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BBQ in Eastern TN

My wife-to-be has to be the best wife ever. For our honeymoon, she actually suggested going to Tennessee to stay in the mountains and eat BBQ.

What are the best places between Pigeon Forge and Nashville. We'll be in Pigeon Forge for two days and Nashville for two days...looking for some good, local places as well as the trendy tourist places. Not afraid to drive a little ways if there's something worth going out of the way for.

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      1. Hate to tell you this, but there's no barbecue in the mountains of East TN. Go to Memphis instead. Its on the other end of the state.

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        1. As the other folks suggested,you might seek out some meat and threes.

          It has often been the opinion,that bbq in Ky/Tn starts west of I-65 in both states.


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          1. re: TomFl

            To the contrary, BBQ exists rather well in East TN, it just doesn't have the snob appeal of having books written about it. (And you won't be puckering at both ends if you oversplash with vinegar based sauces.)
            Ridgewood BBQ in northeasternmost TN (Bluff City, to be exact) is wonderful even though it's different. Their sides shine from their blue cheese with celery to their baked beans to their fries and on and on (and their two very different slaws).
            Ridgewood is a reasonable distance from Pigeon Forge and by keeping to the backroads you'd have more of a feel for the valley than on the interstate. There are also a number of historic sites from two hundred years ago, if you are history based. (If you are NASCAR at all, Bristol Motor Speedway is very close to Ridgewood.)

          2. In Nashville try Neely's or Jack's. Both are good. Neely's is based out of Memphis. Calhoun's is good for Knoxville or Pigeon Forge.

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            1. re: turnrow

              if you're willing to drive over to Kingsport, TN, Bonefire Smokehouse has been good, in my experiences with them. They were originally owned by 12 Bones, of Asheville fame, and the food is still just as good, in my opinion.

            2. Yep,Ridgewood is popular,although not as traditional as some might be used to..

              Larry Proffit,the owner buys the bonein,lean, netted hams locally,although they had used Armour for years.

              They do smoke on hickory,for 6-9 hrs,just until they feel they are done.

              This way, they have less shrinkage/higher yield.

              They thin slice them,as they had picked up from the Daytona Beach restaurant,they modeled from,back in the late 40's.

              Some feel that the ham plate is sorta pricey at about $13,but you get a full meal.

              They cover the slices with a sort of sweet/sour sauce,that they take great pride in.

              The platter comes covered with rustic cut french fries,and the side of beans does contain meat.


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              1. re: TomFl

                Ridgewood is good, it is different but worth a try. If you head to Knoxville, eat at M&M Catering for their pulled pork and chicken. Famous Dave's isn't bad either, but its a chain. M&M is really good though, I just didn't care for their ribs(very fatty) Pardners in Bluff City is pretty good as well, but you are correct that BBQ is limited in East TN. If you are heading to Memphis you will get more than your fill, but I'd hate to miss M&M

              2. ok, so I know this is a little late, but we did find a couple really good places.

                In Nashville, we did go to Neely's. We also went to Martin's in Nolensville which was some of the best BBQ I've ever had (never been to Memphis unfortunately).

                In Seveirville, we found Tony Gore's Smoky Mountain BBQ which was really good. Passed on the way from the Interstate to our cabin and decided to drive back and give it a try.....totally worth it.

                http://midmichigandining.com/2009/10/... <--Neely's
                http://midmichigandining.com/2009/10/... <--Martin's
                http://midmichigandining.com/2009/10/... <--Tony Gore's