HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure

Memphis: If you had to pick ONE BBQ place . . .

cindynyc Aug 15, 2005 10:02 PM

We'll be in Memphis and only have time for one BBQ dinner. If you had to pick just ONE BBQ place, which would it be?


  1. bridgman Sep 3, 2008 03:35 PM

    Despite accusation of "overrated" The Rendezvous is still a great experience, but not worth a wait of more than 45 minutes. They have lamb riblets that I'm very fond of.
    Cozy Corner has great bbq Cornish hen (much better than regular chicken) and great ribs and great atmosphere.
    Payne's has great sandwiches. The facility (and sometimes the attitude) strike me as a cross between a bbq joint and a Soviet fast-food restaurant.
    Tom's on Getwell & Raines is awesome. Lunch rush is amazing to watch and participate in, like some kind of proto stock market.
    I miss the old Noel's on 3rd St. Great, great sandwich, albeit a sketchy location.

    1. jamiecarroll Aug 27, 2008 08:43 AM

      Central for ribs; Payne's for sandwiches. BBQ Shop is also good.

      Check out recently posted reports/photos of Memphis BBQ on Ulika Food Blog:


      1. Its Still Mooing Aug 25, 2008 01:32 PM

        BBQ Shop with Tom's a CLOSE second.

        1. k
          kpeck Aug 25, 2008 10:05 AM

          one has been completely overlooked on this list!

          three little pigs! i wasn't even the hugest barbecue fan until i had three little pigs. consistently good sandwich, awesome breakfast (if you can handle anything greasier than ck's)

          for ribs, i'd go to germantown commissary.

          for a bellyache, go to central.

          for an empty wallet and little satisfaction, go to corky's or rendezvous.

          1. c
            Choppedonion Aug 24, 2008 05:27 PM

            Neely's BBQ! Jim Neely's nephew run this place. excellent BBQ, excellent sweet tea, excellent coleslaw, excellent baked beans and great service. www.choppedonion.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: Choppedonion
              Choppedonion Aug 26, 2008 12:36 AM

              That should be runs this place. They really do have excellent Q.

            2. d
              DGBunk Aug 24, 2008 05:05 PM

              The one we would choose is our family's unanimous favorite, Tom's Barbeque and Deli.

              We recently traveled to Memphis with the idea in mind to try some of the more favorably reviewed bar-b-que 'joints' in town. Amoung the one's we had a chance to sample (Corky's, Bar B Q Shop, Central, Leonard's, Jim Neely's Interstate) Tom's was our favorite. Adam, the owner, and the entire crew were super friendly. (We returned three times and were treated like old friends after our intial visit.) The service was fast no matter how busy the counter at the time of our visit. Then there is the food. Wow! The signature rib tips were as good as advertised; tasty even without sauce. MmmMmm! The Baby back ribs? Served dry and again,great even without sauce. Just Marvelous! The pulled pork sandwich? The best we have ever had. Hands down.! ( Though admittedly, we didn't make it to Payne's) The atmosphere at Tom's is decidedly casual but the place is certainly clean and the neighborhood non-threatening. We don't claim to be culinary experts by any means but we do highly recommend Tom's as a great place to eat!

              1. f
                Fred Oct 30, 2005 03:10 PM

                Leonard's BBQ Buffett! This way you get to sample everything!

                Their mustard seasoned slaw and spicy sauce are both unique items to the area.

                Plus they seperate dark ans white meat (on the orders). That is also unique.

                1. s
                  Susan Aug 18, 2005 01:00 PM

                  I've always been very fond of Neely's but BBQ Shop would be my close second.

                  1. m
                    Memphis Aug 17, 2005 06:43 PM

                    BBQ Shop, Central BBQ or Germantown Commissary.

                    Ribs are good at all 3 places, but I think I might like the ribs at Central BBQ the best.

                    Sandwiches are better at BBQ Shop and Germantown Commissary.

                    1. j
                      Jim Aug 17, 2005 05:57 PM

                      I'd go to Payne's and eat sandwiches until I pass out.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Jim
                        mamasquirrel Aug 25, 2008 07:37 AM

                        There's just nothing better than sandwiches and fried pies at Payne's.

                      2. g
                        Ginger Aug 17, 2005 04:57 PM

                        Central -- hands down.

                        1. f
                          Fat Harry Aug 17, 2005 12:30 PM

                          BBQ Shop is my favorite, followed by Germantown Commissary.

                          1. t
                            Tater Aug 17, 2005 12:16 AM

                            Another vote for BBQ Shop. Get the bologna/sausage/cheese plate for an app.

                            1. j
                              Jason Aug 16, 2005 10:14 PM

                              As I mentioned below, I like Payne's, Central, and BBQ Shop are currently my favorites. I don't think Payne's has much of an atomsphere for one night, though. In my humble opinion, BBQ Shop on Madison is more consistent than Central (but I like them both and don't know which I would pick on a great day). I've never had a bad sandwich at BBQ Shop.

                              1. r
                                Randal Cooper Aug 16, 2005 09:48 PM

                                Is dinner going to be the evening meal or lunch? If lunch (Tuesday-Saturday), I recommend Cozy Corner, as long as you don't want a sandwich.

                                For an evening meal, it's a toss-up between Central and the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Randal Cooper
                                  Randy Aug 20, 2005 05:23 PM

                                  And if you like the "true grit" feeling of the recent film Hustle & Flow, you'll love the atmosphere at Cozy Corner!

                                2. s
                                  sjs1959 Aug 16, 2005 07:46 PM

                                  Central BBQ, on Central west of East Parkway. It's the most consistently well-executed Cue in the city.

                                  Dry Ribs are the best, Chicken may be wet or dry (your call), I like all of it.

                                  Stay away from Corky's or the Rendezvous, overrated on both counts.

                                  Link: http://www.centralbbq.net/menu.html

                                  Show Hidden Posts