The 15 Best BBQ Restaurants In Nashville, Ranked

There's nothing like a great barbecue spot to satisfy your need for all things finger-lickin' good. You know what we're talking about here — that smoky smell you get from the grill, the deliciously sweet enjoyment of barbecue on your fingertips, and comforting Southern side dishes that pair so well with brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.

Well, folks, if that sounds like it's something up your alley, then get ready because we've got a heck of a list here for you today. We've taken the time and effort to skim through all of the details on the very best barbecue joints in Nashville, Tennessee, to help you decide which are worth a trip to get good lip-smackin' barbecue (and which are not). Just remember that although all locations featured here are known for impeccable barbecue dining experiences, some, according to the locals, are better than others.

With that in mind, join us as we spill all the saucy details on which Nashville barbecue restaurants are totally worth spending your hard-earned money on. Let the feast begin!

15. Johnny Cash's Bar & BBQ

Located right next to the Johnny Cash Museum, Johnny Cash's Bar & BBQ is definitely a touristy spot that isn't impressive to some. While many love the barbecue there and would return for more, there are others who claim the establishment is simply a "tourist trap" that doesn't actually offer good barbecue at all.

Having said that, there are still those who love this joint for the lively music and the popular Nashville Hot Fried Chicken it serves. The place also functions as the perfect pairing to go along with a day spent walking through the Johnny Cash Museum.

Is this the place we'd recommend as Nashville's best barbecue? Probably not. Still, it's a really good venue to visit, especially if you happen to be visiting the museum, anyway. Just don't count on it being the best you've ever had — oh, and be sure to watch for the stiff prices on drinks, too.

14. Mary's Old Fashioned Pit Bar-B-Que

Mary's Old Fashioned Pit Bar-B-Que is another one of those restaurants that's a head-scratcher for us. This restaurant has its roots in Nashville with "Ms. Mary" having paved the way to a successful barbecue joint that's still going strong today. Those who have grown up in the area proclaim that this used to be a wonderful spot; however, a handful of people seem to think this place has gone downhill quite a bit, and as such, are sorely disappointed.

So, what exactly is the problem? Well, for many people, there seems to be no problem at all. There are many reviewers who seem to genuinely enjoy Mary's, claiming the food to be amazing and worth every penny. Others have complained that the meat is dry and that the restaurant overall has faded from what it once was in the past.

We think it's a shame, but as we said before, this place still garners plenty of admiration. So, this'll likely be another restaurant you'll need to try for yourself before coming to a hard conclusion as to whether visiting this once-popular barbecue establishment is actually worth your time.

13. Bar-B-Cutie Smokehouse

Bar-B-Cutie Smokehouse is a chain restaurant that has locations in Nashville, Tennessee, along with others in Georgia and Texas. According to Bar-B-Cutie, this restaurant is one of Texas' most featured barbecue restaurants in the state. Given that information, the food must be really good, right?

Well, sort of. Oddly, Bar-B-Cutie Smokehouse garners split responses from the public, which makes us wonder about what's truly going on. Some people seem to be really impressed by the food, while others seem blatantly offended. Those who love the place have vouched for items like its burgers, pork sandwiches, and even breakfasts being quite delicious. Those who don't have great things to say claim the meat to be dry and that the sides are "meh" at best. Considering these factors, we really can't rank Bar-B-Cutie very high on our list, as we're unsure exactly of what to make of the place based on its polarized reviews.

12. Mission BBQ

We know you're here mainly for amazing barbecue recommendations, and don't worry — this one is certainly an awesome place to grab amazing smoked meats. But in addition to the delicious food it offers, Mission BBQ makes it a mission to serve mouthwatering eats to all the dedicated families, veterans, and hometown teams who come hungry with a hankering for good barbecue. There are several inspiring stories, traditions, and efforts to give back to the community found on the company's website, and this only adds to the appeal that this local joint brings.

So, what does Mission BBQ offer in terms of good food? We're so glad you asked! Mission BBQ is known for doling out incredible brisket, sausages, and out-of-this-world potato salad. Don't forget to sample its delicious green beans, macaroni and cheese, and finish it off with a Summertime Lemonade. What's even more impressive is that this restaurant isn't only found in Nashville, but can also be found in over a dozen different states including Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Florida, and more. Rock on!

11. Central BBQ

Central BBQ is a Nashville spot known for excellent entrees and comforting sides. Apart from the delicious greens, you can expect to devour yummy sausages and all kinds of delicious barbecue fare. On top of this, you can expect a clean and well-kept atmosphere that adds to its inviting ambiance.

In addition to the cleanliness of the restaurant, you should also be advised that, according to the company, the smoke is its sauce. As one reviewer recommended, you may want to try the ribs dry first to see how you like them and then slather on sauce as you go, especially if you're one who really loves wet, bold, and smoky flavors.

