A&R Bar-B-Que

Bar-b-q | Smoke House | Soul Food
One of the best

As we drove up to the smoke house a few blocks north of Graceland, we had very good vibes. All the signals were right: the parking area outside smelled of smoking pork; a big, happy pig was painted on the exterior wall; and customers were walking out the front door with arms full of to-go containers.

At the counter where you stand and place your order you can hear the blissful smokehouse lullaby coming from the kitchen: chop-chop-chop on the cutting board as hickory-cooked pork gets hacked into mottled shreds and pieces for plates and sandwiches. The sandwich is the classic Memphis configuration: pork mixed with tangy red sauce piled in a bun and crowned with a spill of cole slaw. It occurred to us as we plowed through a jumbo that the slaw in a Memphis barbecue sandwich is as important for its texture as for its pickly sweet taste. The cabbage provides such nice little bits of crunch among the velvety heap of pork.

Beyond pig sandwiches, the A&R menu is full. You can have ribs (wet or dry), catfish dinner, hot tamales, meatballs on a stick (!), and that only-in-Memphis treat, barbecue spaghetti. That’s a mound of soft noodles dressed not with ordinary tomato sauce, but with – of course – barbecue sauce, laced with shreds of pork. It’s weird, but in this city, where restaurants also offer barbecue pizza and barbecue salad, it makes sense.

The ambiance of A&R is pure BQ parlor: quiet enough so you can hear the chopping in the kitchen while you concentrate on enjoying the meal. It is a big place with a lot of elbow room. Raw brick walls and florescent lights set a no-nonsense mood; and however hot it is outside, you can count on the air conditioning system to be running so high that it’s practically like going into hibernation. Or is the trance we experienced a result of hypnotically good food?

What to Eat
A&R Bar-B-Que, pig sandwich
pig sandwich
With slaw is the Memphis way to make a barbecue sandwich. It is an inspired combo, albeit unbelievably messy.
A&R Bar-B-Que, bbq spaghetti
bbq spaghetti
If you can eat it, Memphis cooks will barbecue it. Barbecue spaghetti is a fairly common side dish in many of the city's pork parlors.
A&R Bar-B-Que, Strawberry Cake
Strawberry Cake
Lots of good-looking desserts are available, but the bright pink strawberry cake caught my eye.
A&R Bar-B-Que, Bologna Sandwich
Bologna Sandwich
Take a slab of bologna, smoke it, grill it, and then add the slaw, and you have a delicious combo!
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday11am - 5pm
Monday10am - 6pm
Tuesday10am - 6pm
Wednesday10am - 6pm
Thursday10am - 6pm
Friday10am - 8pm
Saturday10am - 8pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
7 stops | 41 MILES | 1 hr 14 min

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…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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