It may not be suitable for the cover, but the best quote about Craig Meek’s Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke Sauce and Soul came at the end of the book’s release party. Around 2 a.m. that night, Ben Aviotti of the Dead Soldiers stood before his mic and summed up Meek’s book in two simple lines: “You wrote a book about your city through fucking barbecue. How cool is that?!”
The Memphis dive bar scene is legendary, but not many people know that. We went out every night, and something zany or insane happened every night.
The night was far younger than we realized. Someone invited us to have a drink at Wild Bill’s, which a local would later call “the last real place in Memphis.”
It was about 3 a.m. and time to eat dinner again. Even before leaving the Northeast, we’d labeled the ribs at Alex’s Tavern one holy grail of our Memphis quest.
The P&H, or Poor & Hungry, Cafe looks both poor and hungry. The whole building looks like it would be the first thing to blow away in a tornado.
The Ribs. Succulent, platonically moist, fall-aparty, infused with Memphis-style charcoal smoke, served with a dusting of finishing-spice and a side of sweet house sauce. In other words, perfection.
Maybe it was the way she said patty, but the patty melt won. We asked if she could cut ours into thirds. She smiled. I wondered how long she’d worked there and been forced to listen to stupid shit like this.