These 6 Restaurants Serve the Best BBQ in Pigeon Forge, Says a Local

a bbq sandwich

A life-changing pulled chicken sandwich from Bustin Butts in Sevierville (photo by Morgan Overholt/

A local shares his picks for the best barbeque in the Smoky Mountains

Throughout the United States, there’s a variety of styles when it comes to good BBQ. But if you want the best BBQ joints, head to my neck of the woods. Tennessee BBQ is slow-cooked, usually over hickory wood. Most commonly we think of brisket and pulled pork that has a smoky flavor. If it’s Memphis-style, the popular selections are pork ribs and pulled pork either “wet” or “dry”. In Pigeon Forge, you’ll find a variety of BBQ with influences from West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and even a few that honor our cousins in the Carolinas. Sides often include green beans, potato salad, rolls or macaroni and cheese.

With this in mind, whether you want to find the best ribs, beef brisket, burnt ends or pork shoulder, you have many options in Pigeon Forge. Now, remember, we’re working with geographical limitations here. This list will only include Pigeon Forge and a bit of Sevierville. If you want a list of the best BBQ joints in Gatlinburg, you’ll have to hop on over to my other ranked list.

Preacher's Smokehouse
Preacher’s is located on Pittman Center Road in Sevierville (photo by Daniel Munson/

1. Preacher’s Smokehouse

Everyone knows that the best BBQ is often found in a hidden gem. This local BBQ restaurant, Preacher’s Smokehouse, serves exquisite barbecue made with an artist’s touch and the loving hand of a benevolent God. Quite literally, Preacher’s is run by an honest-to-goodness man of the Lord. Owner Sam Steele started the business after serving free food to victims of the Gatlinburg fires in 2016. Today, money he makes through the Smokehouse goes to philanthropic missions. It’s simply one of the best in the region. It’s even been known to attract celebrities like Jimmy Fallon. Parking is available via a small gravel lot on site. And limited casual tablecloth-style seating is available inside. Note: Preacher’s is closed on select dates, so be sure to plan ahead. Preacher’s Smokehouse is located at 2933 Pittman Center Rd, Sevierville, TN.

a bbq chicken sandwich at bustin butts
Bustin Butts will turn anyone into a barbecue lover (photos by Morgan Overholt/

2. Bustin Butts BBQ

Too bad the slogan “funny name, serious sandwich” is already taken. Because it would apply here. Bustin Butts is another off-the-beaten-path hidden gem. Founded by two single dads from North Carolina Craig and Brent, this barbeque joint will convert even the non-BBQ-lovers in your life. It’s practically a spiritual experience. It’s an ultra-casual walk-up location located next to a produce stand. Although there are a few picnic tables located on-site if you need a place to sit. The menu features what you’d expect – pulled pork, chicken, ribs and sandwiches as well as a variety of sides including mac n’ cheese, baked beans, potato salad, coleslaw, green beans and mashed potatoes. Bustin Butts is located at 1698 Newport State Rte, Sevierville, TN 37876. They too, are closed on Sundays.

Boss Hogg's BBQ
Boss Hogg’s BBQ is located on Wears Valley Road (photo by Bill Burris/

3. Boss Hogg’s BBQ Shack

Boss Hogg’s is a local favorite that is worth the drive to enjoy this barbecue favorite. Travel down Wears Valley Road to enjoy quality food in a good atmosphere. Boss Hogg’s specializes in smoked meats like brisket and also pulled pork. Get the BBQ pork sandwich for lunch or one of their famous dinner plates if you’re visiting after 4 pm. Dinner plates include the BBQ pork plate, smoked beef brisket plate, large rib plate and more. They also offer chicken and dumplings and country-fried steak. Sides include classics such as rolls, potato salad and mac and cheese. Boss Hoggs is located at 1198 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

ribs at calhouns
A combo plate with ribs at Calhoun’s in Pigeon Forge (photo by Morgan Overholt/

4. Calhoun’s

If you’re ready to get off the backroads and have more of a table-service experience, this one is for you. Calhoun’s (with multiple locations in the Smokies) is generally considered the king of East Tennessee barbecue. The eatery offers hickory-smoked pulled pork which is a culinary staple in the region. I’m surprised the governor hasn’t declared that it a food group. Also, if not everyone in your party is up for barbecue, this is an excellent option because everything on the menu is good. You can get good pulled pork and everyone else will be just as happy with their meal, even if they are philistines. Calhoun’s Pigeon Forge is located at 2532 Parkway. Reserve a table online. Ample free parking is available on site.

A BBQ sandwich at Puckett's in Pigeon Forge (photos by Alaina O'Neal/
Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant offers great BBQ with live music on select nights (photo by Alaina O’Neal/

5. Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant

Here’s another table service option for you. Puckett’s roots stretch back to a 1950s grocery store in tiny Leipers Fork, southwest of Nashville. With locations throughout Tennessee, Puckett’s offers a wide variety of Tennessee favorites that go beyond just good barbecue. In the 1990s, a grocery store man wanted to branch out into the restaurant and music venue game. His goal was one family location. So, he sold all of his Piggly Wiggly supermarkets and purchased Puckett’s. From there, it’s the typical story of a man who goes from running Piggly Wiggly to cooking them up over cherry wood and serving them to people coming to hear live bands.

Puckett’s offers Memphis-style ribs, country fried steak, smoked meatloaf and fried chicken. Most of the barbecue is served in a Memphis dry rub dubbed “Low and Slow” and perfectly smoked over cherry wood. I recommend it with a little coleslaw for that true Memphis style. Additionally, you can get a taste of true Southern hospitality with friendly staff and live music on select nights. Puckett’s is conveniently located right along the main strip at 2480 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.

Corky's in Pigeon Forge
Corky’s in Pigeon Forge offers Memphis-style BBQ (photo by Morgan Overholt/

6. Corky’s Ribs

Corky’s Ribs is a chain, but all of their meats are slowly cooked over hickory and charcoal. The ribs come either wet (with BBQ sauce), dry (with dry spices) or muddy, the best of both worlds. You can get a half rack or full rack of ribs. The Memphis-style BBQ chain also offers pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked sausage, beef brisket and smoked turkey.

For anyone in your party who does not love smoked meats, they offer burgers, sandwiches, a catfish fillet and chicken tenders. It’s a safe bet with plenty of variety, so it’s hard to go wrong here. For some of our favorite sides, try the fried okra, corn on the cob, potato salad, french fries, baked potatoes, onion rings and creamy mac and cheese. If you’re feeding a family, try the Smokehouse Feast, which feeds 5-6 people. Corky’s is located at 3584 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 with plenty of parking available on site.

Who do you think has the best barbeque in Pigeon Forge or near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Let us know in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “These 6 Restaurants Serve the Best BBQ in Pigeon Forge, Says a Local”

  1. This is a horrible list. Bennetts, Pucketts and calhouns?? Has anyone been to BossHoggs. This is a list with chain junk bbq on it and unfair to good bbq.

  2. Absolutely correct. Boss Hoggs suffers from only one thing — location. If you find it one time on Wears Valley Road, you will be back often. Nothing fancy and a little crowded, but primo BBQ.

  3. I’ve been to all except bustin butts. I personally would never put a chain store on a list like this. Most people are looking for local places. I don’t like Calhoun’s anyway. Puckett’s and Corky’s are nothing special just standard BBQ that you’d expect from a chain restaurant. Boss Hogg’s is pretty good. And hands down Preacher’s is fantastic!! He is a great guy too!!


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