Tennessee’s Top 10 BBQ Havens: A 2024 Guide for the Ultimate Smoky Feast

Tennessee, known for its rich musical heritage and picturesque landscapes, is also a paradise for BBQ lovers. With a variety of styles ranging from East North Carolina to classic Memphis and Texas-inspired flavors, the Volunteer State offers a delectable array of BBQ spots that cater to every palate. Whether you’re a rib enthusiast, pulled pork aficionado, or a brisket connoisseur, here’s your definitive list of the top 10 BBQ joints in Tennessee you absolutely must try in 2024.

1. B.E. Scott’s BBQ, Lexington: This gem offers authentic East North Carolina-style BBQ. Their whole hog hickory-smoked pit barbecue has garnered high praise, including from the legendary Anthony Bourdain.

2. Butchertown Hall, Nashville: Head here for the best ribs in Nashville, serving up Texas-style BBQ with wood-fired premium cuts. The tenderloin back ribs, smoked until tender, are a culinary revelation.

3. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, Nolensville: A Nashville favorite, known for their whole hog BBQ. They have a fresh hog on the pit daily, with their spare ribs and baby back ribs being the highlights.

4. Peg Leg Porker, Nashville: This spot stands out for its world-class BBQ, despite debates over its geographical authenticity. Offering 11 local beers on tap and an extensive bourbon selection, it’s a complete experience.

5. Central BBQ, Memphis: Often rated as the top BBQ spot in Tennessee, they specialize in a variety of pork dishes. Their “dark,” a heavily smoked crust, is a dream for BBQ enthusiasts.

6. Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, Memphis: A Memphis BBQ staple, famous for their charbroiled ribs and brisket. The unique flavor comes from the charcoal chute used in cooking.

7. The Bar-B-Que Shop, Memphis: Known for their Dancing Pigs Bar-B-Q sauces and rubs, they offer smoked sausage, pork shoulder, or beef drenched in their signature sauce.

8. Ridgewood Barbecue, Bluff City: This traditional spot serves BBQ platters, sandwiches, and classic Southern sides. Their award-winning pork and beef, smoked for 8-10 hours in a tomato-based sauce, are a must-try.

9. Cozy Corner, Memphis: Featured in Southern Living and Gourmet magazines, they’re famous for their incredible chicken wings. The sauce-dripping wings and ribs offer a flavor that’s quintessentially Memphis.

10. Payne’s BBQ, Memphis: Known for the best pork shoulder in the city, this family-owned restaurant serves mouthwatering BBQ sandwiches that are delightfully messy.

Honorable Mentions:

Helen’s Bar BQ, Brownsville: Offers rich, flavorful dishes in a no-frills setting. Don’t miss their BBQ sandwich, pork ribs, and pulled pork plates.

Sweet P’s BBQ, Knoxville: Enjoy their slow-smoked BBQ by the riverside. Known for their Tennessee brisket, featured on the Travel Channel’s Man Vs. Food.

Archer’s BBQ, Knoxville: A premier spot in Knoxville since 2010, famous for their potato salad and dry rub ribs.

A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis: Considered one of the best BBQ joints in Memphis, they’re known for their ribs and authentic atmosphere.

So there you have it, BBQ fans! Get your napkins ready and embark on a smoky, savory journey through Tennessee. Each of these spots offers a unique twist on BBQ, making them not just the best in Tennessee, but contenders for the best in the entire South. Whether you’re in Memphis, Nashville, or somewhere in between, these are the places where BBQ dreams come true.

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