Memphis is a city where streams of BBQ sauce are flowing through the streets. It might even be on tap at bars.
Along with Kansas City, the city’s barbecue is a style all it’s own. You’ll see a Memphis BBQ sandwich on menus throughout the United States. By definition, it’s a paprika-based rub on baby back pork ribs or a wet sauce of ketchup, vinegar and a bit of mustard on pork shoulder. The meat is chopped into chunks, tossed on white bread or a kaiser roll and then topped with a creamy or vinegar-based cole slaw. Finally, the sauce and the pickles are served on the side.
In any event, with my side trip to Memphis. I had one chance to eat an authentic Memphis BBQ sammich. A quick search of “Best Memphis BBQ” turns up too many results, all from the great sources. I read one article that listed 30 “must visit” joints in the city. Yeah, I don’t have that much time or stomach space.
I was ready to throw a dart at a map to pick a place to go for lunch. There’s no overall, world-known place like a Katz’s Deli in New York, Pat’s Streaks in Philadelphia or Pequod’s of Chicago.
I went with The Bar-B-Q Shop because there’s only one location (it’s not a chain), they have sauce to go, it’s been around since the 80s and the decor is a bit old school and unchanged since then. I chose wisely.
You can hear the staff chopping the meat from the kitchen, and a peak in, you can see a pile pork four feet high. When you order their traditional BBQ sandwich, you can expect it pretty quickly. I started with a house salad and had my sandwich on Texas toast with potato salad. The picture you see above, that didn’t last long.
The way I tried it was I had a few bites with the sauce so I can taste the rub, then put a few squirts of the hot and original sauces. Wash out it down with local craft beer from Ghost River and you’re winning lunch. I had to say for a review is “Damn, son.”
The added bonus is the oh-so-choice decor with the wood bar and the countertop filled with old Memphis magazines from the 80s.