Find Great Southern Meals in the Smokies from BBQ and Pimento Cheese to Biscuits and Gravy
You’re heading to the Great Smoky Mountains – in addition to the world-famous mountains, the hiking, the animals, the fun, you also want an authentic southern meal- or seven. We will guide you – from casual southern lunches such as a fried bologna sandwich or pimento cheese to hearty farm breakfasts with red-eye gravy and country ham and full southern dinners of barbecue or fried chicken with all the vittles.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a local landmark, established in 1830 as a grist mill. Today, The Old Mill still provides flour for “mill-made” products for sale and for The Old Mill Restaurant and the The Pottery House Café.
At breakfast, every guest receives a basket of mini muffins, Smoky Mountain special preserves, and sourwood honey. For lunch and dinner, they begin with a basket of fritters and maple butter. You are already fully ensconced in southern tradition at this point.
For lunch (dinner in the South), try the meatloaf, country fried steak, fried chicken livers, beef liver and onions or maybe the pinto beans with cornbread or the vegetable beef soup. I am from Kentucky and grew up on ALL of this.
At dinner – supper in the south – The Old Mill Restaurant serves everything family style with fresh veggies. There’s chicken and dumplings, fried catfish, rainbow trout, pork chops, chicken pot pie, barbecue ribs, pulled pork and coleslaw and so much more. Wash it all down with some iced tea and finish with some pie and you’ve done it – southern food at its most traditional.
The Old Mill Restaurant, 175 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, 877-653-6455.
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant & Grill
Drive up to the beautiful and quaint farmhouse and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time and are far away from the world – when all the excitement of the Smokies is just up the road. Roam the grounds before or after your meal.
When you sit down for a meal, you’ll be met with a complimentary single serving of Apple Cinnamon Muffins and “Applewood’s Apple Fritters” with homemade Apple Butter and “Applewood Julep”. Want to make an Applewood Julep? Check out this great “copycat” recipe!
For breakfast, the farmhouse special includes two eggs cooked to order plus home fries, southern grits, sausage gravy, cinnamon apples and a biscuit. Add in sausage patties, apple-cider smoked bacon or some country fried chicken!
At lunchtime, sink into some melt-in-your mouth southern fried chicken, a weekday special such as sugar-cured ham or pork chops with sides of mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, green beans (with ham), fried okra and applesauce.
Dinner is something special for sure. Think Sunday supper – pot roast, angus ground steak, chicken and dumplings, meatloaf. Our Sunday supper was usually dinner (lunch) served after we got home from church.
Make sure you leave room for dessert – or maybe just a nap after dessert. There’s Apple Valley Apple Cobbler, Apple Spice Cake with Rum Sauce and Ole Timey Cola Cake.
Huck Finn’s Catfish
Family owned since 1995, Huck Finn’s Catfish is famous for it’s all-you-can eat catfish and chicken dinners.
All dinner are served with all-you-can-eat vittles. What are vittles? They are side dishes. In this case – coleslaw, made from scratch baked white beans, French fries or homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, Huck Finn’s signature hushpuppies and dill pickles & onions slices. I love a hushpuppy. If you have never had one, don’t miss out. Cooked dark brown. Made of cornmeal, the crispy balls of goodness are soft and fluffy inside. I like to dip them in cocktail sauce but others like ketchup. I won’t judge.
Also on the menu are country fried steak, grilled chicken, frog legs, fried & grilled shrimp, rib eye steak and chicken livers and more.
Huck Finn’s Catfish, 3330 Parkway. Pigeon Forge, 865-429-3353
Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen
Television personality and cooking show host Paula Deen was born in George and cooks like it. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, her Family Kitchen at The Island in Pigeon Forge serves up a family-style spread of down-home dishes to be shared by the table.
Your group chooses items from each category to share. For breakfast, that means 3 down-home dishes, one meat and two breakfast treats.
Down-home dishes include breakfast casserole (yes, southerners even make casseroles for breakfast!), scrambled eggs, sweet pigs in a blanket (that would be sausage wrapped in pastry!) and chicken and biscuits.
Black Pepper Bacon – Applewood smoked bacon glazed with brown sugar and cracked pepper, thick-sliced country ham and hand-pattied breakfast sausage are among the meat options. Breakfast treats include creamy hash-brown casserole, country fried potatoes, biscuits and sausage gravy and southwest cheesy grits.
