Memphis Barbecue

I totally forgot to post pics from our last trip to Memphis! There are three things everybody has to do in Memphis – stay at the Peabody Hotel (we stayed there about four years ago), go to Graceland (ah, love it), and eat barbecue.

We were there just for an afternoon, but we managed to try two different barbecue places we hadn’t been to before. There are about seven or eight “main” barbecue places that people love for different reasons…Payne’s, Central, Cozy Corner, Bar-B-Q Shop, Interstate, the Rendezvous (some people don’t consider this real barbecue because the ribs are cooked over charcoal for just a couple of hours. I agree, but I’d still like to try it.), A&R, and Corky’s (which for some reason, lots of people have a bad opinion about, but that may just stem from the fact that they are SO successful rather than being an old beat-down bbq joint which is much easier to love. I thought it was pretty good.). There are probably another ten that deserve to be listed, but I think the main ones are named above.

This is Payne’s Bar-B-Q (1762 Lamar, 901.272.1523):

Payne's Bar-B-Q, Memphis TN

It’s not one of those cutesy barbecue places with pig pictures and piggy stuffed animals everywhere. It’s pretty spartan and a little dark…but the important part is the barbecue. This is their sandwich, with slaw on it. In Memphis, barbecue sandwiches come with slaw on them – you don’t even have to ask – and that is some strange-colored yellow slaw, too! Almost like relish:

Barbecue Sandwich from Payne's in Memphis, TN

The sandwich was good…Av and I each had a half of this one since we wanted to go to one more place before we left and didn’t want to get full. I did eat most of one of their apple fried pies, though, and it was *soooo good*. Soooo good:

Fried (Apple) Pie, Payne's Bar-B-Q, Memphis TN

After a little shopping, later that afternoon we went to Central BBQ (2249 Central Ave, 901.272.9377):

Central BBQ, Memphis TN

We shared a half slab, half dry and half wet. They were just okay. One of the different things you can get at Central is their BBQ chips, which are pretty good.

Wet & Dry Ribs, BBQ Chips, and 'Tata Salad, Central BBQ, Memphis TN

We agreed, though, that there is just as good and much better barbecue within five minutes of our house and everywhere else in Alabama (and let’s not forget our beloved Miss Leatha in Hattiesburg too). I love that Memphis has such a good barbecue reputation though, because it gets people who live in places that don’t have it to try it. It’d be like going to Chicago and not having deep-dish pizza. Or coming to Alabama and not having fried chicken, collards, and cornbread. So barbecue being Memphis’ culinary claim to fame is a good thing.

One other thing about Memphis that does make it stand apart is bbq spaghetti – I had it once at Corky’s. It’s spaghetti noodles with bbq sauce (and some other things) in it. There’s a pic on Flickr of it here. One person commented on the pic something like “how can you Americans improve on spaghetti?” and another person wrote “by putting bbq on it!”.

Earlier this month, Memphis in May was held – Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur has won several awards there in the past, but I haven’t been able to find a complete list of the winners for this year so I wonder how they did. One of the funniest things about the competition though, are the names of the teams – things like:

Natural Born Grillers
The Beverly Pigbillies
The Church of Swinetology
Getting Piggy With It
No Pig Left Behind
Pork Fiction
Reservoir Hogs

South Pork

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