Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House

Worth a detour

Ambience is deliberate dive. Cuisine is wipe-your-hands-on-your-jeans BBQ. Much of the traditional smokehouse fare served at this casual restaurant by the river is very good indeed.

Among the meats, I recommend velvety pulled pork, which is moist and flavorful, presented sauceless. Three different sauces are available: thick, which is East Tennessee sweet-tangy; thin, which is more vinegary, like in North Carolina; and hot, which is jazzed up with chipotle peppers but is not tongue-searing. The sauces are good on pork. They are vital on brisket, which, while tender, suffers from lack of succulence. Sauce helps that. Ribs are packed with spice and juicy enough that sauce really isn’t necessary.

Side dishes include luxuriously cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese, cumin-spiked green beans, eggy potato salad, and collard greens dolled up with carrots, blackeyed peas, bits of celery and bacon. Wonderful red beans and rice loaded with disks of smoky andouille sausage is available as a side dish — or as an entree — on Wednesdays. For dessert, banana pudding is a rich, creamy swirl just right after a spicy meal.

I came at an off hour and got got treated well and served right away. During busy weekend mealtimes, expect to wait.

Note: a second Sweet P’s, Sweet P’s Downtown Dive, is located at 410 W. Jackson Ave. in Knoxville. (865-281-1738)

What to Eat
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Chopped Pork Sandwich
Chopped Pork Sandwich
Hickory-smoked Boston butt is topped with thick tomato sauce, which isn't as sweet as it looks in this picture.
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Red Beans & Rice
Red Beans & Rice
Wednesday's special: red beans, rice, and andouille sausage
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Macaroni & Cheese
Macaroni & Cheese
Powerhouse mac 'n' cheese is a welcome companion for any of Sweet P's meats.
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Greens & Things
Greens & Things
Not just collard greens, but "greens & things," including carrots, black-eyed peas, celery, and bacon
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Ribs
Modestly-flavored ribs are tender and easy to eat. This is the 3-bone quarter-rack that comes on a sampler tray.
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Brisket
Tennessee brisket is tender, but needs sauce to attain taste and succulence.
Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House, Banana Pudding
Banana Pudding
Swirly, creamy banana pudding is heavenly dessert.
Directions and Hours
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 46 min total driving
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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