Hillbilly Willy’s Bar-B-Q, Chattanooga TN (take two)

Revisiting this popular restaurant on the west side of town, Marie and I were very pleased by the rub used on the ribs. It’s a Memphis-style rub, which isn’t very common in these parts.

Hillbilly Willy’s came back up on our rotation of Chattanooga-area places that I wanted to revisit, and so the weekend of Halloween, we drove over here among some excitement from our son, who was looking forward to the burger here, which many people say is excellent. I’d eaten here twice before, in 2009 and again in 2012, and was pleased by the experiences rather than excited. We arrived in the early afternoon that Saturday and found the place very busy, and the staff all wearing costumes. How fun!

We got a seat at the last available table and drank in the cute design of the place. Their mascot is a toothless old mountain man, and they serve drinks in gigantic plastic mason jars. They’ve been center-spaced in this strip mall for nearly a decade and have a mob of loyal fans.

The sampler platter here is a little on the pricey side at $23, but it comes with enough food for two, so it’s a pretty good deal if you are planning to share! We ordered the ribs and the pulled pork, with beans and slaw. This restaurant is one of the few in the Chattanooga area to use a Memphis-style dry rub on the ribs. I hadn’t had these before, and heard that they were really good. Unfortunately, these are the “fall off the bone” variety of ribs. There’s a good flavor here, but I didn’t like the consistency of the meat at all.

I enjoyed the pulled pork a good deal more. This was smoky and had a good flavor to it. The sauces – mild or hot varieties of a sticky-sweet thick Tennessee brown style – go quite well with the pork. It didn’t thrill me, but it’s perfectly pleasant and satisfying. Like The Hickory Pit, it’s a good representation of what you can expect to find in this town, a good baseline for Chattanooga barbecue. I think I prefer the Hickory Pit a little more, but neither place is at all bad, and they have big crowds for a reason.

Hillbilly Willy’s has a really convenient interstate-friendly location, so I think it catches more than just the large crowd of locals, but also a lot of travelers who are passing through town on their way to Nashville or Atlanta. It’s easy to see why this is among the more popular barbecue places in town.

Hillbilly Willy’s Bar-B-Q
115A Browns Ferry Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37419

Other blog posts about Hillbilly Willy’s:

A Simple Home Cook (May 6 2011)
Amy on Food (Nov. 9 2011)

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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