:15 AM
Thanks for that great post! :clap2:

Looking forward to the rest!

07-28-2013, 12:29 AM
Glad Martin's turned out so well.

I stumbled onto a good BBQ joint at the base of the Lookout Mountain access road in Chatanooga in case you have the occasion to be back in that area. It is called Purple Daisy Picnic Cafe. Odd name but very good BBQ.

Thanks for your post.

07-28-2013, 12:41 AM
After the National Bird Dog Museum we took a BBQ Tour in Memphis with Tastin' Round Town. On the tour we sampled six different restaurants and below are the six. I would highly recommend this tour. Not only did we get to taste a lot of BBQ we also got to hear the history of Memphis and a lot of other interesting information.

Blues City BBQ.
We sampled the ribs, baked beans and coleslaw. All were very good. I believe they left the silver skin on the ribs. I forgot to take a picture of the plates, but here are the bones :razz:

Pig BBQ.
We had the pork. According to our tour guide this place cooks hot and fast and focuses on the pork flavor. This was probably the best pork I had all week.
I wish I had a better picture because the color on the bark was great.

Here we got brisket. It was flavorful, but not my favorite of the trip. However when I added their sauce it seemed to kick up the flavor profile.

The fourth place was Central BBQ.
Here we sampled the BBQ nachos and ribs. The nachos were fantastic and the ribs were the best ribs I've ever had. Our guide described how they smoke the ribs and I doubt I'd have the skill to do that without having to practice for a long time.

On to Double J for the fifth stop.
The ribs were very different from Central BBQ's. They were much darker and had a stronger smoke flavor. While I preferred Central's ribs these were still really good. The smoked asparagus was awesome. Unfortunately my pictures didn't turn out at all so I can't show a good picture.

The sixth and last stop was the Bar B Q Shop.
Here we tried the BBQ Spaghetti. I saw a lot of people in the restaurant with this on their plates, but I didn't really care for it. It was too sweet for my tastes.

The following day we decided to do a combination dinner and eat at the condo. We heard a whole lot about Gus's fried chicken so we decided we wanted to give that a try. However we also decided that one rib from Central was not enough so we got ribs, pork, brisket and several sides. Overall this may have been my favorite meal. The chicken was the best fried chicken I've ever had and the pretty much everything from Central was great.

The last BBQ place we tried was Memphis BBQ Company. It was fitting way finish.
This place was different than any other place we visited. It was bigger and we had our waitress take our order. Between the three of us we sampled brisket, pork, turkey, baby back ribs, and St. Louis ribs as well as several sides. The rub on the ribs was my favorite of the trip.

We had other food such as Peruvian in St. Louis and smoked chicken wings (non-bbq joint), but that's not what this trip was really about. It was about sampling a lot of BBQ and we did that. We went past other BBQ joints, but didn't have time or the appetite to sample them all. I guess they'll have to wait until my next trip.

07-28-2013, 01:02 AM
I've been to Central a couple times as well as Gus'. Really great places! I'll have to check those other ones out - thanks for putting this up! :thumb:

07-28-2013, 05:45 AM
Thanks for posting. Looks like a great trip!

07-28-2013, 07:54 AM
Great post.

07-28-2013, 12:54 PM
Thanks for the tour ! I'm a fan of Memphis BBQ Co. myself and anyone coming through the area should make the short drive to Horn Lake and try the "Bonafide" barbecue. Last time i was there i bought a bottle of their dry rub and used some on a boston butt that turned out great. I believe it cost about $6.95 a bottle at the restaurant.

07-28-2013, 01:05 PM
Nice to hear about Double J Smokehouse. They've only been open for about a year and a half and I haven't been. I think they started out as Comp guys and then got into catering.

08-04-2013, 08:27 PM
I was the brother in law on the trip. We had some amazing BBQ across are whole trip but Martins took the cake. Everything Martins put out was perfect for myself and my wife. Memphis Barbeque Co was a close second however.

Central BBq had the best ribs by far and I could eat their BBQ nachos every single day - they were awesome.

PIG on Beasle street had amazing pulled pork and great sauce.

The chopped brisket at A&R was unique in that it was chopped and cooked over charcoal. The sauce they have perfectly complements the meat.

There were a lot of other great places also. I need to get my pictured uploaded and post some here. How anyone in Memphis doesn't eat at Gus's every single week I don't know - I've never had fried chicken that good.

08-04-2013, 09:00 PM
Nice reportage, and a nice trip

08-04-2013, 10:10 PM
Did you guys get the fried green tomatoes at Gus'? Fanfarkingtastic stuff!

08-05-2013, 08:48 PM
Did you guys get the fried green tomatoes at Gus'? Fanfarkingtastic stuff!

That's the one rergret my wife has. She forgot to order ther fried green tomatoes when she went and got our take out.

Bob in St. Louis
08-08-2013, 10:57 AM
The next day we headed down to Chattanooga, but based on recommendations from BBQ Brethren we had to stop and Martin's. This was my favorite place overall. Between the three of us we had the sausage, ribs, turkey, pork, and brisket. All were fantastic. Best brisket I had on the trip and ribs were in the top three. The beans were also my favorite..
I'll second this recommendation. Although the restaurant is just south of Nashville. Most highly recommended. I've got pics but havne't uploaded them yet. I did leave a bit hungry, but I do eat more than I should. haha