What Are the Most Popular BBQ Restaurants in Tennessee?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

With May being National BBQ Month, we decided to take a quick break from Tennessee sports betting and give our readers and added treat.

According to WorldPopulationReview, Tennessee is ranked as the second-best BBQ state in the U.S.

When it comes to barbeque, BetTennessee.com — your source for Tennessee sports betting apps information — utilized Google Trends to calculate the most popular BBQ spots by search volume from May 1, 2022, until September 2022.

The BBQ restaurants chosen were determined by data from Thrillist.

Here are the results:

Tennessee’s Top BBQ Restaurants

RankPlaceSearch Volume
T1Central BBQ31%
T1Loveless Cafe31%
3Edley’s BBQ16%
4Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q12%
5Butchertown Hall10%


Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in TN. Gambling Problem? Call or Text the Tennessee REDLINE: 800-889-9789. Visit BetMGM.com for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

The Best Tennessee Has to Offer

Central BBQ has five locations in Memphis and two in Nashville (plus one in Mississippi and another in Arkansas), but it was born in Memphis in 2002. Central uses a dry rub and pecan and hickory woods for its smoky flavor.

Loveless Café is a southern food staple on Highway 100, west of downtown Nashville. Although it’s famous for its biscuits, country ham and red-eye gravy, at supper it offers pulled pork barbecue, smoked turkey breast and a smoked peach pork platter.

Edley’s Bar-B-Que has eight locations selling Nashville Style Bar-B-Que. The family-owned business smokes with Southern White Oak and has four times been named best barbecue in Nashville by The Nashville Scene.

Jim ‘n Nick’s Bar-B-Q is a casual dining chain with 42 locations, including six in Tennessee. While popular in the Volunteer State, Jim ‘n Nick’s was started in 1985 in Birmingham, Ala., by Jim Pihakis and his son, Nick.

Butchertown Hall in Nashville bills itself as “the spot for craft tacos and killer margaritas,” but local restaurateur Terry Raley sees it as his Central Texas inspired vision of modern barbecue. Unlike many BBQ spots, Butchertown Hall is not a pit and requires reservations. The smoked pork chop comes with Chipotle glaze, honeycomb and charred pepper lime broccoli, so this is clearly not your grandpappy’s Q.

But any real fan of barbecue isn’t going to trust a bunch of smartly dressed influencers on Google when it comes to smoking pork butt and ribs. And the best pitmasters aren’t going to be concerned with their WiFi service, so Gen Z can snap photos of their food instead of eating it. The Hickory Pit in Chattanooga only seats 20 people, but those are 20 happy people. And Payne’s Bar B-Q in Memphis is known for a lip-smacking barbecue pork sandwich. There are great barbeque spots at fairs and in shacks all across Tennessee. Try ‘em all.

And after eating some of that great barbecue, give some of our Tennessee sports betting promo codes a try.

Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.


Howard Gensler is a contributing writer to BetTennessee.com. Gensler is a veteran journalist who has worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.