Nooga-Q Smoke House & Grille, Chattanooga TN

Just off the highway on the way to Signal Mountain, there’s a metal bunker on the right. They offer one of those barbecue baked potatoes that Marie really likes, but they also serve some really good pulled chicken.

Last month, we finally gave Nooga-Q a try. The restaurant, which is owned by Tami and Charlie Smith, is in a funny-to-me little location. Back in Kennesaw GA, Barbecue Street had been the unenviable, under-the-radar place that everybody would drive past when checking out the celebrated Big Shanty Smokehouse down the road. There’s something similar at play here; one of Chattanooga’s most popular barbecue places, Shuford’s Smokehouse, is about a mile and change further down this highway, meaning everybody who wants to give them a try will drive right past Nooga-Q on the way.

Marie really enjoys the blended flavors of smoked pork and baked potatoes. She also prefers the sweeter sauces that we find most everywhere in eastern Tennessee. So she was pretty pleased with this lunch. I ordered their sampler, with chopped pork, ribs, and chopped chicken, and was a little less pleased,

The chicken was really tasty, and I enjoyed it a lot. Nothing else on the sampler really appealed to me; it all tasted underseasoned, without any detectable smoke flavor at all, and I simply didn’t care for it. I do want to stress, however, that the chicken was superb. It was incredibly smoky and flavorful, not at all dry, and didn’t need any sauce. I would gladly return for a chicken sandwich here anytime. It’s so rare in my experience for me to enjoy chicken that much more that I might go a little overboard with praise, but when the rest of the meal was that underwhelming, why not shout about the good stuff?

We were the first to arrive and had the place to ourselves for a few minutes, leading our son – tactless and loud at age five, as five year-olds are – to ask us whether the restaurant was closing, since nobody else was there. But it filled up with guests eating in and getting carry-out, proving it’s really popular on Saturday afternoons right now. The service was really nice and the prices were reasonable. Honestly, there are a few places we’d probably want to revisit first before coming back, but I would not object to more of the chicken at all.

Nooga-Q Smoke House
301 Signal Mountain Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37405

You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!


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