Some of the best ribs in Memphis are served at a dimly lit bar where the owner puts a Greek spin on the Memphis staple, and we're not talking about the Rendezvous.
Around since 1953, Alex's Tavern is a dive bar that's pretty much always open and full of cigarette smoke.
As someone who's devoted to sampling every barbecue restaurant there is in Memphis, and still eats barbecue on a near-daily basis, I'm asked regularly (not just by tourists), "Where is the best place here to eat barbecue?
" While that question's almost impossible to answer with so many varied options in town, I can provide a list of places you should visit for a better understanding of what makes Memphis 'que special.
Here are 15 picks for the top BBQ joints around to start you on your quest for smoked pork.
Dating back to 1922, when Leonard Heuberger opened a restaurant called Leonard's Lunch, Leonard's is the oldest surviving name in Memphis barbecue.
Serving coleslaw on pulled-pork sandwiches is a universal Memphis tradition that began at this restaurant, and it has some of the best ribs in the city, which you can get wet or dry.
The delicious dry-rub is a classic paprika- and chili powder-heavy rendition without all the sugar that overpowers a lot of modern rubs.
For good barbecue it's best to avoid the tourist-centered places Downtown.
But if you go a little south of Beale St to the South Main district, to the Downtown location of Central BBQ, you'll be rewarded with a menu that frequently tops local polls for best barbecue.
And since the sauces are self-serve, it's a great place to sample a variety to see what you prefer among the four options: mild, hot, vinegar, and mustard.