Search for “best barbecue in Nashville”, and a deluge of meat-laden options will inevitably appear, causing many to break out in a preemptive (anxious) case of the meat sweats. But as everyone knows, not all barbecue is created equal. So rather than throwing together a comprehensive guide of where one can simply purchase smoked meats here in Middle Tennessee, this is a list of the best all-around barbecue joints the city has to offer. From pulled pork to Texas brisket and spicy sausage links, these seven standout smoked meat sources are all available easily for takeout, and some for delivery.
Like politics and religion, barbecue is a polarizing topic in these parts. Most locals have their own favorite spot, and for many, it’s the trio of Edley’s Bar-B-Que Nashville locations that fits the bill. The “Tuck special” is a sandwich to behold — choose from pork, brisket, turkey, or chicken — crowned with an over-easy egg, a hearty smear of pimento cheese, red and white sauce, plus pickles. Co-owner Will Newman shared some impressive stats back in 2016, revealing that the original 12 South location alone sold over 1,393 pounds of pulled pork per week at that time. Pro tips: Begin with the hot chicken nachos and a side of jalapeno ranch, then save room for the banana pudding. All of the above are easily ordered for takeout, and for delivery via Postmates.
The Gambling Stick
The unassuming parking lot purveyor of smoked meat opens Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parked in front of Porter Road Butcher on the East side, Louisville-born Matt Russo slings locally sourced, cherry-smoked meats that run the gamut from dry-aged beef brisket and “pigsket” to ribs (limited availability), sausage, and pulled pork shoulder. Seasonally rotating scratch-made side offerings include heirloom tomato and cucumber salad, buttermilk apple slaw, and baked beans made with burnt ends.
Pitmaster Shane Nasby opened his smoked meat source in Bellevue in late 2018. The fast-casual, family-owned barbecue joint serves a couple of smoked meat options: chopped and sliced brisket plus pulled pork with house-made sauces and habanero-infused local honey. Nasby’s takes on traditional Southern sides include white queso mac and cheese and Hoosier corn pudding (inspired by Nasby’s Indiana roots). The Southern shine sandwich stacks hand-pulled pork atop fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and candied bacon with a drizzle of HoneyFire sauce on a toasted bun, and the peanut butter banana pudding is some of the best in the city.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
Pitmaster Pat Martin has made it his mission to keep the West Tennessee tradition of whole hog barbecue alive and well. Having opened his first Martin’s outpost in Nolensville in late 2006, he quickly amassed a loyal following, allowing him to expand (times ten) from his original location. One can’t go wrong with the beef brisket, wings, or wet and dry ribs, but the whole hog pulled pork barbecue sandwich is the quintessential Martin’s order, and it’s tough to beat. Pro tip: while the Redneck Tacos are a longtime favorite, do not miss out on the barbecue bologna sandwich or the brisket burger. The meaty menu is available via phone or online order for takeout, and for delivery in Nashville via Doordash.
The Oak Texas BBQ
This real Texas brisket oasis in Nashville doesn’t have a permanent location (yet), but on select days you can find them popping up at Southern Grist or Crazy Gnome Brewery. Choose from the husband-and-wife duo’s oak-smoked brisket, unbelievable “bacon brisket”, or sausage — but the real move is to try some of everything. Follow along with The Oak’s Instagram for location and ordering details.
Peg Leg Porker
A decades-long veteran of the competitive barbecue cooking circuit, pitmaster and West Tennessee native Carey Bringle opened his restaurant and watering hole in the Gulch in 2013, serving up some of the best wings, pulled pork, and dry ribs around (the latter being called out as one of the 23 essential barbecue dishes in the country by Eater National in 2016). Pro tips: keep an eye on social media for the call of whole hog being cooked on the front patio, and don’t sleep on the Memphis sushi/cream cheese and pepper jelly combo. Available for takeout, delivery, and nationwide shipping via Goldbelly.
Bill Laviolette’s storefront in East Nashville gets major buzz for its Braveheart Farms Prime Angus brisket and (special occasional only) beef ribs. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until they sell out), the formerly mobile business’ fixed new Gallatin Pike digs still allow for easy takeout of Laviolette’s popular meats, smoked over a mix of white oak and pecan wood.