Saturday, August 26, 2006

Great ribs

I rolled into downtown Memphis about 4:30. It was dead, and I figured this was a city I’d be happy to leave. Turned out that was wrong.

I checked into my downtown semi-budget hotel ($112) and headed out in search of Great Barbecue.

There’s been some debate here on the blog about just where to find the best barbecue in town. Rendevouz is the famous place, but it’s been bashed as “touristy.’’ One of you recommended Central BBQ, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get back in the car.

I asked the woman at the front desk, who confirmed a close-at-hand recommendation I’d gotten from another Tennessean: Blues City Café.

Turns out it’s a funky café on the corner of Beale Street. Pretentious it isn’t: we’re talking concrete floors, brick walls, vinyl booths and formica tables. “Put Some South in Your Mouth,’’ is its motto.

It’s a sad time for the place; chef Bonnie Mack recently died of a heart attack. But the feasting goes on, and what a feast it is!

I bypassed the catfish and tamales – both house specialties – a favor of the ribs. Good choice!

We’re talking wet rub ribs here, slow cooked at 225 degrees for about seven hours, then drenched in a sweet barbecue sauce with just a hint of tanginess (mustard?) underneath. The ribs were easily the most moist I’ve ever had, literally falling off the bone (no hope for getting them to your mouth intact.) The $13.95 half rack nearly killed me with too much food, but it was so yummy I couldn’t resist eating the whole thing.

My vote: Two sticky thumbs up.


debbie kowalsky said...

Jealous of this one! Our sons keep kosher, so we rely on our trips to enjoy barbecue. We were there on July 3 (the night of the fireworks) and the place was packed. That's how we ended up at Pat O'Brien's instead.

sara herald said...

So glad you took our advice (we really have your best interest at heart) and did Blues City Cafe instead of Rendevous. You have been to Memphis and other than the Fed Ex tour you can say you've been there, done that. Hope you are having fun>

nancysid said...

glad you found some good barbecue! we had lunch at bb king's on beale a few years ago, and if that bbq had been served to bb, somebody would have felt the wrath of lucille over their head. i'd recommend the legendary sun records, and the national civil rights museum at the lorraine hotel, site of mlk jr. murder.