Nashville BBQ has left a lasting taste on locals and tourists alike. From drenched in fiery sauce to perfectly smoked, Nashville serves it up in every imaginable way. And we’re here to share the cooking techniques and best BBQ in Nashville!
Learn the techniques that make Southern BBQ what it is, and how Nashville barbeque puts its own spin on plates. This is just the starter fuel to your barbecue craze, and we hope you come away ready to put on that arpon and fire up the smoker to try the techniques out yourself.
If you don’t fancy yourself a barbeque master and look to avoid the kitchen all together, we’ve still got you covered. Check out the best Nashville BBQ spots and get a behind the scenes look. Use the barbeque eating guide to go on your own self-guided Nashville food tour. Or if you’d rather a local show you the ins and outs of Nashville barbecue, join Mint Julep Experiences for a guided and tailored Nashville BBQ, Beer, and Bourbon experience.
Nashville BBQ Eating Guide
Edley’s Bar-B-Que (East location)
Located at 908 Main St. Nashville, TN 37206
One of three locations in Nashville — it’s a small, local spot with a smokehouse feel. Edley’s is a tribute to all things Southern: “Unites the Nashville side of tradition of meat and three with the best barbecue this side of the Mississippi” by smoking their meat using white oak wood.
The founder, Edley Newman, was a native Tennessean. All of today’s recipes have been passed down from the family. You can’t go wrong with the brisket tacos!
Located at 1004 4th Ave N Nashville, TN 37219
This Nashville BBQ hot spot has cafeteria-style seating, lots of TVs for sports fans with a patio beer garden complete with lawn games and an outside bar.
Its unique tribute to barbecue celebrates the German traditions of butchery and smoked meats. They have their own butcher room where fresh meat is prepared for their natural wood smoker. The Jalapeno Cheddarwurst comes highly recommended.
Located at 903 Gleaves St. Nashville, TN 37203
This barbue joint is best described as “old school BBQ”. You’ll find that much talked about Southern hospitality here as it’s a family owned and operated. In keeping with old school traditions, they also keep it local by working with local bakeries for their breads and desserts. It’s no surprise that over the years they have received numerous awards for their Nashville barbecue and southern hospitality.
A great place to enjoy a classic and delicious plate of barbecue out on the patio with views of downtown Nashville. The decor is inspired by family and friends who have been a part of the story of pitmaster Carey Bringle’s life. It’s a plain but incredibly soulful Nashville BBQ restaurant.
Our order recommendation for Peg Leg Porker are the ribs & Kool-Aid pickles!
Martin’s Bar-B-Que (Downtown)
Located at 410 Fourth Ave S Nashville, TN 37201 ( 1 of 3 Nashville locations)
Home of the West Tennessee whole hog barbecue – a fresh hog goes on the pit each day for the next day. This Nashville BBQ restaurant has an eclectic decor with a down-home feel, and a beer garden with picnic tables.
If you’re headed to Martin’s Bar-B-Que, you have to try the Whole Hog BBQ Tray!
Jack’s Bar-B-Que (Broadway)
Located at 416 Broadway Nashville, TN 37207 ( 1 of 3 locations)
Cawthon, the pitmaster here, is a native Nashvillian who makes sure he has a steady stream of hickory smoke on his meats. He is referred to as the “Bar-B-Que King” of Nashville. His sign is world famous, featuring three neon flying pigs
Our go to BBQ bit here is the Tennessee Pork Shoulder Sandwich
Interested in seeing the southern BBQ techniques firsthand and sampling the best Nashville BBQ? Check out this fully immersive Nashville experience!
- Visit to the Nashville craft brewery Bearded Iris Brewing, complete with a seasonal pint.
- Immersive barbeque sampling, with a presentation of traditional southern BBQ techniques at a local barbeque restaurant.
- In depth tour of Nashville’s best bourbon at Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, the home of Belle Meade Bourbon.
The Nashville experience is complete with transportation to each location and departs from the Omni Nashville Hotel.
Southern BBQ Techniques
BBQ pitmasters are not keen on giving up their BBQ techniques, as their personnel techniques are what give their BBQ its signature taste.
However, we can share what sets Tennessee style barbecue apart from other regions. Southern Tennessee BBQ is defined through both dry and wet cooking methods. Dry barbecue involves applying a spice rub prior to smoking. Wet barbecue involves basting the meat throughout the cooking process. For background, basting in barbecue is cooking the meat in its own natural juices or using a sauce or marinade. If a sauce or marinade is being used, it will be reapplied periodically throughout the cooking process.
That leads into the sauce pairing of southern BBQ. In eastern Tennessee a vinegar-based sauce is the most common. For Memphis, which is known as the BBQ capital of the Tennessee, tomato-based sauces are most popular.