#29 of 48 Gatlinburg Restaurants

Calhoun’s Gatlinburg

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Calhoun’s Gatlinburg – Smokin’ Done Just Right
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Bring your appetite and don't be shy. Calhoun's serves generous portions that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting more, but there won't be any room, except maybe enough for an order of out-of-this-world banana pudding or a slice of decadent Louise's triple fudge cake.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Make your vacation itinerary stand out this year by spending it in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. To get the most out of your vacation from the time you get up until the time you go to bed, it’s important to have “food for the soul” to keep you energized and ready to explore all that the mountain landscape offers. To make this happen, fuel up at Calhoun’s Gatlinburg where every bite is a mouth-watering experience.

When dining at Calhoun’s, you’re experiencing their meat smoking history that began in 1983, which means there is no doubt you’ll be dining in the presence of great cooks who know a thing or two about how to use the right techniques and down-home touches to create an award-winning meal. Whether you choose a slab of ribs, a platter of pork or chicken, or anything else from the menu, your taste buds will leave the restaurant fully satisfied.

Speaking of awards, Calhoun’s got off to a great start back when the family-owned business first took to the highway with smokers loaded and headed to the National Rib Cook-Off that took in Ohio. With fierce competition vying for the award, it was Calhoun’s that came away with the grand prize. When they say they have the “Best Ribs in America” they’ve earned the right. Since that time so long ago, the smokers, excellent cuts of meat, secret sauces, made from scratch sides, and hands-on experience have continued to be a winning combination.

One of the main problems diners run into at Calhoun’s is trying to decide what to order. With a menu of mouth-watering choices, it can be difficult to decide. To help with the decision-making, consider one of these delectable menu items:

Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Ribs – These baby back ribs offer a true taste of Tennessee. The award-winning rack is basted with a special sauce that can bring tears to your eyes it’s that good.

Calhoun’s Trio – This is a great choice for anyone who wants a taste of several items. The trio consists of savory hickory smoked pork, signature baby back ribs, and oh-so-succulent chicken tenders.

Hickory Smoked Prime Rib Dinner – Moist, succulent, and dripping with flavor the prime rib is roasted slowly over Tennessee hickory for a flavor you won’t find in a bottle.

Southern Fried Catfish – Anytime you see the words “southern fried” on a menu along with “catfish,” the only thing left to say is it’s fresh-caught, crisp, and melts in your mouth.

Char-Grilled Wild Alaska Salmon – To make things interesting, you’re tempted with an equally delicious seafood entrée cooked just right and topped with butter. Simple yet sublime.

“Ale” Steak or “Ale” Pork Chop – Both equally delicious and prepared using a marinade of Cherokee Red Ale, mustard, olive oil, and garlic. Every bite a morsel of pure bliss.

This short list of what Calhoun’s menu has in store for your palate-pleasing pleasure is just a teaser of what’s in store once you arrive for lunch or dinner. While there’s plenty of diversity in the main courses, there’s still the appetizers like the pulled pork nachos, southern fried green tomatoes, wings, and sandwiches, including burgers with smoked cheese.

Overall, Calhoun’s is a positive experience. As soon as you walk through the door, friendly faces and warm smiles greet each visitor. Service is generally fast and efficient, but it can slow down during busy peak and seasonal times. However, it’s well worth the wait.

When you’re planning your lunch or dinner itinerary, include Calhoun’s where it’s like coming home to friends or family because you’re always welcome.

Insider Tip: 

  • Calhoun’s usually opens at 11 a.m. Monday-Sunday with closing hours of 10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday and 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’s best to call before going as the restaurant does have seasonal hours. During the high season, it can get busy with long wait times for seating, service, and food.