Exploring The Local Cuisine Of The Great Smoky Mountains: 7 Foods To Try

The Great Smoky Mountains is a natural wonderland that attracts visitors from all over the world. With its stunning vistas, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder that people flock to this area to experience its unique beauty. But alongside its natural wonders, the Great Smoky Mountains are also a food lover’s paradise.

The local cuisine of the Great Smoky Mountains is a fusion of Southern comfort food and Appalachian traditions, resulting in a delicious and diverse culinary scene. Many dishes have been passed down from generation to generation, a testament to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of the people who have called this area home for centuries.

Apple Butter:

Apple butter is a sweet and flavorful spread made by cooking apples with sugar, cinnamon, and other spices until the mixture is thick and smooth. The result is a spread similar in texture to jam or jelly but with a rich, caramelized flavor that is perfect for spreading on toast, biscuits, or pancakes. Apple Butter can readily be found in The Old Mill and the Townsend Apple Valley, which also offers a range of other apple products!

Sweet Wines and Hard Ciders:


Are you a wine lover? Do you want to try some local favorites? Does the idea of attending a wine-tasting appeal to you? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, then you are in for a treat. Tennessee Homemade Wines produces some of the best sweet wines in the area.

Located in Gatlinburg and Sevierville, this family-owned Smoky Mountain winery specializes in handcrafted wines made from locally-sourced grapes. The winery offers a range of red, white, and fruit wines that are sure to delight any wine lover, from sweet and fruity varieties to dry and complex blends.

The winery’s tasting room provides an intimate and welcoming atmosphere where visitors can sample a variety of wines and learn about the winemaking process.  One of the winery’s most popular offerings is its Blackberry wine, which is made from locally-sourced blackberries and has a sweet, fruity flavor that is perfect for sipping on a warm summer day. Another popular choice is their Muscadine wine, made from grapes that are native to the region and known for their distinctive flavor and aroma.

Another specialty of Tennessee Homemade Wines is their hard ciders, so if sweet wines aren’t your or your traveling companion’s thing, then you can have an extensive cider menu to choose from, including Hard Coffee Cider, Apple Pie Hard Cider, and more.

Mountain Trout


Mountain trout is a freshwater fish that is native to the streams and rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains. These trout are prized by locals and visitors for their delicate flavor and firm texture. Many local restaurants and markets offer mountain trout as a fresh catch of the day, allowing diners to enjoy this delicious fish at the peak of its freshness.

Many local restaurants also offer trout-focused cuisine, featuring a variety of trout dishes, including trout cakes, trout tacos, and trout chowder. For those looking to catch their mountain trout, there are many opportunities for fly fishing in the area. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 2,100 miles of streams and rivers, providing ample opportunities for fly fishing enthusiasts to test their skills.

Cherokee Fry Bread

Cherokee fry bread is a traditional Native American dish that has become a beloved part of the local cuisine in the Great Smoky Mountains. This delicious bread is made from a simple mixture of flour, salt, baking powder, and water and is fried until the bread is golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

Today, Cherokee fry bread is a staple of the local cuisine in the Great Smoky Mountains and is enjoyed by tourists across the globe each year. The bread is also offered at festivals and events, and many restaurants in the area have it on their menu as a side dish or as the base for a delicious sandwich.

ButterMilk PanCakes:


Buttermilk pancakes are a classic breakfast dish found readily on menus throughout the Great Smoky Mountains region. These pancakes are made with a simple batter that includes buttermilk, flour, eggs, and baking powder, creating a light and fluffy texture that pleases any pancake lover.

When it comes to toppings, buttermilk pancakes are often served with traditional breakfast accompaniments such as butter and maple syrup. However, the Great Smoky Mountains region offers a wide range of delicious toppings to add a local twist to this classic dish. Some popular toppings include fresh berries, locally sourced honey, and whipped cream made with heavy cream from local dairy farms.



For BBQ options in the Great Smoky Mountains region, Hungry Bear BBQ and Bennett’s Pit BBQ are standout restaurants worth checking out.

The Hungry Bear BBQ, located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is known for its mouthwatering pulled pork, ribs, and brisket. The restaurant’s meats are slow-cooked over wood-fired pits for several hours, giving them a rich smoky flavor and a tender texture. The pulled pork is a standout, with the meat falling apart and the tangy BBQ sauce providing just the right amount of sweetness and acidity.

Bennett’s Pit BBQ, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is another popular BBQ restaurant in the Great Smoky Mountains region. The restaurant’s menu features a variety of smoked meats, including pulled pork, ribs, and chicken, as well as a range of sides like cornbread, potato salad, and green beans.



While dining in the Great Smoky Mountains region, steakhouses are popular amongst meat lovers. These restaurants specialize in cooking and serving high-quality cuts of beef and often offer a range of sides and accompaniments to create a full meal experience. Here are some examples of top steakhouses in the area:

  1. The Peddler Steakhouse – Located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Peddler Steakhouse is known for its steaks, which are cut to order and cooked over an open flame. The restaurant sources its beef from local farms and ranches, ensuring that only the freshest and highest-quality meat makes it onto the menu. The Peddler also offers a range of sides, salads, and a full bar with a selection of wines, beers, and cocktails.
  2. Alamo Steakhouse – With locations in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, Tennessee, the Alamo Steakhouse is a popular destination for meat lovers in the Great Smoky Mountains region. The restaurant’s steaks are hand-cut and aged for 28 days, ensuring maximum tenderness and flavor. The Alamo also offers a range of appetizers, sides, desserts, and signature cocktails.


The Great Smoky Mountains region is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide variety of local cuisine that reflects the area’s rich history and cultural heritage. The entire region covering more than 500,000 acres is a foodie’s dream come true, with a wealth of local cuisine that is sure to delight and satisfy. Whether you’re a visitor or a long-time resident, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this beautiful and delicious part of the world.

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