Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >
Feb 22, 2009 08:16 AM

Memphis barbecue

I'll be in Memphis in March, and want to eat barbecue one night (probably Saturday). Looking for recommendations.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I enjoyed an evening at Rendezvous. It's located downstairs off the alley behind 52 South Second in downtown Memphis. It's a fairly famous joint.

    1. Don't leave Memphis without having a barbecue sandwich from Payne's.

      1. Depends on what you want. Rendezvous for the ribs (when they are good, they are fantastic, when bad they are bad) and great atmosphere. BBQ Shop is my favorite though. Consistently good sandwiches and ribs. Full service restaurant and is open past 6 (unlike Paynes, A&R, Cozy Corner--all good but lunch places).

        Rendezvous Charles Vergos
        52 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

        1 Reply
        1. re: tater

          We did a taste test for ribs once- tried Central, BBQ Shop, Germantown Commissary, Interstate, and Jacks Rib Shack. BBQ Shop won, but it was really close with Central- I had gotten them all dry (except Interstate), and I think that if I had gotten Central's wet ribs they might have won out...

          But both places are really good- and I love the sandwiches on Texas Toast at BBQ Shop...

          Next time we plan on doing Cozy Corner, Rendezvous, Payne's, Neely's, and Pigskin (a local place in Ridgeland, MS)...

        2. Bump for comments on sides--particularly slaw and mac'n'cheese.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Mister Big

            My favorite slaw is the yellow slaw at Leonard's, but I'm not a big fan of Leonard's sauce or ribs. I also like Tops slaw.

            If you want ribs I highly recommend Central BBQ. Blues City Cafe is a good Downtown alternative if you don't go to the Rendezvous.

            I like the Rendezvous, but (as mentioned earlier) their ribs are hit and miss. However, the sausage & cheese plate is ALWAYS good at the Rendezvous.

            For sandwiches I like Paynes, Neely's and BBQ shop. Tops is almost like fast food BBQ in Memphis. However, they are VERY consistent. I've eaten hundreds of sandwiches from Tops going back over 35 years. Every one tasted exactly the same. I love their sauce.

            I hear the ribs at Paynes are good, but I've never had them.

            Cornish Game Hen at Cozy Corner is something different. A BBQ balogna sandwich is a poor man's delicacy. My favorite are at Interstate, Cozy Corner and Paynes. If you fly in you can get one in the Interstate in Councourse B of Memphis International. I get one EVERY time I fly out. It takes about 10 minutes to cook because it's not pre-cooked.

            Surprisingly, most BBQ joints in Memphis don't serve macaroni & cheese. However, some serve tamales with chili.

            1. re: Ross B

              As a liflong Memphian, I have to agree with the Tops rec. If I'm anywhere near a Tops at lunch, that's where I'm eating. Unbelievably inexpensive, always good, and a really authentic Memphis experience. I particularly like the locatiuon on Union at the medical center and the eastern-most location on Summer. (Each Tops has its own pit master.) The sauce is unique, but i will scrape any excess off my plate with a Golden Flake potato chip.

              1. re: Ross B

                Thanks! This was extremely helpful.