Trying to find the best Barbecue 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.
Travel and Leisure published their list of The 25 Best Places for Barbecue in the U.S. and I was completely flabbergasted that Memphis, Tennessee was nowhere on their list. How can you write an article about the Best BBQ spots and not include Memphis BBQ? What kind of tomfoolery is going on over at Travel and Leisure?
If you have been wondering who has the Best BBQ in Memphis I am taking all of the guesswork out of where to find BBQ in Memphis.
Memphis may be known as the “Home of the Blues,” and the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll,” but the city also has another notch in its belt: Memphis is the “Barbecued Pork Capital of the World,” hosting one of the world’s largest BBQ Festivals every May.
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, Top10, 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 restaurants in Memphis.
Did I get tired of eating barbecue?
There is no such thing if you are true Memphis native. I can eat some form of BBQ every single day – from bbq chicken, ribs, hot links to bbq nachos. Whether you are at a cookout or one of the 15 BBQ restaurants I will feature each person prepares barbecue in their unique way which makes each dish tastes completely different every time you eat bbq.
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 Memphis barbecue is cooked low and slow using indirect heat. Whether you call 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 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 would be an impossible task. For one thing, we only made a dent in all of the top rated restaurants. Some, we just couldn’t seem to get to before they closed (Payne’s), and some given a different day, would probably have inched out others. Real pit barbecue is hard to maintain consistency. On any given day, the weather, cook, and our taste buds can change.
I’m sure we didn’t try every restaurants’ “best” dish. For comparison purposes, we tried to stick with ribs and pulled pork, and for sides we mainly stuck with the traditional coleslaw and potato salad.
However, there were some restaurants that everything we tried was delicious and what to fill up on was a hard decision to make. The restaurants where we loved everything we sampled included: Blues City Cafe, Central, Corky’s, and Leonards. Overall, there wasn’t a single restaurant that disappointed. It’s in alphabetical order, so you can easily see if your favorite Memphis BBQ joint was one of the ones we reviewed.
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.
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 pork categories of 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 Memphis Barbecue
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.
- 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 SLEEP IN MEMPHIS
If you’re spending the weekend in Memphis check out one of these hotels in Memphis:
- Hotel Napoleon – a boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Memphis
- Peabody Hotel – the grand dame of Memphis
- Madison Hotel – a 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. I would love to hear about any other barbecue restaurants I should check out in Memphis! Leave me a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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