This is a question that often gets asked between visitors and locals, but the fact is that it’s a bit off-center in its formation as the Smoky Mountains feature many restaurants that serve exquisite BBQ, in its many local and exotic varieties, and trying to tie one down to “the best” would be doing your tastebuds a disservice.
What we can do is recommend several places in town that are well-known by visitors and locals, have a long and storied reputation in the Smokies, great customer service, and the good stuff as enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of patrons since they’d opened their doors. Each one of these has the potential to become your “best” BBQ place in the Smokies and we recommend trying at least two of them during your next visit.
Take a look:
Bennett’s Pit BBQ
2910 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
714 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
BENNETT’S PIT BBQ serves meals that are moist, tender and packed full of flavor. Our pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork and beef briskets are basted in Bennett’s own special sauce. Then they’re placed over smoldering hickory wood & smoked for up to 14 hours! The heat & sauce penetrate deep into every layer of meat, turning it a perfect pinkish color while enriching every juicy mouthful with rich, smoky flavor. Since everyone likes different amounts of our mouth-waterin’ sauce, we serve it warm on the side so you can pour on as much or as little as you like. After you’ve savored the last bite, we hope you’ll agree that all the work we put into preparing your BBQ was well worth it!
Delauders Smoky Mountain BBQ
1875 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
“Whether you want to step away from the crowds for a bit or you’re just looking for something a little different in the Gatlinburg area, you’re going to want to put Delauder’s Smoky Mountain BBQ at the top of your must-try list. This small spot is just a 10-minute drive from the center of Gatlinburg and mere minutes from Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but it feels like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle. The moment you step inside this restaurant, which is tucked away behind some shops, you’ll feel right at home. Here, you can relax amidst down-home Smokies decor on the walls and pull up a chair next to a family-sized table with a classic red-and-white-checked tablecloth. While you’re sure to love the welcoming atmosphere and smiling staff members, the real focus here is the smoky barbecue. Start salivating with appetizers like nachos or fried green beans, or skip right to the mains.” – smokymountains.com
Bones BBQ Joint
231 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
“Bones BBQ Joint, home of the “best barbeque in town,” claims that the real secret to the delicious meat is all in the process of the cooking. Of course, the sauces, seasonings, and rubs are flavorful, but the real secret is to understand the cooking process. Good seasonings can help even the novice chef or grill master, but seasonings alone aren’t enough to create the fresh, tender, moist, and delicious meat served at Bones BBQ Joint. Our grill masters know the grill inside and out; the process begins with the perfect amount of wood on the fire and just the right temperatures. With current technology, there are efficient methods of cooking barbeque in short amounts of time, but it just doesn’t measure up to the meat at Bones BBQ Joint, where we follow a process that has been developed and perfected through four generations.”
Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
3584 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
“All Corky’s meats are slow cooked over hickory and charcoal. As we say… cookin’ the old fashion way! Each slab of ribs is trimmed to our very tight specifications, and every pork shoulder is hand pulled… no automation. What started in Memphis over 30 years ago has become a Southern favorite. You‘ll swear that Beale Street is just around the corner and that Corky’s is right smack in the middle of Hog Heaven. Right in the heart of East Tennessee!”