Shuford’s Smokehouse, Chattanooga TN (take two)

I was familiar with the chopped pork at Jeff Davis’s tiny little restaurant, but had been wondering about brisket in town and correctly guessed that they do a good job with this meat as well.

Longtime readers may recall that I’d written a story about Shuford’s four years ago. We’d received a recommendation to try them and I really enjoyed my visit. To note an inaccuracy in that story, however, it’s not three miles of road with nineteen traffic lights. It’s only a mile and a half, with a hundred and ninety-nine of them. Construction on US-27 is still ongoing, however. I don’t know whether we’re going to live in Chattanooga for the rest of our lives or move on in a few years, but I sure would like to see 27 finished before we go.

One thing that has changed, of course, is that Shuford’s didn’t hold on to my award for the area’s best barbecue for very long. Unfortunately, we’ve found the pork to be quite uneven. I made two visits in 2016 and didn’t leave particularly pleased either time. This is another reason why we hesitate to write a negative story here, because restaurants can and do have off days. We came one Saturday morning before hiking on Signal Mountain to see whether Marie would enjoy this place as much as Sportsman’s, and that got settled in a hurry. A lunchtime followup in November was much better, but while I did enjoy my chopped pork plate on that occasion, it didn’t have that standout feel of my first visit.

But Shuford’s is extremely popular despite any quibbles I might have. A co-worker swears it’s the best barbecue in Chattanooga, and when I made another stop the first week of February, I was there along with four retired gentlemen who live up atop Signal Mountain. Davis had taken a vacation for much of January, going fishing in the Caribbean somewhere, and these fellows had been bereft without their usual once-a-week retreat to Shuford’s. “Well, I just hope you enjoyed your trip,” one of them playfully tsked.

I decided to try the brisket. Jeff told me I came at just the right time; it had only been off his smoker for a few minutes and was perfectly juicy and fatty.

This was very, very good indeed. You can try two sauces at Shuford’s, either a mild or hot version of the common-to-the-area brown sticky-sweet stuff, but this brisket certainly doesn’t need any. It’s definitely in the upper tier of brisket for this region, and worth the always nerve-racking experience of pulling out from the too-small and too-narrow lot back onto US-127.

Shuford’s Smokehouse
924 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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