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I came to Puckett’s in Pigeon Forge in early March for the purposes of doing an official review. It was Friday the 13th ironically — right before everything closed down for the apocalypse.
I had no idea at the time that it would be one of my last dining experiences for months. Luckily, it was a good one.
The inside of Puckett’s has rustic-modern design. It’s soft, dim, woodsy and has a wall full of records, mostly those of Dolly Parton.
I was lucky enough to catch Billie Lafollette’s live performance. It almost feels historical now since it was one of the last performances for several months. But she certainly didn’t disappoint.
Lafollette is a local musician who performs original acoustic folk songs, and she threw in a few covers.
I just want to let that set in for a moment. I have a huge admiration for musicians who write their own music.
A long-time resident of Sevierville, she started performing when she was 12 as a clogger at Dollywood, according to the Puckett’s event page.
Puckett’s books local artists frequently. Many places claim to love local, but Puckett’s practices what they preach.
They proudly pick Tennessee products whenever possible, including Tennessee Pride Sausage, Muletown Roasted Coffee and local produce for their homemade sauces.
Because it was a slow night, Lafollette came up to me after the show to say hi. Puckett’s is the type of friendly venue where that’s possible.
But as a disclaimer, for a Friday night, it was fairly slow due to the impending pandemic.
It’s not a bad idea to plan ahead during normal, busier times by making a reservation online or by calling 865-285-0155.
Puckett’s review: The food
I find that in most cases, you come to a venue because of the food or because of the entertainment, and although they are not mutually exclusive, one is usually much better than the other.
But that is not the case at Puckett’s. Come for the music. Come back for the food.
Sure, they have most things that could keep even the pickiest of eaters in the group happy: Burgers, sandwiches, salads and the works. But they’re known for that slow Memphis-style smoked meat.
I asked the bartender, as one does, what the most popular item is, and he pointed me to the Puckett’s BBQ Platter. It has sweet potato fries, smoked baked beans and homemade slaw with a choice of pork, chicken or brisket.
He also recommended the Smoked Meatloaf: A house-ground, slow-smoked meatloaf that’s finished on the grill with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans.
Those options sounded delicious, but it also sounded like a lot of meat for just lil’ ol’ me, so I opted for the Puckett’s BBQ sandwich with a skillet of mac n’ cheese. It’s $2 extra for the macaroni substitution, but it’s worth it.
The bun was buttery and warm, and the meat was tender and practically melted in my mouth.
Puckett’s low and slow items are all smoked over cherry wood in the traditional Memphis way, with a dry rub.
The drink options feature more local favorites including Yee-Haw beer and Ole Smoky moonshine. I opted for one of the moonshine cocktails to wash down my tummy full of barbecue and macaroni.
This combination of slow-cooked meat, Southern comfort meals and live music combine for the perfect combination of one of the best spots in town to get some good Tennessee barbecue.
Breakfast is served from 7 am to 11 am daily. Meat specials are offered daily from 11 am to 3 pm.
Live music resumes July 11
Live music lovers will also be happy to note that Puckett’s in Pigeon Forge is resuming live music once again after nearly four months due to cancellations and closures over coronavirus concerns.
The first live musical performance resumes July 11 with the Brad Hudson Trio.
Upcoming musical performances include:
- The Warman Trio: July 25, 2020
- Billie Lafollette: Aug. 1, 2020
- Sara Collins: Aug. 8, 2020
- The Warman Trio: Aug. 15, 2020
- The Warman Trio: Aug. 29, 2020
Music starts at 7:30 pm. There is no cover, but tips are appreciated. For more events at Puckett’s, visit their calendar of events.
Plan your trip
Puckett’s Grocery initially began in the 1950’s as a little grocery store in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Tenn. Over the years, Puckett’s built a name on hosting live, local music and serving Southern stapes.
The dining room is currently open at Puckett’s in Pigeon Forge, and takeout and delivery are also available.
Puckett’s has locations in Nashville, Franklin, Columbia and Chattanooga, Tenn., and is part of the A. Marshall Hospitality family. For more information, visit the Puckett’s website or view their menu here.
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