Updated: May 18
When travelers think of barbecue, Middle Tennessee might not be the first spot to come to mind. Historically, Memphis has been home to the best barbecue in the state, but just an hour-and-a-half south of Nashville, Lawrence County features its own brand of smoked meat. Traveling the region soon? Here’s where to find the best barbecue in Lawrenceburg.
Named after owner Tripp Weigel’s dad, Hinie’s BBQ prides itself on being an experience, not just a restaurant. With a relaxed atmosphere full of Southern hospitality, the Hinie’s glass-walled kitchen invites customers to peek behind the curtain into what is happening behind the scenes. Onlookers can see first-hand the fire brick oven, smoking pit and slicing block along with the food prep area. The open concept gives customers the illusion they walked into a backyard barbecue.
Photo: Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce
Hinie’s specializes in fresh food that is prepared daily. Aside from brisket, pulled pork and shredded chicken, the menu includes myriad brick oven pizza options, and the homemade family barbecue sauce—aptly named Hinie Liquor—pairs perfectly with every meat selection.
Customers can purchase the barbecue sauce from the onsite gourmet food store. In addition to the barbecue sauce, the shop stocks items from other regions across the country.
Family owned and operated since it was established in 1979, Rick’s Barbecue is the oldest barbecue restaurant in Lawrence County. Its popularity has only grown over the years; as a result, Rick’s now boasts several locations throughout Tennessee and Alabama. The name recognition and longevity of this chain are proof that you can’t go wrong with Rick’s.
Specializing in hickory-smoked and hand-pulled meat, Rick’s Barbecue abides by the philosophy that if the meat is prepared properly, it can stand on its own, without sauce. The restaurant smokes its meat up to 24 hours over real hickory wood, and the pork sandwich and barbecue pork-loaded baked potato are customer favorites. This family-friendly eatery is a great place for all ages.
Shaffer Farms Texas Bar-B-Q
Shaffer’s in Summertown is Lawrence County’s go-to barbeque spot for authentic Texas barbecue. But you don’t have to be from Hill Country—or a barbecue connoisseur for that matter—to appreciate how good the food is at Shaffer Farms. What exactly constitutes Texas barbecue? The process uses a specific method of cooking the beef brisket that takes up to 20 hours. Proper preparation requires the meat to cook slowly and away from direct heat.
Shaffer’s is considered one of the best barbeque spots in Lawrenceburg, if not the best place to get Texas barbecue in Tennessee. Brisket is not the only meat Shaffer’s serves, though. It’s got a full menu loaded with smoked turkey, smoked chicken wings, Texas smoked sausage, pulled pork, St. Louis style ribs and homemade sides. Food portions are generous, and customers have the option to dine inside or outside or take food to go.
Shaffer’s also houses a meat market. Upon entering the store, the first thing visitors see is a long case filled with cuts of meat. Customers can buy custom meat cuts and a variety of homemade items like peanut brittle, pies and the signature barbecue sauce. With Shaffer’s popularity, expect a wait when eating in the restaurant—or stop by in off-peak dining hours.
As a member of the Legends Steakhouse family, Legend’s Express might not be the first place non-local residents associate with barbecue. This spot is known by locals to have some of the best brisket in Tennessee and why it is now called Legend’s Express Brisketville.
The menu is designed for quick ordering but is not limited to only barbecue: Salads, rice bowls, nachos and quesadillas are included on the menu, all with brisket as a meat topping option, of course. Because of the expedited service, Legend’s Express is one of the favorite take-out places for both family and individual grab-and-go orders; there’s also a dine-in option for those who want to eat at the restaurant.