For a centuries-old cuisine, barbecue certainly won’t lose popularity anytime soon. It’s all thanks to the heavenly flavors of tender pork melting off the bone from its own juices, dry rubs or tomato-vinegar sauces perfected over generations, and crispy brisket ends infused with the aromatics of hickory wood. Though smoking pork, beef or chicken over a coal or wood fire for hours is a common meat cooking method used worldwide, East Tennessee has accomplished a genuine mastery of the art. Let’s go smokehouse-hopping to sample all of the best BBQ in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and beyond!
Since 1972, Buddy’s Bar-B-Q has been welcoming guests as though they were family. Try one of their combo platters for some of the juiciest hickory-smoked pork, turkey, beef, ham and chicken. Even their jumbo all-meat hot dogs and chicken wings are smoked to perfection and served with their famous chili, mustard and onions.
One of the best ways to enjoy Buddy’s Bar-B-Q is to come on a Saturday for all-you-can-eat ribs. Or, call in a 5- or 10-person Family Pack of barbecued pork, coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad and more for a delicious picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains. No matter if you’re dining out or taking a to-go order, stepping through the doors of this Sevierville barbecue restaurant feels like coming home to the savory smells and good-naturedness of Southern tradition.
Boss Hogg’s Bar B Que has been one of the best BBQ restaurants in Pigeon Forge for over 35 years. With two locations on the Parkway or Wears Valley Road, it’ll only be a few minutes’ drive to glory, no matter what side of town you’ll be staying. Dine in at their outdoor patio and enjoy the fresh mountain air perfumed with barbecue smoke, or grab your meals to-go for a relaxing repast at your hotel or on the trails.
This locally-owned barbecue joint is a testament to the fact that it really should be all about the meat. Their no-frills menu consists of meat-only plates by the pound, lunchtime sandwiches, dinnertime plates, and a selection of classic Southern sides such as mashed potatoes, green beans, baked beans and coleslaw. Their hand-pulled pork shoulder, smoked brisket, slow-cooked seasoned ribs, and sweet barbecue chicken are all equally tempting, made even more devilishly rich with an extra pint of BBQ sauce on the side!
Right off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Wood Grill Buffet serves up a hot buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No matter the time of day, you’ll find thick and juicy cuts of all kinds of meats still sizzling from the 4,000-pound smoker. Their specialties are hickory wood-grilled steaks that ooze bloody juices from a beautifully marbled interior and oak-smoked pork ribs that slide right off the bone. Plus, the hand-carved ham, rotisserie chicken, tilapia and shrimp will call you back for seconds.
Among these meat-lovers’ classics are also various entrées of Asian, Italian, Southwestern and American cuisine. Dishes of tacos, pizza, burgers, veggies, and desserts like soft-serve ice cream, cakes and cookies will have you licking your fingers for more. Wood Grill Buffet is a fantastic dining option for large groups with diverse tastes or a shared adoration of tender, slow-cooked meats.
At Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, pulled pork, brisket, chicken and ribs are smoked fresh every day. Originally from Memphis, their 30-year veteran pitmasters use hickory and coal to infuse their meats with divine flavors and textures. Their regular, large and full racks of ribs are smoked three ways: doused in an original wet sauce, marinated in a traditional Memphis dry rub, or “muddy,” which is a combination of the two.
You may have trouble deciding between an entire half a chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, and smoked sausage or turkey. Thankfully, if you can’t choose, you might as well go all-out with a Smokehouse Feast. This gigantic platter comes with a full rack of ribs, pulled pork, two half-chickens, and numerous sides to feed six people. Corky’s Ribs & BBQ is undoubtedly the place to go in Pigeon Forge for pork ribs in a classic Tennessean style!
After about thirty years perfecting their meat smoking methods, Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que earned the well-deserved accolade of 1st Place for “Best Barbecue in Pigeon Forge” in 2020. Their pulled pork, chicken, and brisket are smoked over hickory for 14 hours and then served with a side of Bennett’s original barbecue sauce.
Sink your teeth into a full- or half-rack of baby back ribs that have been smoked for up to 6 hours, or cut to the best parts with a lunch platter of charred burnt ends. Try any of their meats in a platter alongside green beans, potato salad, spicy mac & cheese, and more. Or put your meat of choice in a sandwich or burger with coleslaw in bona fide Tennessee fashion. Go big or go home with a sampler platter replete with pulled pork, beef brisket, hog leg, baby back ribs and chicken. The mouth-watering essence of smoke and char swimming in fatty juices is going to make you wish you had Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que in your hometown!
If you’re looking for a quick bite that doesn’t skimp on deliciousness, check out one of the most unique eateries in Gatlinburg, Hot Diggity Dawg. As the name suggests, this family-owned hole-in-the-wall café specializes in old-fashioned hot dogs of all kinds: whether coated with corn batter or garnished with your choice of 13 different toppings. Unlike the questionable wieners you might get at the grocery store, Hot Diggity Dawg’s are fresh and homemade with 100% pure beef, turkey or Polish sausage.
Aside from the dogs, they also serve a mean BBQ pulled pork sandwich based on the authentic Mississippi style. Their flavorful street tacos come with fajita chicken and smoked gouda, and you can get nacho chips loaded with pulled pork or queso. Follow it all up with a decadent dessert, like german chocolate cake, coconut cake, or Philly-style cheesecake, and you’ll be well on your way to food-baby heaven!
A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains would be incomplete without a savory dinner of pulled pork, ribs, brisket and hot chicken wings. When food can taste so intoxicatingly good, it’s no wonder the best BBQ restaurants of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville are revered as local delicacies. After all, if there is one thing Tennessee does better than anywhere else, it’s barbecue!
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