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Discover Southern BBQ Perfection at The Coal Creek Smokehouse in Rocky Top, Tennessee

The Coal Creek Smokehouse

Looking for a great southern BBQ place to eat in the Knoxville, Tennessee area? Look no further than the Coal Creek Smokehouse!

We stayed overnight just north of Knoxville last month asked ourselves the question, where do we eat? So we applied the old adage: if you want to know where a good place is to eat, ask a local.

Two local contacts told us to seek out The Coal Creek Smokehouse in Rocky Top. They were right. Wow! This is five-star eating at its best. We eat at restaurants worldwide, and we know good food when we see it and taste it – and this is it.

The Place: Rocky Top, Tennessee

Like many small rural towns in the U.S., Rocky Top struggles to adapt to the present from the past. But charm shines throughout this town and, shine it does too, in the Coal Creek Smokehouse.

Visually, the smokehouse is a bit of a hole-in-the-wall in the country town of Rocky Top, Tennessee. In fact, the owners cite on the menu the restaurant holds the #8 position in Tennessee for hole-in-the-wall restaurants. If this place is #8, we’ll need to try out the first seven.

The smokehouse restaurant is smack-dab in the middle of town across the street from the Police and Fire Departments and stands among a semi-run-down shamble of buildings. But don’t let appearances fool you. Just as we have found across America and worldwide, some of the best places to eat are what some might call “local dives.” 

Coal Creek is run by locals who know how to cook local barbeque. It is, simply, nothing less than spectacular.

The Food

Try the three meat platter! It presents as slices of brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. If the notion of this platter doesn’t strike you, check out the menu.

3-Meat Platter, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Rocky Top, Tennessee
3-Meat Platter, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Rocky Top, Tennessee

For sides, pick the Jalapeno coleslaw — even if you hate Jalapeno’s — it’s that good — and wicked hot! The regular coleslaw is also top-notch in taste. 

Sides, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Rocky Top, Tennessee
Sides, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Rocky Top, Tennessee. The Yellow Dish is Jalapeno Coleslaw!

Leave room for desserts! We began with the butter finger cake. The icing is made Butterfinger candy bars mashed into a pulp with another ingredient or two to finish it off. Our reaction was, “OMG!” Then, we bought other desserts “to go” to our hotel room: banana cake, banana pudding; and, coconut cake. Our reaction? “OMG!” The cakes are light and moist. OMG. Hmm, do we need to move nearby? 

Homemade Butterfinger Cake,
Homemade Butterfinger Cake, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Rocky Top, Tennessee

Go, just go! Eat and bask in the self-satisfaction to know you read a recommendation to do so and that you did — it’s that good.


The Coal Creek Smokehouse in Rocky Top Tennessee is a unique dining experience that offers up its own special blend of southern style and hospitality. Located right off of I-75, this family owned restaurant serves up the finest smoked meats and homemade sides. All their smoked items are cooked over an open fire pit with hickory wood for a truly genuine taste. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal after a long drive or an afternoon snack, you can find it at the Coal Creek Smokehouse. From pulled pork sandwiches to smoked brisket plates, there’s something here to satisfy everyone’s appetite! Stop on by today and experience why so many people love to come back here time and time again.


211 S Main St, Rocky Top, TN 37769-2205

Phone:+1 865 630 1442
Hours: Closes 10 p.m. 
Website: http://www.coalcreeksmokehouse.com
Menu: http://www.coalcreeksmokehouse.com
Editors Note: 

The restaurant reviews we post on this site are for 5-star performances only. If you wish to see our reviews of less-than-stellar places, please look for RoverTreks on Trip Advisor or Yelp.

Tom @ RoverTreks
Tom @ RoverTrekshttps://rovertreks.com
Writer, futurist, and NASA Advanced Technology Programs Executive (ret.), Tom Talleur connects the past, present and future to inspire audiences and action. His writings and commentary in print, radio and television media span an array of topics, including technology security, history, culture, space, travel, public policy, law, and the future. Media appearances span television, radio, and dozens of print and online publications over the past 25 years. See TomTalleur.com for more information.

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