BBQ is one of the most popular foods in the Smoky Mountains. BBQ enthusiasts know that BBQ varies by region and in Tennessee it tends to include a tomato based sauced on pulled pork, brisket, or chicken. The sides that go with the smoked meats are also a very important part of the meal. Mountain restaurants offer their own take on popular sides like cornbread, BBQ baked beans, macaroni and cheese, and cole slaw. The Gatlinburg area is home to many different BBQ restaurants, and since May is National BBQ Month, this list gives an idea of some of the best places in the area for BBQ.
Bennett’s Pit BBQ
This place is practically an institution in the town of Gatlinburg. Located on River Road, it sits under the tram and provides a great atmosphere for families as kids can watch the tram from many of the tables. They have excellent pulled pork, ribs, brisket, chicken and other smoked meats. They also have an amazing breakfast buffet during the morning hours. At lunch and dinner, they have a salad bar and diners can also choose from sides like potato salad and cole slaw. Bennett’s uses hickory wood to smoke meats for up to 14 hours providing a moist and flavorful meat.
Hungry Bear BBQ
Hungry Bear is a small and nondescript place found on East Parkway in Gatlinburg. They are best known for their pulled pork which can be ordered as a dinner or on a sandwich. They also have brisket sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, and a sandwich made with sausage. Those who like variety can try the combo four or pork special, both of which include several meats and sides. They also offer family packs and picnic packs for those looking for a large meal or a fun lunch for a picnic in the park. Hungry Bear offers several tasty side options with favorites being the baked beans and potato salad.
Calhoun’s of Gatlinburg
Calhoun’s has a great downtown location on the Parkway and is easy to find. They have a large menu with everything from steaks and chicken to salads, but their ribs and BBQ are some of the most popular items. They’re often busy in the summer months and on weekends but diners can sign up for a table and walk around the nearby shops while waiting. Calhoun’s is not your typical BBQ joint, but they offer a fun and casual lodge-type atmosphere for families and couples looking for great food and service. Their BBQ nachos with pulled pork are an excellent appetizer to share, but also large enough to make a meal. They also have BBQ chicken wings in a variety of flavors, smoked chicken, and smoked pork. Calhoun’s is also known for their great side dishes which include Tennessee Corn Puddin’ and Mac ‘n Cheese.
Gatlinburg has great places to eat Tennessee style BBQ. Whether you’re looking to try something different like smoked sausage, or a classic like pulled pork, you can’t go wrong with one of these BBQ places in the Smoky Mountains.