From Knoxville classics to smalltown favorites, East Tennessee is chuck full of opportunities to eat the best BBQ around
Barbeque is an American staple and a Knoxville favorite. While we’re not known specifically for a type of barbeque like Kansas City, North Carolina, or Memphis, we are blessed that “hogs and beeves” from around the country have found their way to East Tennessee to tempt our tongues and fill our (pork) bellies with All-American vittles. Enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed eating this!
Small Town BBQ
Find. Friendsville. Now. The “downtown” is barely a block and a stop sign, not even a stop light. But stop is the operative word to enjoy what they have to offer at Small Town BBQ. There are two bologna sandwiches in this article and here is an amazing one. Oh? Rolling your eyes at bologna? This thing is cut thicker than your grandma’s wrist and is smoked to delicious perfection. So then, don’t have it and leave more for me. Incredible smoked meats and hearty sides dominate this menu, and it’s a stop off the beaten path that’s well worth it.
Friendsville | 110 W. College Ave | smalltownbbq.com
Sweet P’s BBQ
Not resting on its TV fame laurels as a favorite destination of a certain food celebrity, Sweet P’s has been the absolute foundation of Knoxville barbeque for almost 20 years. I’m partial to the Downtown Dive, but the Uptown Corner lives up to the solid reputation Sweet P’s has earned. Best known for their BBQ or Brisket Burrito, don’t dare sleep on the ribs or the Tater Salad, which is a side dish revelation. And so is this Mac and Cheese. Oh, and the sautéed Greens and Things, too. I think you’re picking up what I’m laying down. Which I had to do after a hearty lunch at Sweet P’s on Jackson Avenue. Wake me for dinner!
Downtown Dive: 410 W Jackson Ave. Knoxville | Uptown Corner: 3029 Tazewell Pk. Fountain City | sweetpbbq.com
The Smokey Q
What in the heck would Northern Virginia transplants know about barbeque? Well, a lot obviously, as the line at The Smokey Q is always out the door no matter what day of the week you show up. And while it’s a bit of a hike to Douglas Lake, these folks know how to smoke brisket, pork, and wings and don’t even get me started on their side dishes. Their Facebook page is on top of “What’s Left” so you’ll know when they’re about to run out—and they do. I see an iron cauldron of steaming hot brisket chili on their social media, and I have to stop writing and jump in the truck. Get there sooner rather than later.
Dandridge | 287 US-25W | the Smokey Q
Sons of Smoke
Let’s head down US Highway 11 to Loudon because if you’re going to arrive at an historic old town for a big ole plate of America, you gotta take one of our nation’s original routes. Sons of Smoke defines the phrase “Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover,” as while not a true hole in the wall, the exterior belies the magic that is found inside. Sure, you’ve had meatloaf, but have you had smoked meatloaf? You will soon, and it will alter your DNA. Full racks and family packs will have you swimming in sauce, fixins, and bliss. And personally, prayers up for Chris. Get well soon, Brother.
Loudon | 304 Cedar St. | Sons of Smoke
Dead End BBQ
A BBQ restaurant that teaches a Master Class in pit barbeque. Exactly. So there’s that. And with so few words to use, do I tell you about the Dead End Mac Attack or the Grilled Smoked Bologna? The Brick Top Chicken or the Tennessee Grilled Beef and Cheddar? The Bar-B-Queso or the Smoked Sausage and Cheese? You’ll have to stop me here because I can’t stop myself. I’ve been eating at Dead End BBQ since the early 2000s and so have you. See you soon.
Knoxville | 3621 Sutherland Ave. | deadendbbq.com
The Shed Smokehouse
We’re not going to say you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced The Shed… but you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced The Shed. Pig Burger Sliders, made with smoked rib meat, ground chorizo, and ground pork drip with deliciousness as you size up your next course. The Rooster is a char-grilled piece of chicken that like its siblings on the menu, drips with The Shed’s house-made barbeque sauce. Smoked meat sandwiches and platters round out the menu. Come on a weekend and dive in to the sounds of the countless bands that take stage while you feast. They call themselves “The Best Kept Secret in Maryville,” and we just might tend to agree.
Maryville | 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy | theshedmaryville.com