Nashville is one of the hottest cities for attracting visitors and with good reason. Music City offers everything from music to museums and sports, and has been garnering attention as a foodie destination. These nine spots represent why barbecue needs to be at the top of the list when considering dining options.
Peg Leg Porker
One of the newer brick-and-mortar entries on the scene (2013), pitmaster Carey Bringle has cooked at the prestigious James Beard House. For locals and visitors, Bringle serves up award-winning barbecue smoked daily with a choice of 11 local beers on tap. Start with "BBQ Nachos" and work into sandwich plates or platters starring pulled pork and chicken. Scratch-made sides include barbecued beans, smoked green beans and coleslaw.
With three Nashville locations, there is no shortage of barbecue even while smoking just enough for the day over local white oak wood. "A Tribute to All Things Southern," homemade sides include mac-n-cheese and potato salad; house-recommended favorites include the turkey sandwich, pork platter, hot chicken platter and catfish taco. Kids can select from their own menu as well.
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
There's a lot to like about Martin's from its beer garden—open all day, everyday—with plenty of seating and a stage for live music. A quick jaunt from Lower Broadway, Martin's entices by throwing the whole hog in the pit each day. Choose from sandwiches and wings or feed up to seven with the "Big Poppa Sampler:" a full rack of ribs, 12 ounces of pork, 12 ounces of brisket, 1/2 chicken and three pints of sides including cornbread hoecake and hushpuppies. Save room for noted desserts Martha Ann's Fudge Pie and Nadine's Pecan Pie.
Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant
Those who say barbecue isn't for breakfast haven't tried Puckett's smoked brisket hash. An institution since the '50s, Puckett's brings a taste of Memphis with its offerings dry rubbed then cooked low and slow over cherry wood. The 150-seat spot has a big stage for live music and popular plates include the cherry smoked hot wings and baby back ribs. “The Whole Farm—To Share… Or Not” delivers beef brisket, pulled pork, fried chicken leg, baby back ribs with smoked baked beans, collard greens and coleslaw.
For more than 25 years this small spot next to Centennial Park has been dishing out hickory-smoked goodness, in addition to its award-winning Kickin' Chicken white barbecue sauce. Sit at outdoor tables—or takeout to enjoy elsewhere—and feast on pulled pork, chicken beef brisket, turkey breast and ribs while saving room for homemade desserts.
Open seven days a week with daily specials at four locations, Bar-B-Cutie has been providing delicious, fast-casual service to Nashville for more than 65 years. Its top-notch barbecue—hickory-smoked turkey, chicken, beef brisket, sausage—comes out of the smokers each day, accompanied by signature sauces and homemade sides and desserts.
Texas Hill Country barbecue has been transported to Nashville at Butchertown Hall. Germantown's first beer hall promises craft tacos, craft brews and craft cocktails. Small plates include street corn empanadas and smoked black bean hummus, or opt for the "Texas Trinity," brisket, ribs and pulled pork.
Don't be fazed by lines out the door, the short wait is worth it at Jack's. Since the '80s, Jack's has been serving the best of all barbecue worlds; try the Tennessee pork shoulder, the Texas beef brisket and the St. Louis style ribs, married with your choice of sauces from Tennesee, Carolina, Kansas City and Texas.
The Gambling Stick
The Gambling Stick procures its local meat at Porter Road Butcher; it's set up shop in front of the butcher's doors. Find dry-rubbed and smoked meat like pigset (pork brisket) or pork shoulder alongside locally produced sides like burnt ends baked beans and buttermilk apple slaw.