Disclosure: This site is sponsored by ads and affiliate programs. We may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post. As an Amazon Associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.
There are some paths in life you can undertake lightly.
Like macramé or crocheting, dip a toe in the water and see whether or not you like it.
Other paths are a lifetime commitment, like buying a bird from Parrot Mountain. Once you’ve gone down the path, it’s nearly impossible to get back out.
Such is the search for great barbecue. It is a mission. A quest. A holy thing.
I met a man once, deep in the wilds of Alabama, who plied his trade selling pulled pork to the faithful.
The concrete building – maybe a garage in a former life – was painted white and decorated with an artist’s renderings of the ingredients for a good Brunswick stew.
It would have taken an adventurer with a fairly open mind to walk into this place to eat with a strong recommendation from a close friend or a reliable preacher.
I had such a recommendation.
We didn’t become friends, this shaman and I, but we did discuss a few of the finer commandments of pulled pork.
It is art. It is science. It is about the interconnectivity of wood and smoke and tangy and spicy and sweet.
Anyone can cook barbecue. You take meat and sauce and apply heat and time and you will have barbecue.
But good barbecue? Leave that to the artists, to the geniuses, to the mad scientists with too much passion and too much pork to do anything else with their lives.
So who has the best BBQ in Pigeon Forge? Here are the best places to get your barbecue on.
4. Bennett’s BBQ
Part of the Johnson Family of Restaurants, which has a wide variety of dining experiences, Bennett’s offers a well-run, professional dining experience.
It’s hickory-smoked barbecue served with a special house sauce is what most people who don’t spend their days and nights thinking about barbecue expect the experience to be.
Still, it’s really good – if not especially adventurous barbecue that will serve a wide variety of palettes.
Some places put so much focus on the brisket or the ribs that the pulled pork becomes something of an afterthought.
Not so at Bennett’s. It is consistently a star of the show.
3. Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant
We here at TheSmokies.com are welcoming. We carry no regional bias. If anyone wants to step inside the arena and test their skills, their mettle, then we are happy to let our taste buds oblige.
North Carolina vinegar-based sauce, South Carolina mustard-base, we will entertain all who are worthy. So it is with that spirit we welcome this entry from the flatlands of Middle Tennessee.
Puckett’s roots stretch back to a 1950s grocery store in tiny Leiper’s Fork, Southwest of Nashville.
In the 1990’s a grocery-store man wanted to branch out into the restaurant and music venue game.
His goal was one family location. 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 Wigglies to cooking them up over cherry wood and serving them to people coming to hear live bands.
The meat, served in a Memphis dry rub dubbed Low and Slow, is perfectly smoked over cherry wood. I recommend it with a little coleslaw for that true Memphis style.
This is something of an upset.
Calhoun’s is generally considered the king of East Tennessee barbecue. And it is. This isn’t a criticism or anything unpleasant about Calhoun’s, but high praise to the No. 1 spot on the list.
Calhoun’s hickory-smoked pulled pork is a culinary staple in the region; I’m surprised the governor has declared that it is its own 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.
1. Preacher’s Smokehouse
Preacher’s serves exquisite barbecue made with an artist’s touch and the loving hand of a benevolent God. Quite literally, in fact, as Preacher’s is run by an honest-to-goodness man of the Lord.
Preacher’s doesn’t have a website, just a Facebook page where they post videos narrated by the owner himself.
Be warned though, if you find yourself watching these videos from some far flung place, they may create such a powerful hankering that you’ll find yourself making the pilgrimage to Pittman Center Road to convene with your fellow converts.
“Sauce or no sauce, it’s good either way.” And the people said, “Amen.”
What is your favorite BBQ place in Pigeon Forge? Let us know in the comments.
Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.