Bones Barbecue Joint is a family-owned restaurant. Originally opened in 2013 by a team of local families, Bones was sold in 2019 to barbeque Chef Alex Davis and his wife Katie Valentine. Looking to carry on Bones’ tradition of serving southern barbecue, we have a few common goals that we strive for each day in our restaurant.
At Bones, Our goal is to cook with passion and soul, embracing the history and recipes of our elders and previous generations.
We believe in pursuing the old ways of southern barbecue and Appalachian cooking.
The olden ways for us are time-honored traditions utilizing simple seasonings, clean wood smoke, and time.
We believe home-cooking is a labor of love!
Our coleslaw and potato salad are made fresh daily from hand-cut potatoes and shredded cabbage. Our baked beans, green beans, and soup of the day, or smoked brisket chili are cooked from scratch in our prep kitchen.
We are so fortunate to call the Great Smoky Mountains home, and we are so proud to share our love of barbeque cooking with all who venture into our mountain town. No matter if it’s your first time or your 100th to Gatlinburg, we hope that you come to visit us at Bones and come back again for years to come!
"I knew Gatlinburg was something special, not just from visiting, but from hearing my wife Katie, who is a 9th generation Tennessean from Gatlinburg, tell anyone who would listen how impressive the Smoky Mountains are: what local restaurants not to miss; where to find the best handmade pottery, jewelry, and art (Glades Road, Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts community); and where (the little Pigeon River) to trout fish, bass fish, and what to fish with (worms or nightcrawlers). Katie was a natural ambassador for supporting the community of Gatlinburg, as well as the natural wonder of the woods and backcountry that constantly surrounds us. I was in awe at the views we witnessed hiking Rainbow Falls, Andrews Bald, and Alum Cave. I loved the bracing cold of the river that I once claimed to be minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, though it stays about 40 degrees warm year-round.
When the opportunity to run Bones BBQ Joint came about, I was ready to be a part of a commercial kitchen, especially one that focused on scratch-cooking, southern traditions, and heirloom family recipes. I had moved from Kansas City to take a Chef de Partie job at an award-winning restaurant in Nashville and quickly fell in love with the trade.
Bones BBQ Joint has been a family-run restaurant in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg since 2013. In October of 2019, my wife Katie and I decided to purchase Bones to continue the wonderful traditions developed over the previous six years. We are a locally owned, laid-back restaurant that proudly supports our communities within Sevier county.
With our re-opening in October 2019, the quick, self-serve business model that Bones has used since 2013 stayed the same, but we completely reworked the kitchen. I wanted to do home-style, from-scratch sides, barbeque sauces, and rubs. I excitedly cooked in our pit nonstop for the first few months and got extremely lucky to have the help of my two talented pitmasters Josue and Ruben, who stoke the fires daily and have a natural feel for when our pork, chicken, and beef is just right.
Our food is influenced by the midwestern Kansas City style of barbeque that I grew up with, but Bones is proud to serve and continue the traditions of southern barbeque in downtown Gatlinburg. We borrow tips from Texas; in how we trim, season, and smoke our briskets on hickory coals overnight. We use a vinegary mop to baste our ribs and pork butts, similar to how whole hog bbq is done in the Carolinas. However, our pork is dry rubbed and left without sauce, just as they serve in Memphis, Tennessee.
We proudly serve Springer Mountain Chicken, the first USDA humane designated poultry farm in the USA, located in Northern Georgia. All of the wood we use to smoke in our outdoor smoker is local red or white oak, hickory, and sometimes pecan, wild cherry, or apple, depending on what becomes available. I learned that I was not alone in my pursuit to cook good barbeque. Many friends and family had pointed opinions on the slaw recipe; our potato salad, how much smoke was good, and what type of wood we should use. I learned to love mustard-based bbq sauce that was a natural friend to pulled pork sandwiches but added a lovely zing to our potato salad, and also the White Alabama BBQ sauce that goes amazingly well with our smoked chicken wings. Our sweetest, Bones BBQ sauce, is molasses and ketchup-based and is sure to please any palate. Still, I prefer our Bones’ Bourbon sauce that is spiked with smoky cumin and brown sugar, to balance the heat of the liquor and the earthiness of the brewed coffee, which we use in our Kentucky Bourbon sauce." - Chef Alex Davis