Barbecue: A Memphis Tradition May 14, 2009Posted by Matt in food, Memphis.
Tags: barbecue, Central Barbecue, Corky's, Memphis, Memphis in May, Redezvous, ribs
You could easily fill out a long list of great things about our home city, Memphis. It has a remarkable history in the civil rights struggle, a music pedigree that no other city in America can match (because Elvis really is king, right?), great people, and, of course, there is the barbecue. Sure, I know that there are other regional delights around the nation involving pork products (beef barbecue is blasphemy), but in my biased opinion none can hold a candle to the dry-rubbed delicacies found here in the Bluff City.
Annually, as part of its Memphis in May celebration, the city hosts one of its biggest events of the year, the Memphis in May World Barbecue Cooking Contest, where teams from literally around the world converge in Tom Lee Park to have their wares tasted and judged by a panel of experts. It is a really big deal, believe me.
I thought about this today because our local paper, the Commerical Appeal, ran an article about one of our neighbors who competes in the event each year. Regrettably, I don’t know him that well outside of the occasional wave and “How’s it going?” so I can’t hope for a taste-testing spot in his tent or anything. Somehow, despite living in the area for five years now, I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the competition, so one of these days I hope to remedy that.
One thing you will quickly notice driving around Memphis is the vast number of barbecue restaurants adorning nearly every street corner, leaving the uninitiated visitor perplexed as to which eatery they should try. If that is the case, have no fear for your friends at Words of Wisdom are here to guide you.
When it comes to barbecue in Memphis, the first spot that everyone first points to is Rendezvous, the world-famous eatery tucked away in a downtown alley that can easily be overlooked. I’ll be the first to say that their ribs, which are regarded by many to be the quintessential Memphis barbecue staple, are excellent, but at the same time the restaurant is quite pricey and usually very crowded with tourists.
Corky’s is great as well, but its east Memphis location is a bit out of the way. Their award-winning ribs are affordable and it is usually not overcrowded, but the inconvenient location and lack of parking can put a damper on things.
My personal favorite place for pork barbecue is Central Barbecue in the midtown section of the city. Not only do I think they have some of the best ribs around, their prices are very affordable and their Central Avenue location is easily accessible. Given the choice, this is where I go for great Bluff City barbecue.
What about you? Where do you choose to go for barbecue?