There are many different types of BBQ in the United States. Each region has their own way to cook the pork, using either a dry rub or a sauce. All of the BBQ tastes delicious, but being from Memphis, I have a certain affinity for Memphis style BBQ. Memphis BBQ has a special place in my heart and stomach. So, here is a definitive ranking of Memphis BBQ joints.
1. Central BBQ
Central BBQ is the be all and end all in Memphis BBQ. It honestly can’t get any better than Central’s BBQ pork sandwich smothered in sweet BBQ sauce with mac & cheese and beans to go with it. If you want to try something that every Memphian loves, then you need to try Central’s BBQ Nachos. You won’t be disappointed with their tortilla chips smothered in nacho cheese, BBQ sauce, mounds of pork, BBQ seasoning, and jalapeños if you so choose. One bite of this and you will begin to think that you died and went to heaven. Central has 3 locations, so if you are anywhere in Memphis, you are probably pretty close to one of them.
2. The Germantown Commissary
The Germantown Commissary is located in old Germantown and this is the only location that they have. The Germantown Commissary is famous for their banana pudding. And let me tell you this, their banana pudding is to die for. You could literally eat it every day of the week and be satisfied. It’s not too sweet, but instead is a perfect balance of banana pudding, bananas, and Vanilla Wafers. People have literally been known to live off of their banana pudding. After getting his wisdom teeth taken out, a friend of mine only ate The Germantown Commissary’s banana pudding because it was a soft food that was delicious. The BBQ, of course, is great, but you have to stop by and grab a cup of banana pudding.
Corky’s is a chain of BBQ restaurants throughout the Memphis area. They are all over Memphis and the various suburbs that make up Memphis. They are famous of the BBQ sauce and rub, both of which are sold in grocery stores in Memphis. The ribs, though, can be shipped anywhere in the United States if you are craving a little Memphis BBQ anywhere, anytime. The ribs are shipped through FedEx, which is also based in Memphis.
4. Tops BBQ
Tops BBQ is also a chain of BBQ restaurants in Memphis. Whether you want a pork BBQ sandwich, ribs, brisket, they have it all. Their meat is slow cooked, and let me tell you, it tastes just as good as it sounds. They also have amazing hamburgers, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a BBQ joint. But what makes them stand out is their sides. The beans, slaw, potato salad, and fries are to die for. The fries, particularly, are cooked perfectly and are worth the order. Another plus is that they are priced very well and reasonably.
5. The Rendezvous
Oh The Rendezvous. They are nationally known, and world renown. Every celebrity goes to The Rendezvous and raves about it. Every tourist makes a point of stopping in The Rendezvous to grace some ribs before leaving Memphis. But I’ll let you in on a little secret. The Rendezvous is not even Memphis style BBQ. Rather, the BBQ and ribs are served with a dry rub and you can put their tangy sauce on top. This is a complete style of BBQ than the original Memphis style BBQ. If you want to try some real Memphis BBQ, then The Rendezvous is not the place to go. It may be a great experience and the food is excellent, but it is not authentic Memphis BBQ.
This is a definitive ranking, but all that really matters is that Central BBQ is the best in Memphis and The Rendezvous is last. All of the other Memphis BBQ joints fall somewhere in the middle and are equally as good. Feel free to agree or disagree, but Memphis BBQ is the best BBQ in the United States.