Finding great barbecue in Music City won’t be too challenging, as this southern city has a flair for culinary greatness in grilling. However, those looking for Nashville’s best BBQ will want to head to one (or all) of these four succulent options while in town.
1. Pork Leg Porker
Amid the rises of the Gulch sits an obscure watering hole and restaurant with barbecue plates that are anything but obscure to the palate. The Pork Leg Porker opened its doors in 2013 and is headed by native Tennesseean Carey Bingle, a decades-long pitmaster of the barbecue cooking circuit. Bingle sticks with West Tennessee traditions and smokes each cut of meat low and slow and offers Memphis style BBQ sauce on the side.
As its name suggests, the Pork Leg Porker specializes in grilled and smoked pork. Local favorites include BBQ nachos, pulled pork, dry rubbed pork ribs, wings, and a dish known as Memphis Sushi—saltines with sausage and cheese. Another hometown hit is the Yardbird, with smoked meat smothered in tangy white sauce served with a Kool-Aid pickle. Come and check out the rooftop patio, and check their social media page for notifications of occasional whole-hog cookouts.
2. Edley’s Bar-B-Que
Edley’s Bar-B-Que has become a staple in the community since the opening of its first location in Nashville. Today, there are three Edley’s around town, and it’s clear that locals and visitors cannot get enough of their impressive variety of slow smoked meats and homemade side dishes. Will Newman, co-owner of this top BBQ spot, revealed statistics that indicate that the original location at 12 South has sold up to 1400 pounds of pulled pork in a single week.
A favorite starter are the hot chicken nachos served with jalapeño ranch, but the house specialty is known as the Tuck Special. Served sandwich style with your choice of brisket, chicken, pork or turkey, the Tuck is topped off with an over-easy egg, homemade pimento cheese, red and white sauce and pickles. Other top sellers include the pork tacos with slaw and the in-house made banana pudding.
3. Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
The Tennessee whole hog BBQ tradition is alive and well at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville. You know the food is exceptional when you manage to successfully carry eight locations (including an 13,000 square-foot downtown restaurant) to keep guests happy and their stomachs full. Ask a local and they’ll tell you that you cannot go wrong with the wet and dry ribs, juicy beef brisket or the whole hog pulled pork sandwich. Other longtime favorites include pitmaster Martin’s brisket burgers, Redneck Tacos and the barbecue bologna sandwich.
4. Capitol Grille BBQ
If you love smoked meats and wonderful BBQ, Capitol Grill is your place. Chef Tyler Brown provides some of the best choices for pre-theater dinners, lunches or a relaxing dinner. The restaurant is found inside the Hermitage Hotel and they even provide delicious breakfast.
5. The Gambling Stick
In East Nashville, there is a hidden gem of a food truck amid the parking lot of Porter Road Butcher’s that is far from a gamble for barbecue fans. Wholly lacking in pretentiousness, The Gambling Stick is best known for doling out some of Nashville’s best barbecue with a friendly demeanor. What comes from that tiny truck packs big, bold flavor that one simply cannot experience with any ‘regular’ pulled pork shoulder sandwich. The ‘pigsket’ basket comes with a pork sandwich and a side, and we recommend a helping of homemade sweet and spicy baked beans with slightly charred edges that are arguably the best in the city—maybe even the state of Tennessee.
If getting your fill of some southern smoked meats done right, you won’t find better options than those available at the top BBQ spots right here in Nashville.
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