Feature

Memphis’ Super Bowl of barbecue

Memphis' famous barbecue cook-off is held every May, but these four restaurants offer world-class barbecue anytime.

Memphis overflows with “some of the world’s best barbecue,” said Jason George in the Chicago Tribune, and every May more than 100,000 people flock to this city on the banks of the Mississippi to take part in a barbecue cook-off officially known as the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. But you can enjoy world-class barbecue in Memphis anytime. Here’s where. 

The Bar-B-Q Shop
No place makes better barbecue spaghetti—thick noodles, chopped chunks of pork, and “a rich, maple-flavored sauce.” 1782 Madison Ave., (901) 272-1277 

Central BBQ
This newcomer, started by a California chef, “has rocketed into the stratosphere” by using premium ingredients. Don’t miss the barbecue nachos. 2249 Central Ave., (901) 272-9377

Charley Vergos’ Rendezvous
“The city’s most popular rib joint.” Lines can be long. A unique blend of spices coats the meat. 52 S. Second St., (901) 248-4613

Payne’s
A hard place to find, partly because it’s located in an old gas station. If you’re successful, though, you’ll be rewarded with “one of the juiciest, nicely balanced barbecue sandwiches in town.” 1762 Lamar Ave., (901) 272-1523

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