I’m told that there are four-styles of barbecue: Texas, Carolina, Kansas City, and Memphis. So while in Memphis overnight, I wanted to include a stop at one of the city’s stellar rib joints. This is the city where the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest is held each May attended by more than 100,000 food fans. But where should I go?
I inquired of the locals and found that no two people agreed on which place in their town was the best. Clearly, barbecue is a a matter of personal taste and this was going to be a difficult selection Several names kept coming up in conversations. Three of them were easy to remember, because they started with the same letter: Corky’s, Commissary, and Central. But Rendezvous, an old-time, back alley location had its adherents too.
The first question asked when I inquired about a barbecue place was “wet or dry?” One variety is slaked in sauce while the other is dusted with salt and spices. Each type has its fan base. Apparently, some joints do one better than the other. In an attempt to help me with my selection, a reasoned discussion would ensue as to which place was best.
But none of my advisers got overly passionate about their favorite rib restaurant. In fact, some suggested I might want to try several places until I found the right one for me. I didn’t have that luxury on this trip. Based on location, we picked Central BBQ. It’s hard not to be within range of Central, when they have three sites around the city. They’re considered by some to be the “new kid on the block,” since they’ve only been around for the last five years, but they keep winning barbecue competitions.
For those living far from the city’s historic rib kitchens, Corky’s and Rendezvous offer overnight delivery to customers. No need for that, if you live in St. Louis. Here we’re blessed with the award-winning Pappy’s Smokehouse Memphis-style barbecue and it doesn’t get any better than that.