Tennessee’s Best BBQ

By  |  12 Comments

Where do you think serves up the best BBQ in Tennessee? Here are a few of our favorite barbecue restaurants in the state:

Larry's Bar-B-Q at the Wagon

Larry’s Bar-B-Q at the Wagon in Decherd: Known for its mustard slaw, this restaurant off of I-24 near Winchester, sandwiched between a Shell station and a strip mall, is a cross between a country barbecue joint and a cozy café.

Helen's BBQ

Helen’s Bar-B-Q in Brownsville: We love the pulled pork, Polish sausage and ribs at this small West Tennessee BBQ joint, but don’t take our word for it. Pitmaster (mistress?) Helen Turner has been crowned the first-ever Queen of Barbecue by the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Martin’s BBQ Joint in Nolensville: Fans of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives will recognize the redneck taco at this rural Williamson County eatery that opened up a location in Nashville in 2014. It’s a cornbread pancake, smothered in pulled pork, slaw and Martin’s sweet barbecue sauce. You can try it with brisket, too.

Ridgewood Barbecue - BBQ Restaurant in Bluff City, TN

Ridgewood BBQ in Bluff City: Foodies come from miles around to enjoy one-of-a-kind barbecue from a family that cares about maintaining the restaurant’s original charm. Ridgewood’s signature BBQ dish is pit-cooked with a heavy-smoked taste, then sliced thin and piled on platters or massive sandwiches with a tangy sauce.

Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q in Mason: Located on Highway 70 between Memphis and Brownsville, Bozo’s is the place to go for tender, juicy ribs on Friday or Saturday nights, with sweet slaw and baked beans on the side.

Big Ed’s BBQ in Red Boiling Springs: Off the beaten path in a sleepy Macon County town, Big Ed’s smokes its pork to perfection. Order the shoulder sandwich, but you should probably ask for your “dip” – hot sauce – on the side.

Is your favorite barbecue restaurant not on the list? Let us know in the comments which BBQ hot spot we should hit up next!

12 Comments

  1. kenneth bland

    January 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Try Shaffers Bar-B-Q, located north of Lawrenceburg on Highway #43.
    Texas style beef at its best outside of Texas. Their sliced beef sandwich
    is all that a person can handle. Try it with their regular Texas style BBQ
    sauce and you will not be disappointed.. Tender, juicy and tasty.

  2. Max

    March 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Give Jack’s Bar B Que a try, Broadway in Nashville. The ribs are awesome!

  3. Jason Lewis

    August 18, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    Folks if you want some lip smacking country style BB-Q I give you 2 choices. For some real old timers bbq with an asian twist, well really the people who cook are at least. James at Excell BBQ located on hwy 12 in Clarksville Tn just outside town in Montgomery Co. Learned his firing skillls from a man by the name of Walter Dyce of the Fredonia Dyce family. And let me tell you the ribs are AWESOME,but bring some wet paper towels to really enjoy them. Freshly cooked on Fri,Sat.Sun,try it.. The next place is a little off the beaten path but don’t worry Mr. Robert’s got signs for those folk who are directionally challenged, anyway he’s in Thomasville Tn,in Cheatham Co. just over the Montgomery Co. line near the Robertson Co. line off Hwy 41-a or get off I-24 At the Maxey Rd. exit and go the gas station and they can tell you the way. They got this dish called the Wease Bowl it’s good ole white beans with BBQ and a good ole fashioned ho cake of cornbread on top, watch out! its good with a little sauce so try these two places you can’t go wrong

  4. Sandra Smith

    August 19, 2011 at 4:45 am

    For some of the best ribs you will ever eat, head to the Cozy Corner in Memphis, home of the world’s best ribs!

  5. IRA V

    August 19, 2011 at 8:07 am

    THE BEST IS IN WHITE BLUFF TN AT THE PERFECT PIG ON HY 70.