All in all, Central BBQ is a great place to sample Nashville barbecue, even if there are a few naysayers out there claiming that the meat can be dry and a bit overrated. Judge for yourself and see what you think, but it's worth noting that most really love the flavorful offerings dished up here at Central BBQ.

10. HoneyFire BBQ

HoneyFire BBQ is an aesthetically pleasing location that features a wrap-around patio and modernized decor while still offering all those humbly tasty vibes that true barbecue lovers crave. The restaurant features several finger-lickin' sauces, including its original sweet barbecue and Alabama white sauce. Whatever you've got a hankering for, HoneyFire BBQ is right there to scratch that itch. So, what do locals and tourists have to say about it?

It's amazing! The barbecue egg rolls, Parmesan green beans, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and chicken are top-notch. Of course, all the other standard barbecue entrees here are also delish, with most reviewers chiming in on a variety of different options they found to be particularly good. Out of all the reviews we scoured, only a couple of people said that their meal sometimes comes out at room temperature or just plain cold. Still, this doesn't seem to be the overall consensus of those who frequent this location. Everyone else loves the food and the courteous wait staff at this family-owned and -operated business.

All in all, we think HoneyFire BBQ is well worth your dollar, especially if you can manage to dine on that wrap-around porch on a bright and breezy summer day!

9. Jack's Bar-B-Que

Jack's Bar-B-Que has been around since the late '80s and is still kicking to this day. In fact, Jack's Bar-B-Que has three yummy locations in Nashville and still manages to impress guests with its true barbecue offerings that most are sure to love.

So, what makes Jack's so great? Apparently, it's the ribs that really steal the show, with many reviewers claiming them to be absolutely worth your trip. All other meat types, including the brisket, tended to get great reviews from customers, as well. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to find many comments concerning the sides, and the ones we have found have been less than stellar. Still, it offers the usual barbecue side dish fare, such as cole slaw, mac and cheese, potato salad, and green beans, so there are plenty of options to pair with your barbecue meat to keep things interesting.

Overall, we think Jack's deserves a visit, even if it's only for the pleasure of enjoying really great ribs. Yum!

8. Edley's Bar-B-Que

Edley's Bar-B-Que is a family-owned business first established in 2011. This popular barbecue joint makes all its side dishes from scratch daily and roasts its meats low and slow, which is the only way a true barbecue lover would have it.

People who frequent Edley's can't get over how delicious the food is, especially when it comes to the restaurant's infamous smash burger. Other winners from this menu include the burnt ends, catfish tacos, banana pudding, and pulled pork. Of course, it also offers other traditional dishes, including ribs, macaroni and cheese, smoked sausage with spicy pimentos, and so much more.

The only complaints we can really find about the joint are from a couple of people who claim certain foods to be a little salty, along with the fact that the wait can sometimes be very long. But given the low-and-slow style of cooking, a bit of a wait may be expected. Either way, Edley's is definitely a solid Nashville barbecue pick if you happen to be in the area.

7. Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint is very popular among locals and tourists and is a fun and lively restaurant with good portion sizes, lots of great food, and even live music. Folks have described the ribs and a few of the other meats as "fall-off-the-bone" tender, with hearty side dishes and delightful service-oriented staff to boot.

Glancing over the menu, you'll find Martin's offering up your typical ribs and mac and cheese, but also fried catfish sandwiches, barbecue nachos, and even smoked brisket chili. The pulled pork here is described as packed with meat and is crowned with cool, creamy, and delicious cole slaw to top things off. Along with this, we discovered one Martin's frequenter praising the beef brisket as absolutely delish.

Thus, if you're looking for a great place to dine in the area with good portion sizes and deliciously tender barbecue, Martin's is certainly one to try out. Just know that — like most of the restaurants listed here — your wait in line might be a bit longer than normal; but hey, that's what's expected from a place dishing up foods this good, right?

6. Fat Boy's BBQ

When it comes to ordering at Fat Boy's BBQ, you really can't seem to go wrong. People rave about this establishment, and no two reviews are alike. One person loves the fried okra while another goes plum crazy for the white beans. Still, another can't get enough of the beef brisket, and so on and so forth. Is it any wonder that this place is as popular as it is?

But don't worry, this well-known Nashville barbecue establishment is more than just the food. The service is impeccable, with friendly faces and a welcoming atmosphere being the highlight of the overall consumer experience.

If you're walking in for the first time, you may be hard pressed to decide what to order given that this place has so many offerings with different recommendations coming out the wazoo. We'll admit, everyone seems to love practically everything, but one item we noticed getting a lot of kudos and praise is the pulled pork. Apparently, this popular sammie here is top-notch, so if you're in the mood for uninhibited deliciousness but aren't exactly sure what to get, this food option may be a great starting point for whetting your appetite. You're welcome!

