Memphis... home of the blues, mud, sweat, mosquitoes and quite notably, the Barbecue.
If you have never been to Memphis, but your nose leads you down the highway in search of that "world famous" BBQ, most likely you will be mislead as to "The Place To Go" for the best. Fortunately, I am here to help you out.
Most people are turned on to a little place called Charles Vergos' Rendezvous, or simply known in these parts as "The Rendezvous". They're one of the most known places and most-famous for their Ribs. Now, don't get me wrong, they hold up to their end of the deal, and they are a good restaurant. I'm not here to slander. But they're just not my favorite, and I think you're cheating yourself if you don't check out these lesser-known sauce-laden "hot spots".
The other big name in Barbecue here is, of course, Corky's BBQ. It's another place that, while very good, is still more widely known because of popularity and politics. Again, not slamming these places at all. They're fine establishments, and you should just try them all if you feel like meat.
The lesser-known jewels are what I'm here to talk to you about today, though. All These places can most likely be found at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, because not many people miss that. They may or may not be listed in the Best of Memphis poll (which is sometimes biased I think).
The places I am about to list are in business, not because they burn up the advertising sections at every whim, or because the "top hogs" say they are the place to be, because of any popularity contests or anything. They stay in business because they know how to cook BBQ, they know how to treat their customers, and they run a tasty and excellent business. They don't have to brag, the proof is in the sauce, these guys really are "The Pits"!
The Barbecue Shop
The Barbecue Shop is dear to my heart because, when we lived in Midtown we discovered and sometimes frequented the place. It is quite an old establishment. Their recipes have been going for over 50 years, and it's a family owned thing. You can view their history page Here. Everything is pretty good here. But if you're feeling adventurous, I know it sounds "odd" but try the Barbecued Bologna or the BBQ Spaghetti. Your mouth will thank me.
I think my husband first introduced me to this place. Also located basically in "Midtown" near the Cooper-Young area, Central takes more of a "pulled pork" approach, but offers some quite popular Hot Wings, A BBQ Chicken or Pork Nachos, and fantastic sauces as well. I try to keep it to chicken for myself, but I know a lot of fans, and they root for this bbq!
Neely's Interstate Barbecue
The main one is down Third Street close to (appropriately) the Interstate (I-240 exit), and offers some wonderful recipes that uphold the Neely name. A word to the wise though, bring your appetite if you are ordering sandwiches because they pack a punch, and don't order the Large fry unless you're prepared to share, or you're really really hungry. This place has a BBQ Weiner (Hot Dog), and good ribs to boot.
As I said, these days I try to keep it mainly down to the chicken versions of things, and I do the best I can. I have thought about vegetarianism, but I just don't know if I can completely go there... If you are a big meat lover, and BBQ fanatic though, check these places out, and at least you can say someone tried to tell you where to go!