Tom’s had been on my radar for the last couple of years, and I just could never find the time to get over there. Well, today was the day.
Tom’s Blue Moon BBQ is known all around the Lebanon, TN area for having the best BBQ in town. The restaurant is bright, friendly, and clean. The air has that smell of wood smoke. As you walk in the side door you are greeted right away with a big, “Howdy! Welcome to Blue Moon BBQ.”
The menu board is right above the ordering station, and right in front of you lays this huge hunk of smoked brisket, ready to be sliced to your satisfaction. There are many meat choices available at Blue Moon, from pulled pork, brisket, and sausage, to chicken, turkey, bologna, ribs, and catfish.
The side dishes are true Southern delights, such as barbecue beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, broccoli casserole, coleslaw, potato salad, fresh-cut fries, turnip greens, fried okra, fried corn on the cob, fried green tomatoes, sweet potato waffle fries, and other vegetables of the day. The side dishes are just like your old Southern granny made years ago. The freshness comes through in every dish.
The meats are the true stars of any meal here. The brisket is smokey, tender, and juicy. The pulled pork? Moist and full of bark bits, with a delightful smokiness. After placing my order for pulled pork and brisket, with mac ‘n’ cheese and potato salad, I was asked, “Corn bread or Texas toast?” I told the man, “Corn bread please!” He reached into the cooler and brought out a mixing bowl full of corn meal batter, which he poured right on to a hot flat top. “I will bring the corn bread out to you in about three minutes.” You can’t beat fresh and hot Johnny Cakes.
The meat did not need any sauces, and it didn’t need salt or pepper; it was absolutely perfect as it was. Tom’s does offer a choice of four styles of sauce: #1 Carolina Mustard Sauce, full of zing and bite; #2 Carolina Vinegar Sauce, with enough red pepper flakes to make the sauce bite back; #3 Sweet and Sassy, a western Tennessee-style sauce with just the right amount of sweet and sour that makes you lick your lips; and #4 Sweet and Spicy, which tastes similar to the Sweet and Sassy until you realize that your tongue is starting to go numb and your throat is tingling: perfection in a squeeze bottle.
Then there is dessert, and what BBQ joint would be complete without homemade banana puddin’? This bowl full of heavenly delight is made from scratch, with milk and cream, corn starch, sugar, banana, and vanilla, with Nilla wafers throughout. Every bite makes you want more and more.
Tom is usually around somewhere, and Toby is his right hand man. They both make you feel right at home and really know how to take care of their customers. Tom will wander by and ask you how your meal is or ask about your day or family. This place is a real down-to-earth homestyle BBQ joint.
I wondered out loud about why they open at 6:00 am and was told, “That’s when the traffic starts and the meat is just coming out of the smoker. People stop by for sandwiches and meat by the pound for lunch.”
Tom’s Blue Moon BBQ is worth the trip for some of the best BBQ I have ever eaten.