5. Totos BBQ Express

Totos BBQ Express describes having started as a passion in the backyard and grown into something truly special. It is located on Nashville's east side and proclaims to have the added twist of Latin American flavor to make it stand out among the sea of popular barbecue joints in the area.

This restaurant is another one of those spots that receives nothing but rave reviews all along the way. Despite every person seeming to have a personal favorite dish from Totos BBQ Express, there is definitely a consensus regarding certain meals being beyond spectacular. The Brisket Burger, for instance, is certainly a crowd-pleaser, and the chicken nachos, apparently, are to die for. People seem to be impressed by so many things on the menu that it tempts us to believe that almost everything is brimming with flavor at this particular barbecue eatery.

As for the aesthetics of the place, eh, don't let it fool you. Similar to a couple of other joints on the list, looks can be deceiving, and this barbecue spot is definitely of humble appearances. Still, you can expect nothing but show-stopping taste here, so be sure to grab a bite (or two or three) when visiting the Nashville area.

4. Ooh Wee Bar-B-Q

Now, you know when a barbecue joint is named "Ooh Wee," the food is bound to be good. Sure enough, the food here is phenomenal, despite its — once again — very humble appearances. Actually, this popular place is so unassuming you just might drive past it if you aren't actively looking for it. Still, be sure to keep your eyes peeled, especially if you expect to take full advantage of the fried Oreos, lip-smacking barbecue ribs, and out-of-control mac and cheese offered here. Oh, and don't forget to sample the collard greens!

Locals and tourists could not agree more that this place truly lives up to its name (and then some) and offers some of the best barbecue in Nashville. The only minimal complaint about this small shack offering big-time flavor is the smaller portion sizes on the side dishes, but otherwise, dining here certainly won't leave you disappointed.

3. Shotgun Willie's BBQ

Shotgun Willie's BBQ may not seem like much on the surface, but when you see lines extending out the door shortly after opening, you know there's got to be something special about it.

The restaurant prides itself on offering real authentic Texas barbecue right in Nashville. No, it isn't technically Tennessee-style; however, those who have sampled the barbecue here say this establishment knows how to do Texas barbecue right. 

Choose from satisfying beef brisket, bourbon banana pudding, sausages, and more. Interested in side dishes? Shotgun Willie's BBQ menu is chock-full of traditional Texas accompaniments, including macaroni and cheese, cornbread, cole slaw, and even a four-bean baked bean dish. What's more is that people rave about the staff, citing them as incredibly friendly, which only adds to the charm. So, if you roll by, be sure to give them a chance. The place may seem to be a quaint and unassuming hole-in-the-wall-style restaurant, but aren't those always the best types?

2. Peg Leg Porker

If you hang around Nashville a lot, chances are that you've at least heard of Peg Leg Porker. Many people love the food here, but that isn't all. According to the Peg Leg Porker website, this place has won numerous food awards, and the restaurant's original pitmaster has cooked alongside many top-notch and reputable chefs in the industry.

As far as what the locals love, well, where do we start? The ribs are said to be fabulous, though you'll need to love ribs that feature a dry rub to really get into them. Still, the flavor and texture are immaculate, and the wings are just as good. Many people give hats off to the side dishes, with the smoked green beans and macaroni and cheese among favorites. Just be advised that mac and cheese may look a little different from what you're accustomed to, with jumbo-sized noodles drenched generously in a rich liquidy sauce.

All in all, Peg Leg Porker really seems to be a standout joint, even amongst ample competition in its Nashville neck of the woods. Keep doing what you're doing, Peg Leg; people are loving it!

1. The Ridge

What do phrases like "outstanding," "best BBQ," and "the bomb" all have in common? They're terms pleased patrons used to describe the wonder and awe they felt after taking a bite of food at The Ridge for the first time.

Now, we'll admit, our first impression of its website was a bit lackluster. It seemed a bit plain, and there didn't seem to be anything that set these guys apart from any other Nashville barbecue joint. But once we found the menu, we could definitely see what all the fuss was about. The Ridge has many of the offerings you'd expect to find at a local barbecue eatery, but some unusual ones as well. The Ridginator, for example, is a giant grilled cheese sammie stuffed full of mac and cheese along with your choice of chicken, brisket, or pork, and your choice of a side.

As for more traditional meals? Get ahold of some ribs, catfish, wings, sausages, or any other meat that suits your fancy here. Yup, it's all delicious and totally worthy of the No.1 spot on our list of Nashville barbecue joints. Trust us, we wouldn't say this for nothing; you truly get your money's worth when visiting The Ridge on Nashville's west side.