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Help choose 2 BBQ joints in Memphis

Hi Folks-

I'll be visiting Memphis from the west coast soon, and I was wondering if you could help me choose the 2 best joints in Memphis to get some Q. Please let me know why and what you would order. So far I have my list down to the following:

Germantown Commissary
Cozy Corner
BBQ Shop
Gus Fried Chicken (not Q I know, but is it worth passing up?)

Rendezvous and Corky's are out. I'm looking for the real deal.



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  1. Yep, leave well alone of Rendezvous as maybe 50 years ago, it was the real deal. I second Interstate and Gus's Fried Chicken was amazing. It can take a while from the time you place your order as they fry it fresh and it's piping HOT when it comes out, so let it sit!!!


    1. Payne's and Cozy Corner. Payne's sandwich is one-of-a-kind.

      1. I'd go with ribs & cornish hen at Cozy Corner and then the ribs/shoulder combo at Germantown Commisary.
        Tough choices- Central & BBQ Shop are great- havent had Interstate in awhile.

        Gus' is really a cant-miss too.

        1. CB,

          Check out the following pair of reports which cover most of the places you're considering:

          The hands-down best barbecue item I've had in Memphis is Payne's sandwich. If I had two meals in Memphis, I'd be tempted to have them both right there (followed by a trip to A&R for a fried pie).

          Good luck!


          1. I would absolutely say Cozy Corner hens and Gus's chicken.

            I'm not as up on the Q as others, but for great food that you will not find anywhere else you won't beat them.

            1. On my last trip to Cozy Corner, I had wings, they were every bit as good as other items on the menu (save the sandwich, which they were better than). If you have more than two or three folks in your party, have one of them order wings, and share.

              1. I highly recommend Central and Cozy Corner.

                1. My favorite ribs in Memphis are at Central - HIGHLY recommended! Gus's is definitley worth the trip as well! Happy Eating!

                  1. I love the ribs at the Commissary.

                    1. Tough call. Would probably say Payne's for the sandwich and Central for ribs. (But then you'd miss the Cornish hen at Cozy Corner, which is unique really, and Gus's, which is not unique but is terrific.) You won't go wrong with any of these.

                      1. Thanks for all the suggestions everybody!

                        I ended up trying the ribs at Rendezvous, the mixed platter at Central and Nealies, the pork sammy at Payne's (awesome), and the ribs at Germantown. Cozy Corner and Leonard’s were closed (darn). The ribs at Rendezvous were very tasty, but a quick read of the rub ingredients revealed MSG (cheaters!). Hands down the best ribs were at Germantown, IMO. Tender & succulent meat, with a nice bark & smoke ring.

                        I also tried Gus', which unfortunately did not live up to it's billing. The chicken was salty and a bit too dry, and the thick batter on the fried green tomatoes made them taste like something you would find in the frozen section of your local grocery store.

                        Oh, and I was able to sample some fantastic breakfasts at Bryant’s (great biscuits & iced tea - and cheap too) and at Brother Juniper’s (good, but not so cheap).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          That's interesting. I thought the suggestions were against Rendevous. Shame you didn't enjoy Gus's. Did not have the FGT's so I can't comment, but my chicken wasn't dry at all. Oh well, must go again and check it out.


                          1. re: Civil Bear

                            you f-ed up. you shoulda got ribs at central.(best in town(the world)). bbq shop pork sandwich on toast. (best sauce in town(the world)). the dry spiced wings and bbq bologna sammy at central and the cornish hen and bbq bologna sammy at the cozy corner are also not to be missed. next time huh? you really messed up by going against your initial no rendezvous. most overrated ribs in town. but they do have a mean sausage and cheese plate. i get ''the special'' it's the normal saus and cheese with ham and salami added.

                          2. Hey now, Well the only two places worth trying the BBQ at is The BBQ shop and Central BBQ. They are both in midtown Memphis. Don't go wondering in Suburbia for some down home BBQ, they don't know jack! Hope I sent you this in time. If not, hope you found the best darn BBQ you ever had!


                            1. You really can't go wrong choosing two of any of the top four or five spots mentioned here.

                              Cozy Corner rocks. Ribs, ends, sausage and of course the Cornish Hen. Beef sandwich is right on. Nice folks running the place as well. Payne's sandwich is unique and good. Sweet and piled high. Don't pass on the slaw. And, yes, Gus' makes some fine fried chicken.

                              Photographic Evidence: