Hog Heaven is right across the street from VU near Centennial Park behind McDonald's (don't let the scary cinder block building fool you) and has great pulled meats, especially the chicken, and the white sauce is addictive and probably something you wouldn't have in Boston. They also have really good ribs and fantastic corncakes but I can't remember if theirs are wet or dry. I've attached the link to their website.
As for dry rubbed ribs in Nashville, I'm not sure of the best place to check on that. Corky's in Brentwood may be an option; seems like most ribs I've had in Nashville are the wet kind but I'm sure someone else on the Boards can help you. Good luck!
No to be rude, but Nashville is not really thought of as a barbecue town. Memphis, 3 hours away, is what you may be thinking of. For example, Hog Heaven, recommended by another poster, serves their sandwiches with pickles - anathema. You would be better off ordering ribs from Corky's or Interstate Barbecue in Memphis via FedEx. That would get you what you are thinking of - dry-rubbed spare ribs.
If you're not a barbecue snob, Hog Heaven is pretty darn good. It's a real hound place. You could get the barbecue and have a picnic in Centennial Park and make it a real date.
Since Mothership folded (RIP) I'd have to recommend Jim and Nick's, about 6 to 7 miles out Charlotte Avenue. The meat is served dry, but it's been a year since I ate there so I can't recall whether's it's dry rubbed, or rubbed and mopped. I know the meat falls off the bones. The side dishes are fantastic, unlike most bbq places. It's part of a chain,but it's a tiny chain, and I think this location is as good as the Auburn, Alabama parent location. Oh, and there's wine. Very important for mommy.
For a cultural road trip, you might go to Mary's on Jefferson, in a part of town that is the heart of the black university area, but it's wet 'cue. and the last time it was there (8 years ago) it wasn't good. Other people have more recent experiences.
There was a great place on Broadway called Rippy's, but I wonder if it's still open. The real foodies in town love it. I have only eaten there once, and I must say it was incredible. Burnt ends, like I like them. Potato salad was good.
Really, the best 'cue is at a place called Carl's Perfect Pig out in White Bluff, south and west of Nashville about 20 miles. You'd have to be a real bbq aficionado to do it but the drive is pretty, there's a state park nearby, and you'd have a real road trip. It's bright pink -- you can't miss it. But call first, cuz they keep odd hours and odd days.
two places around here that have dry ribs (besides corky's) is paradise ridge in bellevue and martin's in nolensville. paradise ridge was built off an award winning competition bbq team and martins built off "old school" bbq joints of west tennessee. they are both great but martin's gets my vote, i think they have the best bbq in the nashville area.
The locals are a little picky,compared to what some folks outside the bbq belt might be.
Hog Heaven,Carl's,or Jack's on Trinity lane would all probably provide good dining experiences.
Not being from bbq country,even the Corky's chain is acceptable-at least they do have dry ribs.
The Babb brothers,Paradise Ridge BBQ Team and Catering are stilll one of the better comp teams around.
Their restarant should be worth a try.