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.
Barbecue is an American tradition that reveals as much about those who make as it does about the location where it is made. These twelve photos will introduce you to some of the places we’ve been and people we’ve met so far.
Known as “Pete Jones” to the locals in tiny Ayden, North Carolina, the Skylight Inn is probably the most famous stronghold of East Carolina barbecue.
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.