Abe’s | Blues Crossroads BBQ | Clarksdale, MS

Review by: Michael Stern

Legendary BBQ

Abe’s has been sung about in blues songs and written about in Faulknerian novels set in the Mississippi Delta. Traveling foodies know it as a must-eat destination. Its story goes back to 1924 when Abe Davis opened a snack stall on the street in Clarksdale. Today you will find it at the blues crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. (To blues aficionados, this crossroads is a holy place. Legend says that it is where bluesman Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil. He traded his soul for mastery of the guitar.) Abe’s grandson Pat Davis maintains the restaurant’s name and its high-quality cooking. BBQ pork stars. Tamales, a Delta specialty, command attention, too. If you are looking for blues crossroads BBQ, Abe’s is the place to go.

How It’s Made

Boston Butt cooks in the haze of pecan wood smoke. It cools overnight. Then, when a customer orders some, the grill man slices it and heats it again on the griddle. While the pork heats, he hacks it up, but not too finely. The process results in meat with lots of juicy buzz in its pale inside fibers and crusty parts where it has fried on hot iron. Have it on a platter or in a sandwich. Those with mighty appetites go for the “Big Abe.” That’s twice the normal amount of pork heaped into a double-decker bun. They make it Memphis-style, inserting slaw inside the sandwich along with its meat.

Sauce at the Blues Crossroads BBQ

Sauce plays a big part in Abe’s deliciousness. Dark red and tangy with a mischievous sweet streak, it resonates with pepper and spice. Smoke-cooked meat couldn’t want a more sublime companion. Long ago, Pat Davis told us that he makes it from the original recipe his grandfather developed. But he has made one change. He claims to exclude the top-secret ingredient that Grandpa used. “It is sort of addictive, isn’t it?” Pat said with a gleam in his eye. “We once had guys order a case shipped to Oklahoma. They called to tell me they were drinking it in shot glasses.”

After a July, 2021 visit to Abe’s for blues crossroads BBQ, Cliff Strutz wrote to say, “You always hope it will be as good as you remember and it was actually even much better than that.” Cliff took the scrumptious photos of the Big Abe BBQ, the ham sandwich, and the tamales.

Directions & Hours

10am - 8:30pm
  • Monday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

What To Eat

Big Abe



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