Did a ton of research to find the best spots for BBQ in Memphis. Spent about 24hrs in Memphis and tried 3 spots according to extensive chow/yelp research. Here are my thoughts and my ratings and why.
1) Central's BBQ:
- Tried half-slab, half wet/dry + pulled turkey nachos + mac & cheese and potato salad + banana pudding
- THE BEST RIBS. of all the 3 spots we tried, these were the best. best smoke, best flavor and perfectly cooked. When doing research, this was noted to have the best "meat" but I felt the sides were good as well.
- Understand why everyone recommends the nachos... because the chips are cooked fresh and can't go wrong with melted and shredded cheese atop.
- Banana pudding was MONEY! get it.
- Space was fun, bright, not as "hole-in-the-wall" as I had anticipated
2) Cozy's Corner:
- Tried cornish hen + half-slab wet mild ribs + corn + cole slaw
- The ribs had an amazing smokey flavor, the sauce was just okay
- Corn was meh, cole slaw was fine
- Cornish hen is tender and flavorful, definitely a must try
- why this spot is so great is the family-fun atmosphere, we sat right next to the owner who was having her lunch and she was a sweetheart!
3) B-B-Q shop:
- Tried half-slab, half wet/dry ribs + bbq spaghetti + pulled pork sandwich
- Had read A LOT of great things, but was highly disappointed
- Ribs were good, but not amazing. the secret is the amazing sauces!! The hot BBQ sauce was great
- BBQ spaghetti must be a local thing b/c I wasn't a fan and didn't really get it
- Pull pork sandwich needs to be ordered pulled or not it will be chopped. Very tasty and even better with the sauce
- Atmosphere in the shop was kind of flat, quiet during lunch
Wanted to try Neely's Interstate, Payne's pulled pork sandwich but no time
ONE THING TO MENTION, everyone must must must stop by Gus's Fried Chicken!! this was the most amazing thing I ate on my trip, I went for dinner one night and again the next day for early lunch and still and dreaming about it. Perfect and I mean PERFECTLY fried chicken that tastes like it's been marinating in spicy salt brine for days, so the chicken meat itself is so so tender and so flavorful. Not to forget the perfectly fried chicken skin and batter which has a perfect spice and crisp that only dreams are made of. There's a location downtown near Beale street.
For coffee, try Bluff City Coffee which was a great surprise. Their coffee strong and delicious, also offers free WIFI.
We also swung by Pearl's Oyster House, definitely wouldn't recommend unless you have a BIG itch for oysters... gulf oysters, poorly shucked with mud and dirt all over the place. Thumbs down.
Take home point: Gus's for fried chicken!
Central BBQ 2249 Central Ave Memphis, TN 38104
Cozy Corner Restaurant 745 N Pkwy Memphis, TN 38105
B-B-Q Shop 1782 Madison Ave Memphis, TN 38104
Gus's Fried Chicken 310 S Front St Memphis, TN 38103
Bluff City Coffee 505 South Main Street, Memphis, TN