Big BBQ Hearts

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Big bbq hearts may sound like something you’d see on Bizarre Foods, but I’m actually dedicating this piece to people from the bbq crowd, who have big hearts and use their grill skills to give back to others (Sorry offal lovers, that’s another article). Have you ever noticed that people who love to barbecue, seem to have hearts for helping people? I don’t think it’s just because barbecue is a hospitality-related industry. It seems to ring true for people involved in competition bbq and backyard bbq chefs as well. In general, people who love to cook, love to share their passion and love to put smiles on people’s faces.

Roll Call!

This article will serve as a running roster for people in the world of barbecue, who give back to the community. At the end of this article you’ll find rosters of the names of bbq folks who have contributed time, money and other resources to

A Line of People at Xodrick Mitchell’s Grill at a Memphis Community Outreach

give to people in need. I’m asking anyone who has used their bbq passion to reach out to others in some way, to send your name and the names of anyone else involved, with photos (if available) so that I can add you to the list. It should include anyone who helped, even if they just picked up trash or made phone calls. I’ll simply add the names to the running roster, one that I hope will continue to grow for a long time. The purpose? It’s not just for accolades, although these people certainly deserve recognition. It’s also designed to hopefully ignite more flames. Love is contagious. In a world of so much negativism, I hope to, in some small way, spread some positive light and in doing so, encourage more to join in. The news networks spend so much time airing the bad. Let’s shine the spotlight on good people and allow their positive influence to rub off on us and others.

Why focus on the BBQ crowd?

The world is full of people who give back, bbq-related or not. So why am I only focusing on bbq people who give back in this article? Well, there’s the obvious-that this is bbq themed website. But more specifically, here were my motivators-three things that influenced this article:

Xodrick Mitchell’s Community Outreach-Grilled and Fulfilled

Xodrick Mitchell Grilling Free Food in a Downtown Memphis Park

When Kenny Perkins told me that he had a friend who set up his grill in a public park in downtown Memphis to feed the less fortunate-sometimes twice a year, I was humbled. He’s not promoting a business. He’s not writing a book. He’s not marketing a bbq sauce. He just shows

Jeffery Gibson Serving a Plate in a Community Outreach, While Xodrick Mitchell Mans the Grill

up with family and several of his friends to feed 75-100 total strangers from his grill for free! I’ve bought meals for Mike, the homeless man near work downtown. But what Xodrick’s “barbecue crew” is doing is something more. It’s more personal than dropping off a paper bag with a smile and a kind word, then leaving. This is hanging out for awhile. It’s saying, “I’m not only here to provide a meal. I’m here to be with you.” They pitch in time, money, food and work for nothing in exchange, except for the gratification of giving. It’s good people spreading positive vibes. Besides getting a hot meal for the day, people received hygiene kits, conversation and a sense of community. People who might otherwise have been overlooked by society, could feel that someone cared for them. That sacrificial love comes from a heavenly source and we would all do well to glean some of it…then share it. Scroll down to the end for the list of names of volunteers and contributors. Send names of anyone who involved to be added.

Operation BBQ Relief-Barbecue Rescue

OBR

Jeff Toney of Pop’s Smokehouse and an OBR Volunteer

Standing With John David Wheeler Under His OBR Tent at the Southaven Spring Fest 2017

When I heard about Xodrick and began thinking of the article, I also remembered Operation BBQ Relief. I’d already written briefly about OBR in my review of Pop’s Smokehouse, which can be read here-Pop’s Smokehouse BBQ. Pop’s owner Jeff Toney of the highly decorated bbq team Boar’s Night Out explained to me that OBR is a network of bbq cooks, often competition teams and food trucks, who come together to provide some disaster relief to victims of natural disasters, by showing up and feeding countless thousands hot barbecue meals. Jeff, his Wife Kim, other BNO members and still countless other bbq team members have pitched in gas, work, food, money, time, passion and love to supply needs and spread good cheer during times of devastation. In spring of 2017, John David Wheeler, pit-master of the world-class bbq competition team Natural Born Grillers and co-owner of Memphis Barbecue Co in Horn Lake, MS, admonished me to become involved with Operation BBQ Relief. I decided to take the first step by registering, which only took a few minutes. It’s a small first step anyone can take to get started. Until I have the opportunity to deploy, I’ll start by spreading the word here. Thanks for the challenge John. And thanks to all the other heroes of the pit out there helping people whose lives have been turned upside-down. Scroll down to the end for the list of names of volunteers and contributors. Send names of anyone who involved to be added.

