Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Central BBQ

Central BBQ, Memphis
Central BBQ, Memphis
Finally, what we have all been waiting for: Memphis barbecue. Central BBQ is known for their ribs and pulled pork. I was torn and went for a combo plate. The pork was fine but nothing special – nothing like that found in North Carolina.  Pulled pork gets you specific strands of whatever part of the butt or shoulder you are getting. Chopped pork gets you a bit of everything. In hindsight, I should have gone with my gut and got the ribs only.

The ribs were nice. For the first time I found ribs that were rubbed before cooking. They were moist and a fair amount of smoke. Again, baby back ribs live supreme in Memphis, not my favorite but these were quite flavourful and meaty.  We are getting closer to finding rib perfection but still have a ways to go.

Sides were unimpressive: onion rings and mustard greens. Both average at best.

There were four sauces to choose from, none of them blew my mind.
  1. Vinegar: sweeter than the North Carolina version; seems to be a mix of a vinegar sauce and a BBQ sauce. Not my favorite.
  2. SC Mustard Sauce: I am not an expert on mustard sauces at all. In fact, this is the only the 3rd time and it was just average. Was nice with the onion rings however.
  3. Hot BBQ: A spicy version of a Memphis BBQ – pretty nice
  4. Standard BBQ: A perfectly nice variation of a tomato sauce.
Ribs and pulled pork at Central BBQ, Memphis
Ribs and pulled pork at Central BBQ, Memphis
The manager, Chris, was kind enough to show me the smoker and see it in action. A very nice guy who clearly loves what he does and loves to show how they make such nice stuff. The food I saw in the smoker looked really excellent. The wings had an amazing bronze colour; the brisket looked heavily rubbed and the ribs, again, had a great colour and a nice bark developing. I was really surprised how moist everything looked. Truly fine specimens indeed.

There are three braches of Central BBQ and we chose the downtown branch out of sheer proximity. I kind of wish we tried the original branch as, now after three barbecue rib meals in Tennessee, I am still a bit underwhelmed. Perhaps this just isn’t my style. But I have to believe there are better ribs out there. And if I don’t go for a run now, I might not have the appetite to try more tonight.

147 E. Butler, Avenue 9, Memphis TN
Phone: (901) 672 7760

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