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Mar 15, 2010 07:02 PM

One dinner in Nashville: Best BBQ?

I'm coming down to Nashville at the end of March. Since I have only one dinner for exploring, I must plan very carefully where to eat BBQ. Seems there are some discrepancies on the board: Martin's and Carl's looked fantastic, but recent posts claim they are not worth the drive over Jack's or Hog Heaven. What's the latest verdict?!
-- Thanks a bunch from your northern chowfriend

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  1. Jack' is very good and convenient. Hog Heaven is very good too. Martin's is great. One poster had a bad experience the first week at a new location when they were slammed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cameraman

      I’ll chalk up my bad experience at Martin’s to opening week kinks. I’ve read from countless sources that the food is usually great. I’ll wait a few more months before giving them another go. I’ve also heard that they will be featured on Diners-Drive-ins & Dives, if that makes any sort of difference to you. I will definitely recommend Jack’s, try the West Trinity location, and not downtown. The brisket at Jack’s usually outshines everything else on the menu.

      1. re: Cameraman

        Jack's on W. trinity lane. DEFINITELY.

      2. I would definitely choose Martin's over any of the others you have listed..

        1. I have not been to the new Martin's location yet, but have been to the old location many, many times and have always been impressed. It is at least a 30 minute drive from downtown, though.

          If by Carl's, you mean Carl's Perfect Pig in White Bluff, I do not think that it is worth the drive (also at least half an hour). It once was outstanding, but in my opinion, their quality has slipped in recent years. Plus, they're only open until about 7 o'clock, so you'd have to eat dinner pretty early if you went there.

          Hog Heaven is good but not great. Jack's is very good, but still not great. Jack's is probably your best option for BBQ dinner if you don't want to leave the downtown area.

          But bottom line - if you have the time and the means to drive out to Nolensville, I think Martin's is about the best you're going to do for barbecue in the Nashville area.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jamiecarroll

            And I don't think you can apply "best" to any. That's so subjective, and honestly can depend on luck of the draw as to what day you go. I went to a new place, B&C, in Melrose a few weeks ago. (This is their second location, they have another in the Farmer's Market.) It was really good, with the option of some non-typical sides such as white cheese grits. Went back a few days later and the pork was VERY VERY greasy (a pool of fat in the container) and the grits were dry to the point of being crumbly.

            The fact is that any of the places mentioned, and a few others besides, serve up decent barbecue. There is no one single "best" -- everyone has their favorite, thus the discrepancy. If I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Jack's, but I would happily eat any of these others on any given day. There's also Dee's, Neely's, Jim n Nick's, Whitt's, Corky's, Swett's. I haven't eaten at all of these, but wouldn't turn down a meal from any.

          2. Thanks for all your postings. I ended up managing to squeeze in dinner at Martin's and lunch at Jack's (so I ate an awful lot of meat in 16 hours). Now I understand the subjectivity of BBQ. Martin's dry-rub ribs were meaty and tender; cornbread was fabulous, among the best I've ever had; brisket was ok; pulled pork was dry (though this was sunday dinner and they were running low on everything). By contrast, Jack's ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender, I loved their selection of sauces; pork was entirely succulent; brisket OK; cornbread the more bready-variety. Eating all this deliciousness outside on the rooftop deck in downtown nashville was an added bonus. Thanks again for all the tips!

            1 Reply
            1. re: amychef

              your description of the bbq is RIGHT on !! brisket is a tough act to cook.
              jack's is definitely fall off the bones.
              kc sauce is my favoritte. go early, as they do run out at times......

            2. So if you weren't a brisket person and wanted pork would the above answers still be the same? I am a Virginian trying to figure out where I want to go for my visit. Will have a friend with a car so can make the drive to Martin's, if I should. She might know where she wants to go she is from Memphis, but not sure. Want to try some Tennessee style BBQ.

              1 Reply