World barbecue champion Mike Long once said “the standard of good barbecue is whether or not you have to put sauce on it. If the diner has to put sauce on it then that means I messed it up.”
When diners step into the Ol’ Town Barbecue on Upper Middle Creek Road, they might notice bottles of barbecue sauce on each table. But these bottles are seldom used because the barbecue served by owner Paul Poucher is succulent and juicy with a rich flavor that needs no sauce. No one could accuse Poucher of “messing it up.”
Originally from Florida, Poucher moved to Tennessee four years ago where he went to work for his uncle helping to run Hungry Bear Barbecue and Bones Barbecue.
Earlier this year opportunity came his way when the owner of the Ol’ Town offered him a chance to open a barbecue restaurant. The previous owner had built a building with an old western façade. The façade featured hitching posts, a rustic exterior and a jail. He had originally intended to open the property as a venue for local artists to sell their wares. Eventually, the idea to open a barbecue restaurant paved the way for the creation of Ol’ Town Barbecue.
Poucher serves pork, beef, chicken, sausages, vegetables and other side items including macaroni and cheese and potato salad. All his sauces are made on site. The secret for the preparing the juicy, tender barbecue is a process that takes as much as 14 hours of preparation.
“I cook the old fashioned way,” said Poucher. “I slow cook the meat at 200 degrees. I use wood, not gas. It takes as much as 12-14 hours for the meat to cook. This gives it a real smoke flavor.”
While some patrons may use the sauce to accentuate the flavor, others choose not to. Poucher keeps the sauce at hand should his customers need it.
“As long as the meat is cooked right it should be plenty tender and juicy without the sauce,” said Poucher.
Ol’ Town Barbecue is located on Upper Middle Creek Road a short distance from the Dollywood employees entrance. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 am to 8 p.m. For take-out orders call 865-366-2944.