Cuisine - American, Places - Massachusetts

Review: Tennessee’s Barbecue

Tennessee's Barbecue ExteriorI’m pleased to announce the winner of the latest edition of our “Write the Caption” challenge is Sheri Wagner with “We have to stop meating like this.” Sheri, please email me at so we can arrange how to get you your prize of freshly made baked goods.

Now, you can find that cute piggy and chicken duo from the photo at the Peabody location of Tennessee’s Barbecue located on Route 114.

Harry Potter TicketWe actually made our BBQ pilgrimage back this summer when we were headed to the premiere of the last installment of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Pt. 2.” So we were hoping for a magical meal.

Interior of Tennessee's Barbecue in PeabodyThis “fast food” location has ample seating and lots of windows. The vibe is like you’re either at a flea market with tons of retro metal signs or in someone’s garage that should be on an episode of “Hoarders.”

Tennessee's interiorYou order at a counter and wait for your order to get pulled together. The menu has all of the standard barbecue fare – beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and ribs. There are also wings and burritos; plus, sides like baked beans, mac and cheese, candied yams, corn bread, baked sweet potato and cole slaw.

Soda fountain at Tennessee's barbecue The restaurant offers their own brand of sodas – cola, diet, watermelon, orange and root beer.

We had heard such great reviews about Tennessee’s from friends, and they are award-winning from “Best of Boston” to representing Massachusetts at the Jack Daniels’ World BBQ Championships. Needless to say, our expectations were high.

Pulled pork sandwichBrett ordered the North Carolina Pork sandwich along with beans and cole slaw. Very traditional. The pork was moist and tangy with a tinge of spice. He needed several napkins to wipe away the resulting “spicy sniffles.”

Beef brisket at Tennessee's barbecueI ordered the beef brisket platter that comes with a choice of three sides – corn bread, mac and cheese, and a sweet potato. First, the entire plate was cold. There’s no reason for mac and cheese or brisket to come out from the kitchen lukewarm during the dinner rush. That said, the pasta had a great crust but was to that strange congealed stage. The beef was tender and smoky, served over a slice of white bread. You can get extra sauce to slather on your meat – either sweet or spicy – from large metal canisters.  But the best part of the meal for me was the crumbly corn bread. It had just the right amount of sweetness and it wasn’t too dry.

I still have hope for Tennessee’s Barbecue so we will be back to give it another try. I’m a firm believer that any restaurant can have an off-night. So as I grab my wand and conjure up a little Harry Potter magic, “Accio Great BBQ.”

Find out more about Tennessee’s Barbecue at They have five locations throughout Massachusetts.


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