Savor Memphis (continued)
Celebrate 50 Years of Soul
(Continued from page 1.)
Although most people visit Memphis for the music and hope for a glimpse of Elvis, I came for the barbecue. This city on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River is known as the “the barbecue capital of the world.” More than 100 barbecue restaurants are scattered around Memphis. It’s hard to walk a block without smelling the aroma of oak and hickory coming from a pit. Few other places celebrate barbecue as passionately, especially in May, when the town shuts down for a mammoth barbecue competition listed by The Guinness Book of Records as the largest pork barbecue contest anywhere. There are plenty of opinions when it comes to what is authentic Memphis barbecue – dry-rub ribs or wet ribs (wet ribs are served soaked in barbecue sauce, while dry ribs have a crust of dry seasonings). You can get your barbecue in the form of pulled pork, ribs, beef brisket or chicken. Then there are barbecued Cornish game hens, barbecued spaghetti, barbecued bologna and even barbecued pizza.
When it comes to eating out Memphis offers a cornucopia of delights for lovers of barbecue and there is no finer example than the city institution, Rendezvous where 10,000 meals a week are served in a boisterous college campus atmosphere. The ribs aren’t smoked but grilled, and are dry-rubbed with spices before and after they’re done – a style of barbecue found mainly in Memphis. The place is hidden in an alley near the city’s grand old Peabody Hotel, which is worth a visit just to see the famous twice-daily parade of trained ducks, which waddle across the neo-Renaissance lobby to the music of John Philip Sousa.
Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que
The rival contender for local barbecue king is Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que (2265 S. 3rd St.; 901-775-2304). The best ribs, of course, are those that taste good even before you put sauce on them; at Neely’s the barbecue is spicy, sloppy, and sweet-sauced. Everyone from suit-clad business people to laborers comes here for pork sandwiches, wet ribs, and first-rate beef brisket. Wet or dry, ribs or sandwich, savoring the flavor is what eating Memphis barbecue is all about.