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 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.
Payne’s charcoal-smoked fare is a standout example of Memphis barbecue, and no trip would be complete without it. And visiting Payne’s is a trip in itself.
We thought A&R’s had served us the best ribs in Memphis, but the pitmaster thought he could do better. That craftsmanlike drive toward quality made him want his customers to experience the best his restaurant had to offer.
We know that the area around Memphis is rich with barbecue and music and this time we’ll be staying there for close to a full week to find as much of it as we can.