Trying to find the best Barbecue joints in Memphis? I’ve got you covered! I am a Memphis native so I know where the locals go to get their BBQ fix.
If you’re visiting Memphis or you are new to Memphis and looking to indulge in some world famous slow cooked Barbecue you might as well start with my list of Memphis’s best BBQ spots.
Memphis is considered one of the top culinary capitals in North America, Memphis is known all over the world for their slow cooked joints.
Pork ribs and shoulders are the main ingredients at any BBQ restaurant in Memphis and they slow cooked then topped with dry-rub and a rich barbecue sauce.
Here are 15 of the best barbecue restaurants – big, small, hole in the walls, well-known and the most underrated restaurants– to try out in Memphis, Tennessee.
Memphis also hosts one of the world’s largest BBQ Festivals every May which brings pitmasters from all across the world to Memphis in hopes of taking home the coveted award of Best BBQ Pitmaster!
How did I pick the Top 15 barbecue joints?
There are over 117 barbecue restaurants in Memphis so I had to limit the number of bbq joints for this review.
As a native Memphian I used recommendations from fellow Memphians, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Top 10, Thrillist, and Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives to help me decide which restaurants I would taste test.
I started my review of the best barbecue in downtown Memphis and then made my way out East so keep reading to find the best of the best bbq in Memphis.
Where To Eat Barbecue In Memphis!
Out of the 117 barbecue restaurants in Memphis not one made Travel and Leisure’s list of Best BBQ Spots in the U.S. even though Memphis is best known for it’s slow-cooked ribs (either served “dry” or “wet”) and our slow-smoked pork shoulder barbecue sandwiches.
Travel and Leisure’s list included Arizona, Nevada, California, Idaho, and Washington! What kinda Mayo loving, unseasoned BBQ, Avocado toast eating, rhythmically challenged, bitter deviled egg munching list is this?
Clearly, Karen wrote this whitewashed article with her raisins in the potato salad loving ass.
Memphis Barbecue is always cooked low and slow!
Authentic bbq in Memphis is cooked low and slow using indirect heat. Whether you call it barbecue, barbeque, ‘que, BBQ, or bar-b-q if you are from Memphis, it means fall off the bone with ooey gooey sticky molasses based BBQ sauce.
The best bbq in Memphis that will have you licking your fingers instead of using a napkin. Because who uses a napkin when eating BBQ?
BBQ in Memphis is served wet or dry, meaning after the smoking process sauce or a dry rub is applied. Pulled pork and ribs are what most Memphians order but I personally love brisket especially the brisket from Cozy Corner BBQ.
Most Memphis barbecue restaurants include coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad as a side.
What is my favorite barbecue restaurant in Memphis?
This is almost an impossible question to answer but I am going to say it’s a tie between A & R and Cozy Corner BBQ.
Cozy Corner BBQ was just inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. Cozy Corner’s owner Desiree Robinson is a part of the 2020 class inductees.
“It blew my mind, plain and simple,” said Desiree Robinson, Cozy Corner owner and 2020 Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee. “It means that something great has happened to me.
”The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, September 19 during the 2020 American Royal World Series of Barbecue at the Kansas Speedway.
Click Here To Watch The Memphis In May BBQ Cook-Off 2019!
Memphis In May BBQ Festival
Memphis In May is one of the world’s most Recognized and Prestigious Barbecue Contest.
The Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is a four-day competition held in Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Memphis, TN.
Updated: Due to the continuing threat of COVID 19, in the interest of public safety and under advice from local health authorities, all 2020 Memphis in May events are canceled.
Nearly 250 teams travel from around the world and across the U.S. to compete for the title of World Champion and a share of the more than $115,000 in prize money.
The Contest draws more than 75,000 attendees, including teams from twenty-six states and six countries, from as far away as Japan and the Czech Republic to compete in the championship.
Categories include – Ribs, Shoulder, and Whole Hog, as well as the ancillary competitions of Hot Wings, Sauce, and “Anything But Pork.”
If you are looking to enjoy Memphis BBQ make sure you check out the Memphis In May BBQ Festival.
Best BBQ In Memphis
WHAT TO SEE IN DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS
If you’re visiting downtown Memphis here is a list of things to do after you have devoured all of the BBQ in Memphis.
- Watch the Memphis Redbirds at AutoZone Park
- Catch NBA action with the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedExForum.
- Catch NCAA action with the Memphis Tigers at the FedExForum.
- Learn about our civil rights pioneers at the acclaimed National Civil Rights Museum
- Say “Hi” to the ducks at the Peabody Hotel.
WHERE TO STAY IN MEMPHIS
If you’re spending the weekend in Memphis check out one of these hotels in Memphis:
- Hotel Napoleon – Boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Memphis
- Peabody Hotel – The grand dame of Memphis
- Madison Hotel – Chic boutique hotel up Main Street on Madison
- Hampton Inn & Suites – Centrally located near Beale Street
- Westin Memphis Hotel – Located steps from Beale Street FedEx Forum
Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!
I have come to the end of my ultimate Memphis barbecue guide! Hopefully your mouth is watering and your taste buds are singing and dancing for some fall off the bone ribs and savory pulled pork.
What do you think about my list of the 15 best bbq restaurants in Memphis?
Additional Travel Articles
What are your favorite BBQ spots in Memphis? Let Passports and Grub know via the tip line or in the comments, and I will update as needed.
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