Lunch and dinner work similarly but with items such as Grandmama Paul’s Fried Green Tomatoes, flash-fried okra and “Shore is Good,” a seafood dip bubbling-hot creaminess that is loaded with Gulf shrimp and Maryland blue crab. Also, spare ribs, roast chicken, pot roast, broccoli casserole, collard greens, corn casserole and black-eyed peas.
Desserts (you don’t have to share these) includes Paula’s Ooey Gooey Butter Cake; banana pudding – a southern staple; and cobbler of course!
Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, 131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge, 865-366-1510.
Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
A trip to the South isn’t right without barbecue. Tennessee barbecue is known for ribs and pulled pork. Rubs and sauces are used. If a barbecue sauce is used it is a vinegary, tomato- and mustard-based finger-lickin’ concoction.
At Bennett’s, meets are hickory smoked over a pit. Pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork and beef briskets are basted in Bennett’s own special sauce and smoked over hickory wood for as long as 14 hours.
There are fabulous sandwiches but dinner platters come with bread and two sides: coleslaw, deep fried corn, French fries, green beans, potato salad, spicy mac & cheese, or barbecue beans.
Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, 2910 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, (865)429-2200 AND 714 River Road, Gatlinburg, (865)436-2400.
Corky’s Ribs & BBQ
At Corky’s, Memphis meats are the tradition; Corky’s started there more than 30 years ago. Meats are slow cooked over hickory and charcoal. Each slab of ribs is trimmed to tight specifications, and every pork shoulder is hand pulled.
Corky’s, 3584 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, (865) 453-7427
Granny Ogle’s Ham and Beans
Located in Craftsman Valley at Dollywood, Granny Ogle’s offers up a taste of my childhood in platefuls of ham and pinto beans. Break up some fresh cornbread and add some hot sauce and I am home. You will be too – because southern hospitality means making someone feel like they are part of the family.
Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘n’ Beans also offer Beef Pot Roast skillet, Meatloaf Stacker and pit ham. Southern sides include mashed potatoes, turnip greens and cole slaw.
Puckett’s roots stretch back to the 1950’s and a little grocery store in the village of Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Six restaurants later, Puckett’s has built a name on hosting live, local musical acts and serving Southern staples of comfort food classics, like the meat & 3 specials and our famous slow-smoked barbecue.
Among the appetizers are pimento cheese bites – my mouth is watering just thinking about these; fried green tomatoes and cherry smoked wings.
Meat & 3 specials are exactly what they sound like – meat of the day and three sides.
Among the sides are skillet mac n’ cheese, sweet potato fries, coleslaw, collard greens, potato salad, smoked baked beans, southern green beans and cowboy caviar.
Enjoy a fried green tomato sandwich BLT, pulled pork sliders, redneck burritos – Cherry wood-smoked pulled pork, baked beans and slaw wrapped in a large flour tortilla, smoked meatloaf. Or try it all in “THE WHOLE FARM ‑ TO SHARE…OR NOT:
beef brisket, pulled pork, BBQ chicken and baby back ribs served with smoked baked beans, collard greens and coleslaw.
There’s also PIGGY MAC: cherry wood-smoked pulled pork in an iron skillet, topped with white cheddar mac n’ cheese and biscuit crumbs; shrimp and grits; blackened jumbo shrimp over Cajun seasoned white cheddar Weisenberger grits, drizzled with our BBQ sauce and topped with collard greens. Yum!
For dessert, cobbler of the day (a true southern tradition – my favorite growing up was blackberry cobbler) or try a Deep-Fried Brownie Sundae- scratch-made fudge brownie deep-fried and topped with vanilla ice cream, toasted pecans, candied bacon and chocolate & caramel sauces.
Puckett’s Grocery, 4480 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, (865) 285-0155.
Book a Smoky Mountain Cabin for a Full Southern Vacation
After all the Southern goodness – and desserts – head home to a beautiful Smoky Mountain cabin to relax and nap and play and get ready for your next meal. Sit in a hot tub and enjoy the spectacular view, watch a movie in one of our movie theater cabins.
Browse all of our cabins over on our web site or give our friendly Reservations Team a call at (800) 204-5169 and let them help you create the vacation of a lifetime.
Check out our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide for more adventures. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.