HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >


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

  • c

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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

    1. r
      Randal Cooper

      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

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

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

          1. BBQ Shop is my favorite, followed by Germantown Commissary.

            1. Central -- hands down.

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


                1 Reply
                1. re: Jim

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

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

                    1. 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. 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. 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

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

                          2. 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. BBQ Shop with Tom's a CLOSE second.

                              1. 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. 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.