Memphis Barbeque – One Week in Hog Heaven

I am a big Barbeque Nut. So one of my favorite towns to visit on Earth is Memphis, Tennessee. The home of the Blues is also the home of some sweet Memphis BBQ.

There is nothing else quite like sinking your teeth into the smokey goodness of the melt-in-your-mouth ribs at Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous or relishing the Blues-backed tangy sauces on Beale Street. If you live for good barbecue it’s hard to go wrong in Memphis because there is a great restaurant on almost every corner. Your hardest problems you will have will be deciding were to start, where to go next and not wanting to leave.

Here are my can’t-miss picks for Memphis BBQ Heaven if you have a week to eat in the hometown of “the King”.

I’d suggest beginning at the most storied of all of Memphis barbecue restaurants, Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous. You enter the restaurant from an alley that’s full of heavenly smells of smoking pork and customers waiting to get a seat. How can you not love a world famous barbecue joint that’s in an alley? The ‘Vous is known for it’s “dry ribs” that use only a spicy barbecue rub and no sauce. Not to worry if you love barbecue sauce — a cold drink of beer with each bite will work just nicely.

The Rendezvous is in midtown near the world famous Peabody Hotel. Head a couple of blocks south to “The Home of the Blues”, Beale Street, and you will find several more excellent restaurants to try. Sitting right across the street from each other at the entrance to Beale are B B King’s and Blues City Cafe. Both serve tangy sweet, sauce covered ribs and pulled pork with a backdrop of some of the best blues music you’ll ever hear. Both restaurants feature full menus, ranging from tamales to catfish. But who cares — we’re here to eat barbecue!

Up the road a bit, past the Elvis stores, the Blues bars and Fed-Ex Forum, you’ll find Silky O’Sullivan’s. Don’t let the Irish name fool you. Mr. O’Sullivan knows his barbecue. Start your meal with a plate of BBQ Nachos then get down to serious eating with a rack of the ribs. Just be careful with the “Diver!”

Getting out of the city, don’t miss Corky’s and Interstate. Even though both places have gone “chain” and are apt to be full of tourists, both have excellent barbecue and you can pick up a bottle or two of their sauce to take home with you.

On the last night of your stay treat yourself with a trip to the place where the locals go when they want barbecue, Cozy Corner. Michael Stern of “Roadfood” says, “If you have time for just one barbecue meal in Memphis (or anywhere on earth), go to Cozy Corner.” The specialties of this down-home joint are barbequed cornish game hens, barbecued spaghetti and barbequed baloney. All three have to be tried to be believed.

That’s one week’s worth of Memphis barbecue for a normal person to try or about a day and a half’s worth for the true barbecue Fan. But even if you eat barbecue for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can get your fill in Memphis.

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