Pigeon Forge attracts more than 10 million tourists yearly and is famous for many great attractions. However, beyond its towering rollercoasters and countless mini golf courses, Pigeon Forge’s cuisine is the town’s highlight. Food is an integral part of any vacation, with the average American spending $33[a] on food, of which 80% is spent at restaurants. And what better place to be than Pigeon Forge? A culinary-rich town where you’ll undoubtedly get your money’s worth. But what makes Pigeon Forge a food lover’s dream come true? If your taste buds are looking for excitement, then read ahead to learn about all the reasons why Pigeon Forge should be your next food destination.
Pigeon Forge is one of the most diverse places in Sevier County, with a diversity score of 53 out of 100. This mix of ethnicities reflects the town’s food culture and offers its visitors various flavors. Each dish carries its own history and heritage that will take your taste buds on a journey through time. You can experience the best culinary diversity in Pigeon Forge by exploring the following:
Many of Pigeon Forge’s dishes have evolved throughout history as more and more chefs refine each recipe. With time-honored dishes, Pigeon Forge’s food celebrates great taste and traditions. Many of these dishes have been around for decades, and there are some you should definitely try!
- Country Ham
Country ham dates back to early settlers who used salt and smoke to preserve meat for harsh winters. Over time, this preservation method became a signature preparation. This technique eventually refined a distinct and flavorful country ham that remains popular today. It is a staple dish readily available in some of the best places to eat in Pigeon Forge and is the highlight of every eatery, such as the Old Mill Restaurant. You can eat it in various culinary preparations, from thinly sliced to serve as an appetizer or part of a charcuterie board. The traditional method of preparing country ham gives it a deep smoky aroma that perfectly complements its savory taste. To truly experience an authentic taste of the South, you must taste country ham.
- Fried Apple Pies
There are several orchards near Pigeon Forge where you can participate in apple-picking activities. These crisp, fresh, and juicy apples are the star ingredients for this signature dish. However, beyond its delicious taste, this dish is a comfortable and nostalgic meal. With every bite, you experience the familiar taste of spiced apples, reminiscent of grandma’s kitchen or homemade holiday desserts. Furthermore, you can delight in handmade flaky pastries by Pigeon Forge’s best chefs. The crisp, golden crust and the sweet gooey center create a delectable flavor contrast, which makes this dish memorable.
- Rainbow Trout
Near Pigeon Forge lies The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, where you can go fishing for trout. This dish is a delicacy in town and is available in many restaurants. The delicate and simple flavor of the fish is better served simple. You can experience the taste of nature in the great wilderness of the Smokies by enjoying the mild flavor of trout. It is a healthy meal enriched in omega-3 fatty acids and protein that pays homage to the local fishing communities. Unlike other fish, rainbow trout has a softer finish. So, this dish is perfect for you if you’re not too fond of overpowering fishy taste.
Fusion of traditional and contemporary recipes
Pigeon Forge’s dishes have a history that has combined with the artistry of contemporary recipes to create entirely new items. This town’s culinary scene is adventurous and thrives on experimentation. You can always find something different to try whenever you visit Pigeon Forge. These fusions specialize in the following:
- Unique blends: Pigeon Forge has a rich barbecue tradition that combines with Asian-inspired glazes. You can eat a juicy steak with a sweet teriyaki sauce or a spicy Korean bulgogi sauce.
- Creative pairings: When traditional barbecue meets Mexican culture, you get Pigeon Forge’s best barbecue tacos. This tasty street food wraps zesty salsa and fresh cilantro in a tortilla, combing it with smoky and tender meat to deliver a treat for food fusion enthusiasts.
- Indulging your senses: In Pigeon Forge, culinary fusion is truly a feast for the senses. The chefs of this town carefully craft each dish to provide an immersive and memorable dining experience. With intense aromatic and visually stunning dishes, the food here is a delight to anyone willing to indulge their senses.
Pigeon Forge’s culinary journey dates back to the early 19th century when pioneers settled in the region—native American culinary practices combined with theirs, creating this area’s unique food culture. For example, succotash is a dish that fuses Native American and settler influences. It was initially a Native American dish with beans and corn. Later, early settlers added their own charm to it by adding bacon or salt pork.
Appalachian and Southern flavors
Appalachian and Southern flavors profoundly influence almost every dish in Pigeon Forge. These flavors celebrate the richness of the land and the traditions of the people who have called the Appalachian region home for generations. This combination delivers diverse dishes like:
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Blackberry Cobbler
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Pinto Beans and Cornbread
Each dish has been around for generations, and you should try them when you come to Pigeon Forge. From heartwarming classics like chicken and dumplings and buttermilk biscuits to mouthwatering desserts like blackberry cobbler, these dishes celebrate Appalachian and Southern cuisine’s heartwarming and wholesome essence. If you’re a food lover seeking an authentic taste of the region’s culinary heritage, these dishes are for you!
Abundance of local ingredients
Nestled in the fertile Appalachian region, Pigeon Forge boasts easy access to a diverse range of fresh produce and seasonal harvests. It is near farmlands and orchards, offering a treasure trove of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The availability of fresh produce lets local chefs create seasonally inspired dishes.
Furthermore, Pigeon Forge has embraced a farm-to-table movement that encourages using locally sourced ingredients. Pigeon Forge’s chefs partner with local farmers, guaranteeing quality ingredients in your every meal. While other restaurants source their ingredients from different parts of the world, Pigeon Forge’s farm-to-table movement is a social movement that promotes the local economy and saves the environment. Food lovers who visit these restaurants experience the joy of seasonal menus.
Food lovers don’t just desire good taste, but they also crave a good experience. Pigeon Forge does just that by offering more than a delectable cuisine. It provides a welcoming atmosphere, great ambiance, and a historically rich view of every dish they serve. You don’t only enjoy delicious food, but you also appreciate Pigeon Forge’s traditions.