Nothing resembles true Southern comfort quite like homestyle barbecue. Whether you prefer your meat slathered in a tomato or vinegar based sauce or a dry rub of specialty spices, the Great Smoky Mountains offer a wide variety of fantastic barbecue eateries! In honor of National BBQ Day on May 16th, we are breaking down our top picks for the best barbecue restaurants in the Smokies!
Dickie’s Barbecue Pit
This fast-casual dining establishment offers authentic Texas-style slow-smoked barbecue. Dickie’s Barbecue Pit values tradition and slow smokes their meats on-site daily as they have since 1941. If you’re looking for a hearty and fast barbecue feast, then Dickie’s is the place for you!
Corky’s Ribs and BBQ
Corky’s Ribs and BBQ brings a Beale Street flare to the Smokies with their Memphis style barbecue. Meats are slow cooked over hickory and charcoal and have quickly gained popularity in the hearts of locals and tourists alike!
Bennett’s Pitt Bar-B-Que
This locally owned and operated establishment has been a staple to the Parkway for over 26 years. Bennett’s smokes all of their meat over smoldering hickory wood for 14 hours after basting it with their special sauce. This Pigeon Forge favorite serves up such mouthwatering dishes that they have been voted best barbecue and best ribs in Pigeon Forge year after year!
In 1983, the founders of Calhoun’s loaded up smokers onto a trailer and headed to Cleveland, Ohio to compete in the National Rib Cook-Off. Calhoun’s took home the grand prize ribbon along with the right to call themselves “Best Ribs in America.” For the following 36 years, they have continued to win local and regional awards for their signature barbecue. No trip to the Smokies would be complete without tasting this ultimate comfort food.
Boss Hogg’s BBQ
This BBQ shack is locally owned and operated and remains a hidden gem in the Smoky Mountains. Tucked away on Wears Valley Road, this eatery is the perfect spot if you’re itching to get away from the tourist-heavy Parkway. Boss Hogg’s specializes in slow-cooked meats and their one-of-a-kind barbecue sauce that brings a unique, sweet, and mustardy flare.
Last, but certainly not least, Delauder’s BBQ has been named best BBQ in Tennessee by Time Magazine, Top 25 BBQ restaurants in the United States by Travel + Leisure, and has received countless other titles and awards. Delauder’s specializes in authentic Eastern Tennessee barbecue. This eatery is a little off the beaten path, but well worth the 10-minute drive outside the heart of Gatlinburg.
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