Laddie Morris-Smoky Sympathy

Laddie Morris in Front of Morris Grocery

For around fifty years, Morris Grocery was a quintessential mom and pop bbq shop in Eads, TN, where Laddie Morris smoked no frills, old-school barbecue that had people going back for decades. For half a century, he smoked amazing Boston butt barbecue, until he just recently closed the doors this summer, 2017. When I first wrote my review of Morris Grocery a couple of years ago, several people reached out to share with me their personal stories of Laddie Morris feeding them or their family, when they were in need or in some cases, couldn’t pay. Some stories have been shared with me in

Morris Grocery – Pit

person, others in the comments section of my article, which can be read here-Morris Grocery. Since I recently posted his closing in social media, even more people reached out with numerous posts on my Facebook page Memphis BBQ Guide-enough that if I interviewed each one, I could write a book about the positive influence Laddie Morris has had on the lives of the people who walked through the old door of that quaint little cinder block building in rural Tennessee. But He did have help. I can’t leave out his daughter, Yolanda Morris, who was always by his side, as well as other friends and family. This bbq legend is known both for his smoky barbecue and his big heart. I have a feeling, the name Laddie Morris will continue to warm hearts, well beyond his years. Scroll down to the end for the list of names of volunteers and contributors.

BBQ Benevolence

The old adage, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration” holds true, not just with genius, but as a general principle and certainly applies here. Being inspired is just the beginning. The act of love is not complete until action follows. Let’s challenge ourselves to take that next step by using our skills and talents to reach out to others-bbq or otherwise. I hope many more are inspired by the lives and work of these great men and women to grab the torch, light some fires and smoke some meat…for others.

Thanks for visiting my BBQ blog! Comments are welcome.

Xodrick Mitchell’s Grill Volunteers and Contributors

XODRICK MITCHELL-MORRIS PARK

KENNY PERKINS-MORRIS PARK

SHAY BURTON-MORRIS PARK

SABRINA MITCHELL-MORRIS PARK

NATOSHA MITCHELL-MORRIS PARK

DIANNE MITCHELL-MORRIS PARK

KENNY PEETE-MORRIS PARK

JEFFREY GIBSON-MORRIS PARK

LAWANDA CARNES-MORRIS PARK

JOHNATHAN WILLIAMS-MORRIS PARK

DANITRA WILLIAMS-MORRIS PARK

DEBRA HARLEY-MORRIS PARK

LATISHA WILLIAMS-MORRIS PARK

ANTONIO GATES-MORRIS PARK

PAMELA DANIEL-MORRIS PARK

ERIKA CARR-MORRIS PARK

Operation BBQ Relief Volunteers and Contributors

JEFF TONEY-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT & POP’S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ

KIM TONEY-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT & POP’S SMOKEHOUSE BBQ

ALLEM SMITH-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

SCOTT GUY-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

LANNY FOWLER-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

ERIC HODSON-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

KENDAL ADAIR-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

BOB DENTON-BOAR’S NIGHT OUT

JOHN DAVID WHEELER-NATURAL BORN GRILLERS

MARK LAMBERT-SWEET SWINE O’ MINE

Morris Grocery

LADDIE MORRIS-MORRIS GROCERY

YOLANDA MORRIS-MORRIS GROCERY

 

Categories: BBQ Chicken and Smoked Turkey, Best BBQ Beef, Best BBQ Smoked Sausages, Best Pork Shoulder, Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Babalu Tapas & Tacos in Memphis

 

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Check back in the future for a full review. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

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Wood-Smoked Ribs from Babalu In Overton Square, Memphis

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were perfectly tender. The meat pulled easily from the bone, without falling off.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had nice wood-smoke flavor.

Sauce-Was too sweet for my taste-a one-note sauce that lacked enough tanginess or heat to balance the sweetness. The result was candy-sweet ribs. The first bite or two revealed nice smoke flavor and even a flavorful sauce. But about halfway through the bones, the sweetness had become so rich in my mouth, that the beautifully smoked pork had become lost. The topping of cilantro isn’t very southern, but I didn’t mind the fresh, herbal touch, especially considering that Babalu is a tapas & tacos bar.Babalu Tapas & Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories: Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arlington Bar-B-Que Company (Now Closed)

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-They were tender enough to eat without struggle, and had ample bark but were just slightly dry for my liking. I liked the fact that the ribs were served with a toasted hoagie bun.  I ate about half of the meat right off the bones and pulled the rest off, sandwiching it between the hoagie roll with sauce and slaw, making a sort of bbq rib sandwich-good stuff and fun to eat.
  • Shoulder on BBQ Nachos-Was topped tender white meat, but lacked the flavorful bits of crusty exterior bark.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-The ribs were smoky and reminiscent of competition-style ribs with a nice wood-smoked flavor.
  • Shoulder on BBQ Nachos-Unlike the smoky ribs, the pork shoulder lacked any discernable smoke flavor.

Sauce-The server was kind to inform us of the two sauces on our table, explaining that one was sweet and the other mild.  They seemed to me more like hot and mild, the mild being the sweeter of the two.  I enjoyed the flavor combinations of both sauces, but Angelica and I agreed that they both seemed a bit watered down, not in consistency, but in flavor.  It seemed that the combination of ingredients worked well together to create a good flavor, just not intense or robust enough for my taste.

