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Memphis Barbecue Loop


Memphis is a bonanza of world-class barbecue, smoked and served in humble storefront shops as well as booming dinner halls. Anything and everything can be had barbecued in this city, from such oddities as barbecue salad and barbecue bologna to the delicate wonder of a Cozy Corner cornish hen. Ribs are the star attraction in most smoke parlors, available either wet (dripping hot-sweet sauce) or packed with dry-rub spices. Memphis also is birthplace of the barbecue sandwich, aka "pig sandwich," in which chopped pork shoulder and cole slaw share a bun. Warm meat/cool slaw, spicy/creamy, piggy/veggie: the pig sandwich is a mesmerizing confluence of opposites, a yin/yang combination that is now popular throughout much of the South.

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous
Cozy Corner
Germantown Commissary
Leonard's
Interstate Bar-B-Q
A&R Bar-B-Que
Payne's
Charlie Vergos Rendezvous - Memphis , TN
The specialty of Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous is sauceless “dry ribs,” blanketed with massive amounts of a paprika-colored spice mixture that bakes onto the meat and forms a kind of pepper-flavored spice envelope around it, holding the juices in and flavoring it at the same time. Even through the heavy veil of spice you taste charcoal smoke and the sweet goodness of pork.
Cozy Corner - Memphis , TN
If you have time for just one barbecue meal in Memphis (or anywhere on earth), go to Cozy Corner, one of the South's great barbecue parlors. Get the barbecued Cornish hen, or barbecued anything! And have barbecue spaghetti on the side.
Germantown Commissary - Germantown , TN
Here’s well-made downhome food, served in decorator-rustic surroundings in an upscale neighborhood. You can't help but sniff the perfume of a working smoke pit from which emerge some of the city's best ribs and pulled pork.
Leonard's - Memphis , TN
Leonard's is where the Memphis pig sandwich was invented, in 1922: barbecued pork on a bun topped with cole slaw.
Interstate Bar-B-Q - Memphis , TN
A modest pork house serving four-star ribs, shoulder meat, sausages, and bologna with all the proper fixins, including addictive bar-b-q spaghetti (soft noodles in breathtaking sauce). You eat at a table in the simple dining room where a “Wall of Fame” boasts critics’ accolades and 8x10s from celebrity fans; or enter next door and get it to go, by the sandwich, plate, or whole slab of ribs.
A&R Bar-B-Que - Memphis , TN
Just a few blocks north of Graceland, A&R is one of the greats, offering ribs (wet or dry), catfish dinner, hot tamales, meatballs on a stick (!), and that only-in-Memphis treat, barbecue spaghetti.
Payne's - Memphis , TN
Payne's is one of the great barbecue pits of Memphis, known for its "pig sandwich" of hacked up pork, judiciously sliced, piled into a bun with cool, crisp cole slaw. A magic combination!

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