In its list of The South’s Best BBQ Joints In Every State 2019, Southern Living magazine, on behalf of its readers, said a Nashville barbecue spot was the very best in Tennessee. (A few months later, Southern Living’s writers reiterated the praise, too, naming Nashville barbecue spot Peg Leg Porker among the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the South.)
Unsurprisingly, quite a few internet arguments kicked up in the wake of a Nashville barbecue No. 1 slot. (Memphians don’t take their barbecue prominence lightly.) For our part, we don’t take Southern Living readers’ opinions as an invite to argue about which Tennessee city delivers the best barbecue, so much as support of one of our tightly held local-food beliefs: Nashville barbecue has gotten so, so much better.
Aside of a few outliers, Nashville barbecue wasn’t all that much to brag about, even a decade ago. In 2019, we’re working with grade-A barbecue that stretches across Nashville and across the low-and-slow spectrum, from Texas-inspired ’cue to pork that nods to our neighbors in Memphis.
Since we love barbecue, and we eat a lot of it on our food tours, we’re thankful for the improvement. If you’re new to Nashville, visiting Nashville, or just out of Nashville barbecue practice, here are a few of our local favorites — spots that are all praise-worthy, and that we go to for different specialties when we’re having different cravings.