Martin's Bar-B-Que in Nashville TN
Photo Credit: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint

Made in Tennessee Bucket List Barbecue Spots

TripAdvisor named Tennessee the No. 1 state for barbecue in 2015; and for good cause.

Tennessee is nationally renowned for its barbecue. The state is home to mouthwatering brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs and melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork. Hungry yet? Read further for your Tennessee barbecue check list. How many have you visited?

Rendezvous – Memphis

The famous Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous is one of the first stops you'll want to make when you arrive in Memphis. The iconic ribs are the star of the show, but you can also order pork shoulder sandwiches, lamb riblets, beef brisket and charcoal-broiled half chicken. Pair your ribs with slaw, potato salad or beans. It's a Made in Tennessee taste of heaven.

Helen's Bar-B-Q – Brownsville

Follow the woody smoke to rural West Tennessee where you'll find Helen Turner laboring over juicy pork shoulder. She holds her own as one of the nation's few female pit cooks. See the process then taste the product with a succulent pork sandwich or ribs that will make you want to lick the plate clean.

KC Finn's Burgers & BBQ - Jackson

Wood-fired barbecue and juicy, old-fashioned burgers can be found at family-woned KC Finn's Burgers & BBQ in Jackson. If you're feeling extra hungry, take on the KC Finn's Burger Food Challenge - 4 pounds of beef burger meat stacked on a 5-inch bun, 16 slices of American cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, 1 pound of fries and a 20-ounce drink to be finished in 30 minutes or less. If you finish it, you receive the free meal, free t-shirt and get your picture on the Wall of Fame.

Martin's Bar-B-Q Joint – Nolensville

Each day begins at 5 a.m. when the low ‘n slow, live-fire, whole-hog barbecue and sides are prepared from scratch at Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint. Order the Redneck Taco (pork, brisket, sausage, chicken, turkey or catfish on top of a cornbread hoe-cake with slaw and sauce) or a huge plate of barbecue with two sides, or the Big Momma Sampler (4 ribs, ¼ lb. of pork, ¼ of brisket and two sides). Be sure to visit all locations.

Peg Leg Porker – Nashville

The single-legged man behind the brand, pitmaster Carey Bringle brings legendary barbecue lineage to the table at Peg Leg Porker. From barbecue nachos to the Yard Bird Platter (half a chicken with two sides), you'll walk away from this establishment full of ‘que and planning your return.

Sweet P's BBQ & Soul House - Knoxville

Barbecue burritos, nachos, smoked meatloaf, pork sandwiches, ribs, pulled chicken, beef brisket and more can be found at Sweet P's BBQ & Soul House in downtown Knoxville. Fresh salads that can have smoked chicken, turkey or brisket added, homemade desserts like banana pudding and chocolate chess pie and sides like sauteed greens, green beans, potato salad, pinto beans and mac n' cheese are not to be missed. Enjoy your meal in the cozy restaurant or soak in the sunshine in the beer garden.

The Firehouse – Johnson City

Sink your teeth into barbecue that has been hickory smoked for 16 hours at The Firehouse Restaurant. Packed full of flavor, you can't go wrong ordering the pulled pork or chicken, smoked beef brisket and tender baby-back ribs basted with The Firehouse Original Sauce. 

Sticky Fingers - Chattanooga

Photo Credit: @stickyfingers_ribhouse

Some of the best barbecue in the Southeast can be enjoyed at Sticky Fingers in Chattanooga. The award-winning ribs are not to be missed - hickory smoked for hours until the meat falls off the bone. You can also savor brisket, brisket burnt ends, pulled pork, smoked chicken and brisket mac n' cheese. Fill your plate with baked beans, loaded baked potatoes, coleslaw, fried corn and sweet potato casserole. 

Visit Loudon County's BBQ Trail Challenge

Photo Credit: Visit Loudon County

Take Visit Loudon County's BBQ Trail Challenge to visit four barbecue stops: Smokin'F BBQ & Barn in Philadelphia, TN; Taste O Texas and Sons of Smoke in Loudon; and Calhoun's in Lenoir City. At each pit stop, you can taste mouth-watering pulled pork, fall-off-the-bone ribs, brisket and more. Collect a button from each restaurant, save your receipts and send through the online submission form to get your commemorative BBQ Trail Challenge t-shirt. Share your favorite barbecue plates with #GoLocoBBQtrail.

Discover even more tasty barbecue places in Tennessee.

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