Grubbing in Memphis

central2The number of weddings that I attend every year is downright staggering. I guess it is a trapping of two extroverts marrying one another – it seems that rarely a month or two goes by without an out of town wedding eating up a weekend. And of course, as luck would have it, virtually none of these weddings are in the Atlanta area.

Despite the long travel times and the seemingly unstoppable barrage of wedding registries, there is a silver lining to all of this wedding business – getting to taste the local food. And last weekend saw me driving up to the home of the Blues, Memphis, TN.

If there is any food that Memphis is known for, it is their barbecue. Specifically, Memphis-style barbecue. And while that encompasses all kinds of pork, when I think of Memphis, I think of one thing: RIBS.

So, like any good tourist, I’ve been to Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous as my default when I head to Memphis, but I wanted to mix it up this time, so I turned to the magic of social networking. A post asking for alternate recommendations from my friends, and there was one standout that I heard from people I trust more than any others – Central BBQ.

And my goodness, my friends were right.

I’ve had some fantastic ribs here in Atlanta, but the half-rack of ribs I downed at Central BBQ this weekend was a nice wake up call for me, a good reminder of where the standard should be set. Predictably, the brisket and pulled pork were not setting any records, but my goodness….those ribs.

As with most Memphis-style ribs, they come either dry or wet, and I opted for dry. The bark was crunchy and the rub imparted a ton of flavor, but adding a few dollops of the tomato-based sauce on the table gave the best of both worlds.

What are some of your favorite regional places for can’t miss spots in Memphis, or otherwise?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

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