In a few hours we’ll be driving back to Memphis. We’ve been there twice before, once our first roadtrip in 2005 and then again during INFRASTRUCTURE’s 2011 tour, but each time we only stayed for one night. 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.
View Memphis Barbecue Tour 2013 in a larger map
The plan is pretty straightforward: depart the Northeast and retrace the route of 2005’s Near South Tour through Pennsylvania, the Virginias and Kentucky until we reach Memphis. By only stopping one night, likely around Roanoke, VA, we’ll arrive in Memphis in time for blues guitarist Eric Gales’s hometown show on Saturday March 23rd at Mingelwood Hall.
Starting Sunday the 24th the Memphis exploration will begin in earnest. Having already visited Graceland, Stax and Sun Records, eaten at Rendezvous and the Bar-B-Q Shop and been driven from Beale Street back to a motel by a cabbie who moonlighted as a pimp, we’ll be hitting some of the lesser known local hotspots. Clicking on the map above will take you to our full plan. Some likely highlights:
- Barbecue and soul food – The listings provided by the people behind Memphis Barbecue Map, Memphis Que and Ken’s Food Find reveal an overflowing of rib, pulled pork, hot wing and cheeseburger varieties to choose from. We’ve set a 100-mile area radius around the city that should take us to Canale’s Grocery (Eads, TN), Latham’s (Jackson, TN) and Horn Lake (Horn Lake, MS).
- Music and bars – With a nod to I Love Memphis, we may skip Beale Street entirely to check out Paula and Raiford’s Disco, Buccaneer Lounge, P&H Café, the Young Avenue Deli and other dives in the Midtown section of the city.
- To work off some of the `cue and brew, we’ll hike the trails in Fort Pillow State Park, a Civil War battlefield that still has many of its earthwork fortifications intact.
In the map above you’ll find a few record shops, coffee shops and other local places of note. Not included on this map are our plans for the trip back East – stopping in Kentucky in search of smoked mutton around Owensboro, a night in Cincinnati (where you can find chili-topped spaghetti) and a night in Philly to top off the tour.
— Dan Meade & Rob Bellinger
March 21, 2013