  6. Boo

    November 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

    The Firehouse in Johnson City..Best BBQ around….

  7. Melinda

    May 2, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Smokin’ Joes in Maryville, TN is awesome! Love their Sweet & Spicy sauce on a pulled pork sandwich! I’ve been to joints in Memphis and they just can’t compare to Mr. Joe Higgins bbq.

  8. David Felts

    May 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    There’s is a new place in Erin, Tn. called Papa’s. They are located directly across from Erin Elementary School on Hwy 13. Great bar b Q.!!!!

  9. Tommy Staggs

    May 14, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Three BBQ’s come to mind that are not on your list that you should definitely tryout.
    1. http://jacksbarbque.com/ in Nashville, TN
    2. http://baconandcaviar.com/ in Nashville, TN
    3. Shaffer Farms Texas BBQ in Summertown, TN

    • Jessy Yancey

      May 19, 2014 at 1:23 pm

      Hi Tommy,
      Thanks so much for these suggestions! We live in Nashville and can attest that Jack’s and B&C are both top-notch barbecue – and we’re also happy to report that Martin’s just opened up a location here in the city. We’ll have to try Shaffer Farms next time we’re down in the Summertown area. Thanks!

      Jessy Yancey
      editor, Tennessee Home & Farm

  10. Brad M. Kanner

    May 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I have not been to any of the other 4 BBQ’s, but I have been to Ridgewood BBQ and in my opinion it SUCKS!!!!!
    I have owned 2 BBQ restaurants in NC and I can speak with authority that using fresh ham is not what any real BBQ Chef would ever use. There is not enough fat in ham to make the BBQ juicy and flavorful. And that’s what I found out at Ridgewood BBQ. Also there sauce is sweet and fairly thick, I prefer the original type of sauce from Eastern NC which is apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes. As most chef’s know apple cider vinegar add’s to the flavor of Pork, it doesn’t just taste like sweet tomato based sauce.
    I have always cooked either pork shoulder or boston butt’s and I cook then at 225 degrees for 13 to 18 hours and an inside temp of 185 degrees. And I serve my own sweet hushpuppies with lot’s of onion. The only bread I ever used was for sandwitches.
    When NC started growing rice they imported asian’s from the Caribbean by way of Asia and black’s that knew how to plant and prepare rice patties, when they came they brought spices as long as vinegar and red pepper flake’s.

  11. Linda

    August 21, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I am on the road quite often and my favorite food is barbecue. I have tried many different restaurants that serve barbecue. I was raised on pork. My Granny had a smoker. I do my own canning and cook from scratch. I came in 3rd one year in the County for blue ribbons for my canning and baking. Therefore, I expect restaurants to be a little more discriminating with their barbecue when people are paying money to enjoy the taste and flavor of good barbecue. It takes more than one thinks to made a cook barbecue sandwich. Most places use a cheap bun for their sandwiches which by the time they get to the table they are soggy and the sandwich falls apart. It is difficult to find a restaurant that puts time and effort into developing a tasty sauce. This includes all the barbecue places in Crossville, Dunlap, Dayton, Cookeville and some in Nashville. One along a main highway in Crossville has a sauce that is too spicy for those that want a mild sauce and the coleslaw is too wet. When you put coleslaw that has been chopped too fine and is runny on a cheap thin hamburger bun, the sandwich again falls apart by the time it gets to your table. Flavor in the pork is hard to come by. The pork at this restaurant in Crossville tasted as though, it was sitting in water. The pork at Praters on Manchester Hwy near Morrison had more flavor than most. However, they need to do something with the consistency and flavor of the coleslaw and find a new bun to serve with their barbecue. It’s been some time since I was at Martins Barbecue in Nolensville and I will be going again next week. They are at the top of my list. The pork shoulder was flavored to perfection. The Piedmont styled tomato sauce was tasty. My passion for barbecue seems to have put me on a mission to find the best barbecue in TN

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.