Nestled in the hills of Nashville, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is situated in a prime location for some of the best barbecue Tennessee has to offer, located within a 10-minute drive from the medical center. Here are two popular picks that are definitely worth checking out during your visit - these are some of the best barbecue joints I’ve been to. Coming from a guy who’s lived in Texas for four years, that means a lot.
Fast, casual dining with a bar and outdoor seating. Order at the counter from a selection of sandwiches, tacos, or platters, and have food brought to you at a table or order online and pick up in store to avoid the wait.
Like any barbecue joint worth its salt, Edley’s has standard fare like ribs and beef brisket that are delicious. They also offer Nashville originals that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Hot chicken - fried tenders with a spicy batter - is a must-try, and I dare say rivals that of Hattie B’s (a local chain specializing in the stuff). The pulled pork is another favorite for which Edley’s is well known - tender shredded pork smoked to perfection, mixed in with a spicy barbecue sauce.
And to wash that all down, help yourself to the sweet tea - it’s unlimited. Leave room for dessert, though. Edley’s offers a choice between a selection of homemade pies and their Gooey Butter Bar, which are definitely worth passing on a second go at the mains for.
Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint
Martin’s is a solid contender to Edley’s for best barbecue in Nashville. At Martin’s, meats are smoked for almost a full day, or more if needs be. You can smell this sweet smoke wafting up from the barbecue pit just out back as you walk up to the joint.
Just like Edley’s, you order at the counter and have your food brought to your table. The atmosphere is relaxed and fast with friendly service.
Choose from a huge variety of Southern fare - sausage, brisket, pulled pork, ribs, wings - you just can’t go wrong. Take the brisket, for example: beautifully composed, with dry rub permeating tender, juicy cuts of beef marbled with fat and smoked to perfection. Check out the pulled pork: succulent and pulled right from a whole smoked hog. Add on to those mains a selection of superbly crafted barbecue sauces that bring another dimension of flavor. You can even take your favorite sauce or dry rub home with you!
Since Martin’s only cooks a limited amount of fresh food every day, it means they might be out of some of the more popular cuts (ribs, brisket, and sausage) as early as 3 p.m., so be sure to come in early; a good stop for lunch, or even an afternoon snack.