Nashville, or Music City, as it’s sometimes called, is the capital of Tennessee. It’s home to a few big names like Taylor Swift, Dolly Parton, and Tim McGraw. While strolling through the popular tourist attractions and visiting Music Row and other musical sites, make room for some yummy BBQ food as well. I’d heard nothing but good things about Nashville BBQ, so you’re in for a treat!
I went on a search for the top BBQ restaurants in Nashville, fully expecting to get impressed. And my expectations were met in full! The BBQ food that I found, starting with my favorite, a full slab of baby back ribs, was delectable. Nashville has a nice array of restaurants that really know how to smoke the meat perfectly. Smoked chicken wings, hot links, beef brisket, and l the nest southern sides you could imagine are here in Nashville. Check out our list of the best BBQ food in Nashville!
Peg Leg Porker BBQ
903 Gleaves St, Nashville, TN 37203
The Peg Leg Porker BBQ is a modestly decorated BBQ shack that has a soulful interior. Find PLP BBQ in the Gulch, near the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They’re best known for their pulled pork, fried pies, ribs, and buckets of beer. You can enjoy all this indoors or on the patio. There’s also a bar inside with great local options. This family-owned restaurant also provides catering for small and large events. The Peg Leg Porker is the recipient of several recent awards as one of the best Nashville BBQ restaurants. They’ve accomplished this through southern hospitality and excellent food over the years. The signature ribs are tender and flavorful, and the sides are the perfect compliment. Some of the other most popular menu items are the Pulled Pork Platter, the BBQ Sandwich with pulled pork smothered in sauce and coleslaw, the Smoked Sausage and Chicken Combo, or the Combo Platter that lets you taste four types of meat and multiple sides at once. Don’t hesitate to stop by and grab some great BBQ and their smoked green beans!
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is in downtown Nashville near Tennessee State University. It’s a large roadhouse-style BBQ spot that’s famous for its whole-hog pit-fired BBQ. They serve tacos, burgers, and chicken until they run out each day. They have a beer garden out back and rooftop seating. The atmosphere is easy-going. The space where the beer garden is has a lot of open seating, a stage for live music performances, and games. The staff is very friendly and they make recommendations to newcomers that don’t know what to try first. My favorite dish was the combo plate that had spicy ribs and the juiciest brisket I’ve ever tasted! They make sure their smoked meats are over the top, in a good way. Add a side of hush puppies, broccoli salad, and a slice of pecan pie to tie everything together. Other bestsellers include the Pulled Pork Sandwich, Brisket Tacos, Fried Bologna Sandwich, and the Smoked Wings.
Edley’s Bar-B-Que is in the Five Points area near Frederick Douglass Park. This eatery gives you classic BBQ foods alongside the Southern-style sides that vary based on the season. Edley’s also has a bar and outdoor seating. The staff treats you like family, and you feel like you’re having a meal at grandma’s every time you visit. They don’t take any shortcuts at Edley’s; all of their meats get smoked slowly at low heat using Southern White Oakwood. The sides get made fresh each day, from scratch. They even have nice music playing while you eat. Edley’s won Best in Bar-B-Que from 2013-2016 in a local Nashville reader’s poll. If you’re in the area, drop by and try the Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Cornbread, BBQ Sandwich, or the Hot Chicken Sandwich.
The Gambling Stick
501 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
The Gambling Stick is near the Shelby Golf Course in East Nashville. If you’re looking for where to get BBQ in Nashville, this is it. It’s a basic BBQ truck that has tasty sides, and locally sourced meats that get smoked low and slow on Cherry wood. They also bring out a tent and chairs so that you can enjoy your food nearby. The Gambling Stick takes pride in using local ingredients, flavorful dry rubs, superb house-made BBQ sauces, and producing a bark so good on your meat that you’ll be at a loss for words. Truly one of Nashville’s hidden gems, you can’t miss out on the aged beef brisket, hot link sausages, pork and beef ribs, and exquisite homemade sides. The Gambling Stick is everything you want in a good Nashville BBQ.
Bar-B-Cutie has a lot of locations all over, but the service and quality of BBQ are the same. The smokehouse is family-friendly, with family meals, kid’s meals, and valid packs available for convenience. They now offer breakfast and catering options as well. Locals say that the baby back ribs and beef brisket are the best in town. The staff likes to suggest the Seriously Smoked Meats Plates, which comes with two sides, BBQ bread, a bun, or cornbread. I recommend the BBQ pork on cornbread, smoked sausage, or the pulled BBQ chicken. The atmosphere is fun and laid back; feel free to get a little messy while enjoying hot, tender meats with traditional southern sides.
Honeyfire Barbeque Co.
8127 Sawyer Brown Rd #304, Nashville, TN 37221
Honeyfire Barbeque Co. is in the Bellevue neighborhood near Edible Arrangements. It’s a refined BBQ joint that has outdoor seating available. The dining room has a clean and modern design, while the wraparound patios are covered. The atmosphere is kind and fun. There’s usually a nice crowd there and everyone just wants to have a good time. You get all the fixings from baked beans to cornbread, mac and cheese, and more. Their smoked meats are the talk of the town, with their BBQ ribs having won several awards for mouthwatering flavor and juiciness. While maintaining southern integrity, the menu also has creative appetizers, sandwiches, and sides.
Jack Cawthon’s Bar-B-Que
1601 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37203
Jack Cawthon’s Bar-B-Que is in downtown Nashville, near Watkins Park and TSU. It’s a neighborhood staple in Nashville for their Texas beef brisket and Tennessee pork shoulder. This new location on Charlotte Ave also has a drive-thru, bulk order pick-up, and a covered back patio. You can also choose to dine inside. Jack Cawthon makes you feel like family as soon as you stop by. You won’t leave hungry, that’s for sure. Their Smoked Boston Turkey and St. Louis-style Ribs come in huge portions, and it’s finger-lickin good! They have a nice variety of family meals and the smoked chicken is excellent with a side of collard greens or coleslaw. The personable employees and relaxed vibes make Jack Cawthon’s one of my favorite BBQ joints when I’m visiting Nashville.
Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q
7004 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209
Great tasting slow-cooked BBQ can be hard to come by, however, this is what Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q is known for. You can find it near the river that’s close to Walmart. This place has modest decor and very chill vibes, it’s a place where no one takes themselves too seriously.Here, not only can you grab some slow-cooked BBQ, there are burgers, cheese biscuits, salads, and classic sides that you can choose from as well. The smoked meats when paired with their signature sauce are simply divine. On your next stop, you have to try one or all of these items: Their Classic Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, and Bar-B-Q Chicken and you can get them all through a convenient drive-thru.
Shotgun Willie’s BBQ
4000 Gallatin Pike Suite B, Nashville, TN 37216
Shotgun Willie’s BBQ is located in the Maplewood Heights area near Cooper’s Creek and the Grand Ole Opry and has all the traditional character of a thriving Mom and Pop stop. The owners of the restaurant are eager to engage their customers with an unusual level of hospitality. However, at Shotgun Willie’s BBQ the food and the flavors are the absolute star of the show. For example, the brisket melts in your mouth tender and not dry whatsoever. The sauces are all delicious and pair well with whatever meat you choose. All plates come with 1/2 LB and include two sides, bread, dill pickles, and pickled red onions. Dishes that you must get your hands on include the Pork Short Ribs, Tennessee-style Pork Shoulder Sandwich, Bourbon Banana Pudding, and the Sweet Cornbread.
333 54th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209
Stop by The Ridge and try some quality BBQ from a laid-back neighborhood eatery serving up specialty meat sandwiches, burgers, sides, and some of the best catfish in Nashville! Here at The Ridge, BBQ is king and their homemade sauce is delicious and it’s even available for purchase. The Ridge is located near Richland Creek and Highway 70. At The Ridge, the service is just as good as the food with the servers being very nice to interact with. The chicken falls off the bone tender and the ribs are prepared similarly. One thing that stood out was the presentation, the food was just fun to look at. Here are some dishes to try on your visit to The Ridge: Chicken Wings, BBQ Quesadilla, Pulled Pork Sandwich, and Fried Catfish.
Tex’s World Famous Bar-B-Q
1013 Foster Ave, Nashville, TN 37210
Tex’s World Famous Bar-B-Q is a local staple in the city of Nashville since they opened in 1979. This distinction makes this place one of the oldest Texas-style Bar-B-Q Restaurants in town. There’s a rich BBQ history at Tex’s and the fact they’ve been cooking homestyle meals and smoking meats for over 30 years is very apparent in the quality of their BBQ. Stop by and get a load of the quaint atmosphere and the rustic feel of Tex’s. The meats are freshly smoked every day and the peach cobbler is one item that I implore you not to pass up. Try the tender beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage, smoked turkey breast, bar-b-q baloney, and bar-b-q ribs. All of these dishes are sure to leave a smile on your face after you’ve tasted them!
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
500 Church St, Nashville, TN 37219
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant is a welcomed deviation from your typical restaurant, it’s a southern bar and grill with a large stage for musical acts. What’s more, they even have a large stockpile of groceries for downtown dwellers. You can find Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant in Downtown Nashville by the Cumberland River and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. This quaint restaurant serves as a place for down-home cooking, a destination for live music with all of the flare of the Southern experience! The restaurant serves as a sought-after destination for live music, down-home cookin’, and the quintessential Southern experience. Along with some awesome grilled meat, you should try the Skillet Mac n’ Cheese, Sweet Potato, Fries, and their signature Potato Salad.
161 Opry Mills Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Sometimes the bare essentials are all you need, the bells and whistles are quite unnecessary, some old fashion BBQ will do. Well, Mission BBQ is just the place to go when great BBQ is all that you’re searching for. Mission BBQ is conveniently located in the Opry Mills Shopping Mall so it shouldn’t be hard to locate on your visit. Mission BBQ opened its doors for business on September 11, 2011, and has been thriving ever since. The establishment is unassuming in appearance and it’s a place where patriotism is absolutely important as they have memorabilia honoring soldiers & first responders. The product is always quality as were the spare ribs and the beef brisket! And the sauce wasn’t bad at all either.
Central BBQ is a restaurant that vows to give you the best BBQ with great hospitality every time. They believe that even the best BBQ falls flat without hospitality! Along those lines, all staff members are devoted to making sure that your dining experience is simply superb. They do so while serving delicious dishes such as the Smoked Hot Wings, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Beef Brisket BBQ Nachos, and the Turkey BBQ Nachos. Central BBQ is a modestly decorated BBQ shack that gets the best ingredients and creates magic!
Mary’s Old Fashioned Pit Bar-B-Que
1106 Jefferson St, Nashville, TN 37208
Mary’s Old Fashioned Pit BBQ is home to a historic landmark that has been owned by an African American family since 1962, when segregation was still prevalent. It’s on Jefferson Street, the historic African American business district. This is the place to get your fix on down-home basic BBQ with classic dishes such as pork short ribs and fried fish sandwiches on white bread. Let’s get to the food; you must get your hands on a tender pork shoulder sandwich with coleslaw, it’s one of their house specialties. This beautiful dish comes loaded with blazingly hot BBQ sauce, and if you’re not that into spice, there’s a delicious mild version for you as well. Here are a few other items that you have to try on your visit to Mary’s Old Fashioned Pit BBQ: crispy fried fish, BBQ pork shoulder, smoked chicken, and their succulent spare ribs.