Hungry Bear BBQ

Hungry Bear BBQ #2: If You Smell Smoke, You're at the Right Place
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Hungry Bear BBQ is a Gatlinburg institution with multiple locations. The #2 designation has a convenient location at 490 E Parkway, two miles away from Gatlinburg's main strip. You can avoid the bumper-to-bumper car traffic found on the strip by eating on the side path here, and you'll love the food, too. The best part is the portion size. You may arrive feeling like a hungry bear, but you'll leave completely sated.

- The Local Expert Team

The big, blue house near downtown Gatlinburg houses a secret guest. A friendly bear lives inside, but he’s also a hungry bear with a favorite food. The bear stalks pigs and when he returns from a successful hunt, he leaves the spoils behind for guests to eat.

The homey exterior isn’t what you’ll notice when you approach the building, though. Despite the gentle Southern charm of the facade, you’re likely to get distracted by a different sight. This restaurant regularly has smokers running outside. You can see the gigantic briskets and whole hogs as you head toward the building. The moment that you visualize the food on display, you’ll salivate just like Pavlov’s dogs. Pork will dominate your thoughts until after you’ve finished licking every delectable spot of sauce off your now red fingers.

At Hungry Bear BBQ, you’ll eat impeccably good BBQ that is slow-roasted and basted lovingly to maximize flavor and tenderness. The meal will feel like a family reunion experience, only with the finest BBQ you’ve ever eaten. This place is a tourist destination and local favorite for good reason.

Want some meat? There are plates for every hunger level:

Hungry Bear rib dinner
The half slab ribs are cheaper, but you should spend the extra money for the titular Hungry Bear rib dinner. It uses the best cuts of the pig, maximizing the flavor.

Whole slab ribs
Then again, why would go only halfway? With this much deliciousness available, spoil yourself with a full plate of joy in the form of ribs.

Combo dinner
On second thought, you shouldn’t stick with just ribs. The pork special gives you the choice of two of the restaurant’s four available meats.

Pork special
You know what, you should try three of the meats. We’d hate for you to leave the restaurant feeling like you missed out on something. The pulled pork, sausage, and ribs are all included in this package.

Combo four
Wait a minute, you don’t get the beef brisket that way. You know what you should do? You should order the combo four so that you get to try every protein on the menu. You won’t regret it.

Insider Tips:
-You should plan to eat here at off-hours if possible. The location really does have the design of a giant house, and parking is in limited supply. Since this restaurant enjoys a glowing reputation amongst locals, you may have to wait for a while before finding a parking spot, especially during lunch rush.
-Also, large parties should keep Hungry Bear BBQ in mind for picnics and other outdoor gatherings. The Picnic Packs have generous portions, but the real value is in the Family Packs. You can feed a party of ten with one of these, making the food more affordable.