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(c) Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr
(c) Southern Foodways Alliance/Flickr
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The Top 10 BBQ Joints In Tennessee

Picture of Matthew Keyte
Updated: 9 February 2017
In Tennessee, barbecue is taken very seriously indeed. Smoked hogs, ribs and brisket are smoked for hours on end after being marinated in secret rub recipes until they’re tender, moist and packed with flavor. Here’s a list of 10 of the best rated BBQ restaurants around today.
(c) Sean Davis/Flickr
Central BBQ | © Sean Davis/Flickr
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Central BBQ

Central BBQ in Memphis is an award-winning, multiple-venue restaurant. All the meat is slow smoked after being rubbed with their trademark spice rub and marinated for 24 hours to give the meat flavor. Then the ribs, chicken, pork, brisket, and sausages are smoked in the pit over hickory and pecan woods and served up with onion rings, fries and potato salad to suit your tastes.

Central BBQ, 2249 Central Avenue, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 767 9377

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Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que

The Hickory Pit is all about quality food in a no-frills setting in Chattanooga. It’s the food that’s the star, with only 20 patrons able to sit down and eat at any one time. The food is regarded by many as some of the best BBQ in the USA; owner Mike Ford cooks his pork for 14 hours and his ribs for five to six over hickory wood after an application of dry rub. You can choose from plates of chopped pork and beef or chicken, sandwiches, and baked potatoes stuffed with delicious smoky meat.

Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, 5611 Ringgold Road, Chattanooga, TN, USA, +1 423 894 1217

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Jack’s Creek Bar-B-Que

Jack’s Creek is a family-owned and run setup that still uses the recipes of 50 years ago. This is barbecue the way it used to be — the building has remained the same for those 50 years too. You can pick up ribs, bologna, chicken wings and whole chickens and nachos with sides of slaw, beans and chips.

Jack’s Creek Bar-B-Que, 10 TN-100, Jack’s Creek, TN, USA, +1 731 989 4140

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Double J Smokehouse

Double J Smokehouse is famous for ribs and live music. There are now two locations, one at West Memphis and the other in Downtown. Ribs, steaks, ‘gator tails, burgers — all are on the menu, with the rib racks, slow smoked over pecan wood being particularly highly rated. Or, mix it up a bit and have a BBQ baked potato packed with cheese, smoked pork, onions and sour cream.

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, 124 Patterson Avenue, TN, USA, +1 901 347 2648

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A and R Bar-B-Que

A and R Bar-B-Que serves pork rib sandwiches, chopped beef plates, BBQ spaghetti, slow-smoked turkey, brisket plates and hickory-smoked chicken wings served up with beans, slaw, onion rings and potato salad.

A and R Bar-B-Que, 3721 Hickory Hill Road, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 365 9777

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Peg Leg Porker

Peg Leg Porker is an award-winning, family-run restaurant which has been cooking smoked pork for generations.

Peg Leg Porker, 903 Gleaves Street, Nashville, TN, USA, +1 615 829 6023

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Payne’s Bar-B-Q

Famous for serving up one of the best barbecue pork sandwiches in the country and famous too for the unpretentious appearance of the place, Payne’s Bar-B-Q in Memphis has been described as barbecue perfection. You can enjoy smoked sausage, ribs, bologna and, of course, the slow-smoked pork shoulder sandwich, with pulled, chopped or sliced pork made to your tastes.

Payne’s, 1762 Lamar Avenue, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 272 1523

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Edley’s Bar-B-Que

Edley’s claims to be a tribute to all things Southern. So along with the barbecue, the menu operates on the old meat and three system. All of the barbecue is slowly smoked over white oak wood — choose from pork, turkey, chicken, brisket, rib racks with sides of fried okra, fries, or BBQ quesadilla.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que, 2706 12th Avenue, Nashville, TN, USA, +1 615 953 2951

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Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue

The Neely family are legends on the BBQ scene in Tennessee. The patriarch is Jim Neely who set up the Interstate Barbecue in a converted store in Memphis in 1979. Ever since the Interstate Barbecue opened, it’s been gaining plaudits and picking up awards. Make sure you try the pork and beef ribs, and try out the foot-long hot dog, which gets a great write-up by Serious Eats here.

Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Q, 2265 South 3rd Street, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 775 2304

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Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous

This Downtown Memphis BBQ joint has become an institution. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Prince Albert of Monaco and the Rolling Stones are among the famous names to have sampled the food at Rendezvous over the years. Rendezvous remains one of the best places around for BBQ ribs and pork shoulder.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, 52 South 2nd Street, Memphis, TN, USA, +1 901 523 2746