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Jun 19, 2012 12:44 PM

Help Driving from Arkansas to Memphis Airport, Want Best Pork Ribs, Convenience also a Factor

AS stated driving from AR to Memphis airport want to make a stop off and have pork ribs. Live on the west coast and have had many around US including KC, So&No Carolina to mention a few. In KC for example love Oklahoma Joes.

In Memphis, I have been to Rondevous several times, Interstate BBQ and Tops. Tops, IMO stunk, but it was off the highway so tried it. I just want good ribs, like them wet and dry. Probably not many have a real hot mop sauce but that is a plus if there wet, not a great fan of sweet ribs.

Looking at Neely's, Corky's and Central BBQ. Any of them more convenient, given my route to airport? Looked at many other sites etc, Marlowes looks like Disneyland, don't want a ton of kids around fom Graceland. Cozy Corner seems to be best at Guinea Hens and Paynes at pulled pork. Have looked at many others just want to get some good CH opinions given my citeria i.e pork ribs, not to much of a detour to airport. Thanks!

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  1. I would recommend Central BBQ for two reasons. First of all, they probably have the best ribs in Memphis. Secondly, it's pretty convenient to the airport. It's about 4 miles north of I-240 on Central about 200 yards west of Airways. It's a 10 minutes straight shot to the airport after you eat.

    1. Skip Neely's. Central's are good and, as noted, it's pretty convenient to the airport Cozy Corner has my favorite ribs, actually - I think they're much better than the hen, which gets a lot of press because it's different, but is sometimes dried out. Not hard to get to Cozy from 40 if you're coming in from Arkansas - you can get off at Danny Thomas and will be close. However, you'd need to map getting to the airport from there - might be a bit of a hassle.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bulldogx2

        Thanks, sounds like Central would be my best bet. Curious, does Corky's do good ribs or is it just a place or chain that people know well?

        1. re: mick

          Corky's actually can do great ribs, but it is a bit chainy, and not very convenient for your trip. As a lifelong Memphian, I will defend Tops, but for their BBQ sandwiches and burgers. They're not known for ribs.

          1. re: Michael H

            My one and only experience with Tops was the one just off the highway, I thinks its after you've crossed into Arkansas. Anyway, was kind of dingy(which in the right way is ok) but seemed like a low level McDonalds fast food place. The ribs which they just heated up (not sure how) could have been a microwave tasted as if they had been sitting around for a week.

            On ribs kinda stuck between Central, Corky's and possibly Cozy although it seems Central is nearest the airport, not sure if its the easiest to get to coming in from Arkansas. I will map things out later.
            Do all three of the above restaurants use the same cut of pork. Whats the main differences between the three? If you have them wet in your opinion is one sauce better than another. As I said earlier, not a fan of sweet sauce which you find in many nationwide restaurants that sell ribs to the masses.

            1. re: mick

              Tops is somewhat of a fast food BBQ joint, but their sandwich is very consistent. It hasn't changed in 40 years. You either like Tops or you don't. Personally, I love their sandwich.

              Tops isn't known for their ribs. In fact, they didn't even start serving ribs until very recently.

              When I go to Central I get half wet half dry. Central has three or four different sauces on tap in the restaurant.

      2. Stop at Road Side BBQ before you get to W Memphis just off I 40 at Exit 271.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          Unfortuately, it may be a little out of the way. I'm coming from Jonesboro Arkansas driving into Memphis and to the airport. Don't mind detouring 5-10 minutes for something incredible (ribs) but.... Also, wonder does anyone know if Jonesboro or Arkansas in general have very good BBQ?

          1. re: mick

            It's about 4 miles W of I 55 or about 5 minutes out of the way. Or stop by Ray's on the way in W Memphis right off IS.


            1. re: Littleman

              Thanks, I know many many BBQ joints in Memphis. Pretty set now on Central, sounds like they have great ribs and should work well in terms of logistics.
              When I have more time in Memphis, I'll hit a few more places to compare. This will only be the 4th bbq place I've tried in Memphis. I'm way way behind. I'll post upon return, not going until next month.

        2. Just returned from Memphis, had ribs at Central, half wet/half dry. Nice atmosphere, but a bit disappointed with the ribs. Cooked perfectly but the dry ribs other than the skin were sort of bland. Perfectly moist pink meat just not alot of flavor. Had a sideof slaw and potoato salad. Potato salad good, no on the slaw.
          At the airport tried Corkys ribs, one look and with the smell had to ask for my money back. Tried fingernail sized portion of the pork meat...disgusting. They looked par boiled, asked if they were but none of th 5 employees knew how they were cooked just said they recieve them from the "street" already packaged and cooked. Is this how there ribs are at the other locations? Not sure how it even qualifies as BBQ.
          Got those off my list next time will try Cozy Corner and BBQ shop.

          Did try Gus's famous chicken and it delivered. Also very convienent for my drive to Arkansas, just one exit past the bridge that takes me to and from Memphis into Arkansas.

          Had really been looking forward to Central bbq so a bit bummed.