Food & Drink

5 of the Best BBQ Joints in Memphis

The eclectic city of Memphis is known for a variety of things. In addition to being the official home of blues music, the city is also known for its diverse culture and amazing BBQ food. Although many cities like to claim that their version of this type of cuisine is the best, Memphis definitely has reason to boast that it delivers some of the most amazing BBQ. Memphis-style BBQ is distinguished by its heavy reliance on pork, its dry rubs, and its thin and tangy sauce. Here are five of the best Memphis BBQ restaurants to put on your bucket list when exploring this fun city:

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CHARLIE VERGOS RENDEZVOUS: This iconic Memphis institution has more than earned its stellar reputation. The Vergos family has been serving up some of the city’s best BBQ pork for over 70 years. The restaurant still operates out of a basement in an alley across from the Peabody Hotel. In addition to their famous ribs, Rendezvous also offers brisket, salads, red beans and rice, and much more.

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CENTRAL BBQ: Conveniently located in midtown Memphis, this landmark boasts a large outdoor deck perfect for enjoying your BBQ feast. Central BBQ features a varied menu with offerings such as pork shoulder and ribs, smoked sausage, and dry-rub wings. The restaurant is known for its housemade potato chips sprinkled with the special blend of seasonings. Central BBQ also has its own selection of craft brews designed to complement the food.

PAYNE’S ORIGINAL BAR-B-Q: Although Payne’s does not boast the most impressive atmosphere, this Memphis institution has been drawing in crowds since 1972. The joint is famous for its chopped pork sandwich. Be sure to grab a lot of napkins because this is a messy affair. You choose your sauce preference and then the pork is topped with a tangy mustard slaw.

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COZY CORNER: Be sure to arrive at this hole in the wall ready to wait in line. The wait will be well worth your time. Although the Cozy Corner dishes up a host of classic Memphis BBQ dishes, the cafe is most known for its delicious Cornish hen. The piece of meat arrives with a crispy skin surrounding the moist and tender meat and is then coated with the special Cozy Corner BBQ sauce.

LEONARD’S PIT BARBEQUE: This lunch-only BBQ pit has been in operation since 1922, proving year after year why it is one of Memphis’ most beloved restaurants. The all-you-can-eat buffet continues to draw in the crowds wanting to devour everything from pulled pork to meatloaf to fried fish. Be sure to leave a little room for dessert. You will not want to miss the lemon pie or apple cobbler.

Whatever your BBQ fancy, Memphis has you covered. The only thing left to do is to sit back and stuff yourself silly.

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