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Barbecue (or is it BBQ?) is loved worldwide, but nowhere more than in the United States.  In fact, before the Civil War, it is estimated that Americans ate five times more pork than beef.  During the 19th century pigs were considered to be a low-maintenance food source. Therefore, pork barbecue was the culinary favorite in the Deep South. Did you know that the word barbecue can be used in many ways? It describe the meat itself, the apparatus used to cook the meat, the act of cooking the meat, or even a party where such meat is served.

But we’re really just here to talk about the meat, right? Oh, and the sauce of course. From Kansas City to North Carolina to Texas, fans take their love of barbecue seriously. Today you can enjoy pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and even shrimp barbecue-style with a favorite regional flavor.  And it’s the regional sauce and seasonings that divide loyalists into feuding camps – fighting it out for bragging rights on whose barbecue is best.

Barbecue lovers won’t be disappointed when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.  The region is home to three of the best BBQ joints around.

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

Voted best family dining in the Smokies, you can find a locally-owned Bennett’s location in both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Their pork ribs, chicken, chopped pork and beef briskets are basted in a special house-made sauce, then hickory smoked for up to 14 hours to ensure every mouthful is rich and juicy.  The menu includes smokehouse steaks and an amazing salad bar, plus a wide variety of barbecue ribs, wings, sandwiches, and platters to please every palate in the family.

You can also get down-home southern favorites like fried green tomatoes, cowpoke chili and deep fried pickle chips to round out your meal.

Starting your day early? Don’t forget to stop by and sample Bennett’s all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. Check out the full menu and get a discount coupon.

Corky’s Ribs & BBQ

According to Corky’s, nothing beats the flavor of true Memphis-style barbecue.  With a heritage of unique flavorings, this Tennessee tradition can be experienced right here in the Smokies and Pigeon Forge. The meat is slow cooked in pits with hickory chips and charcoal. Then, it’s hand pulled and basted with Corky’s special blend of sauces.

It’s so good that Memphis Magazine named Corky’s best barbecue for 17 straight years.

Pair Corky’s legendary ribs with barbeque pork, chicken, or turkey for a great meal deal. The menu includes everything from salads and soups to steak, shrimp, and specialty sandwiches.

Back home with a hankering for that Tennessee flavor? Corky’s will ship your barbecue favorites via FedEx right to your home.

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit –

Texas-style BBQ is the specialty of this amazing restaurant.  From simple sandwiches to butcher block tacos – you’ll find something for every member of the family.

Local favorites include the classic dinner plates.  Choose 1, 2, or 3 meats with two homemade sides.

Meats ranging from classic beef brisket to jalapeno cheddar kielbasa.

Order some meat by the pound and a slew of side dishes.  Bring it back to the cabin for a BBQ feast!

Honorable Mentions –

Let’s not forget to mention a few other local favorites!

Hungry Bear BBQ with two locations in Gatlinburg is always a great carry out option.  With location #1 just outside of the National Park, grab your meal and have a riverside picnic.

Bones BBQ is located just up the street from the Space Needle in Downtown Gatlinburg.  Since it’s off the main parkway, it is typically less busy than many restaurants on the Parkway.  From appetizers to classic meats to homemade desserts, this place is a must-stop on your vacation.

When it comes to bar-b-que (or is it Bar-B-Q) everyone has their favorites. Whether you crave a traditional BBQ sandwich, or can handle an entire side of ribs, be sure to sample true southern cuisine on your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest area information!

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