Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a beautiful mountain village known for a few things…gorgeous mountain views…friendly people…bluegrass…shopping…
The editorial staff of Edgewater Hotel happen to be barbecue connoisseurs and have personally spent time at just about every barbecue joint in town. Here then is our guide to everything you need to know about Gatlinburg barbecue!
Bones BBQ Joint
Bones BBQ Joint claims to celebrate “authentic regional barbecue from the American South.” This is a cafeteria-style restaurant that serves perfectly-cooked, moist, tender barbecue with a pleasing smokiness to it. We also liked the Bones sauce. It is located on Historic Nature Trail, a short walk uphill from Parkway. It has outside seating, so it’s a great option on a sunny day. Delivery is available via Bring it! and Doordash.
The positives: A good mid-price option near downtown with outdoor seating that serves great barbecue.
The negatives: A little bit of a walk from the main strip. Could use a spicier sauce option.
231 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN
Calhoun’s bills itself as “the taste of Tennessee,” which is probably accurate as Calhoun’s is a well-established name with multiple locations around Tennessee. We recommend the “Calhoun’s Trio,” which consists of baby back ribs, chicken tenders, and hickory smoked pork. The dish is served with coleslaw, and we suggest adding Smoky Mountain baked beans as the other side. Calhoun’s is located downtown, right on Parkway, near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains.
The positives: Great downtown location and great barbecue.
The negatives: A little pricy.
1004 Parkway, #121, Gatlinburg, TN
Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
Bennett’s serves hickory and mesquite-smoked meats in generous portions. The restaurant is located in the same building as Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, on the opposite side. Your meat options include beef brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, barbecue chicken, catfish, and sausage. If you want to try a variety of items, order the bar-b-que combo that allows you to select three meats from a selection that includes pulled pork, barbecue chicken, baby back ribs, smoked sausage or beef brisket.
The positives: Good prices, super friendly service, many options
The negatives: None
714 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN
Hungry Bear BBQ
You will recognize Hungry Bear BBQ by the cute, blue-painted building, which gives way to a casual, intimate setting. The smoke rising from the cooker right out front smells great and makes it clear what this place is all about – barbecue! The barbecue was tender and tasted just right, and the sides were good.
The positives: Good barbecue. Convenient location if you are staying outside of downtown.
The negatives: It is a little pricey (but what isn’t these days?). And the service is not the friendliest.
490 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
2263 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery
Three Jimmy’s is located on the East side of town at the entrance to the Arts and Crafts community, in the shopping center at the corner of E. Parkway and Glades Road. We suggest the King James sandwich, which consists of four ounces of tender, dry rubbed, slow smoked beef brisket; cheddar cheese; onion crispers; pickles and barbecue sauce on a brioche bun. Obviously, they have good barbecue, or they wouldn’t be on this list! They have pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs. The restaurant also has great live entertainment.
The positives: Great food, entertainment, covered outdoor seating
The negatives: Not the best location if you are staying downtown. A little pricy.
1357 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
JP’s Smoke House
JP’s is a friendly, laid back barbecue joint and bar located in the Arts & Crafts community. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing we learned that JP’s is closing down. So I guess we say good bye to JP’s for now. We will update this article if it reopens or opens under a different name.
This is not an exhaustive list. As new restaurants open, or we have a chance to eat anywhere that is not yet on the list, we will update this document. This is a great starting point if you are in Gatlinburg looking for some good barbecue, regardless if you’re staying in town (you should definitely book your room at Edgewater Hotel) or out of town.