They don’t just call us the Smokies because of the lingering fog that rolls over the mountains every morning—we also do homestyle, smoked BBQ better than anyone else in the South. We’ll let y’all settle the age-old tomato-based versus vinegar-based versus mustard-based BBQ sauce debate amongst yourselves—but we recommend you do it in one of the Haywood County barbecue joints listed below.
Maggie Valley’s oldest BBQ restaurant sits so close to Jonathan Creek, you’ll feel like you’re sitting right on the creek bed. Both the customer service and the food here is top notch: from sandwich plates to picnic-style offerings, this is the place to go if you want to try something new, like fried corn. This rich side is rolled in batter and deep-fried to crispy indulgence. For all you sauce aficionados, you’ve got to try Butts on the Creek’s award-winning mild mustard sauce—it goes well with just about anything on your plate. As is the case with all restaurants on this list, the sides, desserts, and sauces are all homemade.
The legend of Waynesville’s Fat Buddies is a testament to one delicious recipe’s longevity. The current owners have stayed true to family tradition for several generations, much to the delight of anyone lucky enough to stop in for, say, the BBQ chicken platter. Their secret is a slow-cooked, expertly-basted method that locks in tasty smokiness. You’d be silly not to try their Rack Attack, a full rack of smoked baby back ribs, but you can’t go wrong with anything on their extensive menu, from the onion loaf to the smoked turkey dinner. Is your stomach rumbling yet?
Born from a passion for old-school BBQ, Haywood Smokehouse is passionate about serving up tender, smoked platters to Haywood County residents and visitors. Their philosophy is simple: if you want to make great BBQ, you have to start with great meat. That’s why they smoke their brisket 16 – 20 hours and their butts 14 – 18 hours using only native hickory. The end result is a fall-off-the-bone freshness and delightful smoky flavor, aided by house-made sauce that’s exploding with flavor. Their menu features a broad offering—in addition to the expected brisket, pork, and chicken dishes, you’ll also find quesadillas and sandwich melts. Expect a warm, lively environment to enjoy when you stop in here.
As the new kids on the block (err, Soco Road), Willie Brooks brings a fresh vibe and overwhelming flavors to the Maggie Valley BBQ scene. With so much to choose from on the menu—platters, sandwiches, wings, potato-based plates, smoked meats and ribs—it might be hard at first to choose just one thing to order. We’ll help you out: start with the loaded fries, dive headfirst into a platter, and treat yourself to a dessert made from scratch. Better yet, take a bourbon pecan pie home with you…just don’t blame us if it doesn’t last the whole ride back.
Just like any Smoky Mountain adventure, a BBQ journey in our mountain towns requires meticulous planning and steadfast dedication to the cause. Anywhere you choose to go, you can expect service that goes above and beyond to make sure your dining experience was exceptional. And in that way, you can’t go wrong with any answer to a vacation’s most-asked question: “Where should we eat tonight?”