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Nashville BBQ

My husband turned 30 and I have been meaning to post for a while. I planned a Whiskey and Smokes tasting themed dinner for his birthday in which everyone brought a bottle of different whiskey and I provided cigars and BBQ. In preparation we went to the some of the " top" BBQ restaurants in Nashville and did a taste off. Each time we bot chose an entree with 2 sides and shared to compare notes. We at least got the pulled pork and mac and cheese each time. Our lineup included Peg Leg Porker, Slow and Low, Judges, Edley's, Jacks, Martin's and Center Point in Hendersonville. As the party we were throwing was downtown, pickup location was a factor. Judges was my least favorite and actually was pretty bad. I'm not sure if it was that it is "Texas BBQ" or just the overwhelming taste of chemical liquid smoke flavor (not sure if that is actually what it was) but I could not even finish my meal and that NEVER happens. Jacks to me is just a tourist trap. Peg Leg Porker won the match, with very good meat. They threw in an extra pound of BBQ for us when we picked it up. I ended up making the sides, because to be honest none of the restaurants made perfect sides and for the money we would rather have more meat. I made homemade stove-top mac and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and jalapeno cheese cornbread. This was such a success and we probably had 35 people show up. Needless to say there was a lot of whiskey! Does anyone else have a favorite Nashville BBQ?

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  1. We have gone rib hopping several times with several groups and every time we have done this BBKings wins each time. Now we just go there!

    1. "Texas BBQ" does not use liquid smoke. I doubt you can find the real deal there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: James Cristinian

        That's what I was thinking. It may not be liquid smoke, but it had a distinct chemical taste to me. Wasn't what i like, but others may. :)

      2. I'm a fan of the Martin's in Nolensville, Jim-n-Nick's and CBG in Smyna, and the Slick Pig in Murfreesboro. I'm typically eating other things when in Nashville proper...

        2 Replies
        1. re: grundoon

          I love Slick Pig too! Went to school in the Boro so I ate there many times through school. So good. Jim n Nicks is always a good option too. We were just going for more local. I do enjoy their cheesy buiscuits. So good!

          1. re: hheath9h

            Those smoked chicken wings at Slick Pig are hard to beat!

        2. Peg Leg is a great choice for shoulder and ribs. Martin's now has a location on Belmont. I've had a hit and a miss at the new location.
          The Jack's location downtown is very much a tourist spot - try their location on West Trinity. I've found the quality there to be much better.
          Edley's entire package is very, very good, but their meat falls behind Peg Leg and Martin's imo. The brisket and the wings at Edley's are both very good compared to other spots.
          Papa Turney's in Hermitage puots out a decent product.

          1. I think that I like Judge Bean's the most, so your unhappy experience is quite a surprise!

            Whenever the subject of Nashville BBQ comes up, I like to point out this amazing set of articles by the Ulika BBQ competition team, who covered the city's barbecue better than anybody else has. Awesome work, this:


            1. I quit recommending barbecue restaurants to tell you the truth. When it takes that long to make something you can't really have it on hand at its best all day long. The best barbecue is always either found by chance when you just so happen to be in the right place at the right time, or from a place that sells out and isn't afraid to tell you they have sold out. These are always going to be the best because they put quality above all else and won't serve crappy product to people, they would rather disappoint you by having none of a certain item. Customers are willing to forgive this at some places but not others so it's really a gamble from the restaurants point of view and I want to understand, but I wish more places did this like they do at some of the more famous joints and just make what they can use. Especially for brisket and ribs pulled pork is way more forgiving.
              It's just hard to recommend a place knowing it could be outstanding or not so good depending on when they go.
              The very best barbecue in my opinion is always going to be found in someone's backyard or at an event or gathering of some sort.

              1 Reply
              1. I've been smoking for a few years now and find most commercial q disappointing. I am inspired by Martin's, though (usually). I need to give Peg Leg's a shot but every time I get close I'm possessed by the proximity of Arnold's.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cameraman

                  I haven't been to Peg Leg's although I have met the guy, I'd just call them up and ask when the ribs come off. Other places could use a sign in the window or schedule like donut shops. Hmmm, theres an idea.
                  Not speaking of his place since I haven't been there, but it's kind of a sticky situation compared to made to order food. You just can't do it with BBQ.
                  A place I'd normally happily recommend that we went to just last week the ribs were pretty bad, pretty bad as in should have went to Chili's bad.... A McRib would have been an improvement.

                  I don't know, if it were me I'd go the sell out then there ain't none route, but that requires understanding from the customer who realises they aren't at Whitt's or Barbecutie.