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Memphis’s Best Barbecue Joints

Where there’s smoke there’s an appetite in this meat-loving Tennessee town.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days
Family Friendly

Overview :  For expertly made pulled pork, ribs, and everything in between, we’ve found seven Memphis joints that smoke the competition.

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Points of Interest

1. A & R Bar-B-Q

Prepare yourself for the best traditional Memphis-style ribs ever—flat-out sensational. The velvety, succulent meat at A&R simply glides away from the bone. Go for the dry (not basted in sauce) version so you can appreciate the complexity of seasoning, primarily a result of the residual smoke lingering in the pits out back. The rib-tip... More

Open since 2002, and full of students from nearby colleges, Central has a breezy, spring-break feel and outdoor deck seating to match. Order a pork plate with extra “bark” (the dark, heavily smoked crust). As you leave, be sure to pick up a brown bag of thick-cut potato chips, sprinkled with Central’s special seasoning blend. You’ll be licking... More

They’re not wet; they’re not dry. They’re “’Vous-style” ribs and they’re famous. Basted just before serving with a vinegar solution and followed by a dusting of spices (including bay leaf and oregano), the savory ribs’ bright flavor is a nod to the founding family’s Greek heritage. Rendezvous, in an alleyway basement in the business district, is a... More

Mention to locals that you’re heading to Cozy Corner for barbecued Cornish hen—rich and moist all the way through—and you’ll get plenty of head-nodding approval. Although the grilled rib-tips get their share of attention, it’s the burnished little bird that rules this roost. Jonesing to try barbecue spaghetti? Cozy’s is the place to do it: sweet, ... More

5. Neely’s Bar-B-Que

The dark wood paneling and oversize booths make it seem like a roadhouse tavern, until the aroma sets you straight: Neely’s means business. Don’t miss the succulent pulled-pork platter, served with amazingly rich beans—dark, sweet, and thick with threads of caramelized meat. If you have the stamina, add a helping of beef ribs, a heap of bones... More

A local chain that’s been around since 1952, Tops makes for a nice introduction to Memphis eats. No matter where you are in the city, you’re near one. The hickory-flavored chopped sandwich combo with mustardy slaw and beans will fortify you while you plan the rest of your ’cue odyssey.

Address:
1286 Union Ave.
Memphis, Tennessee
United States

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