Slaw-The mayonnaise-based slaw was slightly vinegary, crunchy and well-complimented the barbecued meat.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

 

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Alton’s BBQ at the Memphis Zoo (Now Closed)

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This bbq kiosk inside the Memphis Zoo didn’t last for very long, but I’m not sure why. We actually enjoyed it, especially because the meat was actually wood-smoked on site. Check out my slideshow of pictures from our family visit to the Christmas Zoo Lights event and our dinner for the evening, Alton’s BBQ. Check back in the future for the full story. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-Was tender and moist, with well-developed exterior bark.

Smoke-

  • ShoulderThe pork on my bbq sandwich had fully balanced wood-smoke flavor.

Sauce-a standard sweet and tangy bbq sauce, with enough tanginess to compliment the smoked pork.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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10 Bones BBQ-Home Of The Deep Fried Rib (Closed, But Still Competing)

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I regret that my photos of 10 Bones BBQ were lost due to theft a few years ago when my cell was stolen. Since I didn’t have a cloud-based account at the time, thousands of priceless photos are just floating in cyberspace. I do, however, have a menu flyer that I picked up from the restaurant, which I’ve displayed in this article, as well as pictures of the team’s competition trailer. I also judged 10 Bones BBQ as a team before

My Old Restaurant Menu From 10 Bones BBQ

they ever opened a restaurant, and I’ve judged the team since the restaurant closed as well. This year I had the honor of judging 10 Bones BBQ in the 2017 Memphis In May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest Finals. That’s the final nine teams from of well over two hundred! It was an all-star lineup that included big bbq teams, such as Big Bob Gibson’s, Yazoo Delta Q, Red Hot Smokers, Cool Smoke, 10 Bones BBQ and others. In fact, Mark West of 10 Bones, won the rib category, beating out Tuffy Stone of Cool Smoke, who actually judged West during season four of the television series, BBQ Pitmasters. I don’t write reviews of barbecue I judge in competition, but I’ll just say that some of the very best, beautifully smoked ribs I’ve ever put in my mouth, came from Mark West of 10 Bones BBQ. Don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide of the restaurant below. Just know that my visit was years ago and the place has closed. Mark West is an amazing pit-master, but it can be difficult to ensure the same quality when that job is entrusted to employees at a restaurant. If Another 10 Bones BBQ ever opens back up, you can bet I’ll be there. To see what the restaurant looked like at Snowden Grove in Southaven, MS, just go to my Guide and select the link for Natural Born Grillers (another great bbq team), who was in the same building before 10 Bones BBQ. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were perfectly tender, with well-developed exterior bark.
  • Deep Fried Ribs-These smoked, then fried ribs had a beautifully crusted exterior, yet the meat was still moist and tender. The sauce, however, washed away some of the crispiness that I’d expected from fried ribs. If they ever open another restaurant and serve fried ribs, I’ll just ask for sauce on the side.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-My ribs had slight smoke flavor.
  • Deep Fried Ribs-My ribs had slight smoke flavor.

Sauce-The sauce back then a little sweet for my taste, but did offer some tanginess to balance things out a bit. Sauce on the side might’ve been a good option.

 

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

 

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Smokin D’s Pit Stop Bar-B-Que

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-My ribs were mostly tender, but a touch dry in places. The flavorful bark was well-developed.
  • Shoulder-Was moist and tender, with some bark.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had nice, full wood smoke flavor, but a bit too salty (only a bit). I would’ve held back on the final dusting of bbq seasoning, or reduced the salt content.
  • Shoulder-Had good smoke flavor with a visible smoke ring.

Sauce-I really enjoyed the sweet and tangy sauce. Many sweet sauces are too candy sweet and lack enough tanginess for my taste. I enjoyed the balance this one offered.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleySmokin' D's Pit Stop BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories: Best Pork Shoulder, Best Ribs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Abe’s Bar-B-Q Down In The Mississippi Delta Since 1924

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-The pork was reheated on a flat griddle, which dried and toughened the meat. The consistency was not at all like standard southern pork shoulder, but resembled something closer to carved Thanksgiving turkey. There wasn’t much in terms of bark either.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-The pork on my bbq sandwich lacked any discernable smoke flavor.

Sauce-I liked the sweet and tangy sauce, but the well-balanced flavors were not enough to cover the substandard barbecue.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyAbe's Bar-B-Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Jones’ Bar-B-Q Diner In Arkansas Since 1910

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Check back in the future for a full review. Until then, don’t miss the Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder on my sandwich was very moist and tender-perhaps too tender, bordering mushy. The meat also had very little of the crusty bits of bark.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-After seeing the logs burning and the old pit, I had high hopes. But to my disappointment, the meat just didn’t reflect any of that. Despite fireplace logs being burned down to coals and shoveled into an old-school cinderblock pit, my sandwich was nearly void of smoke flavor. Perhaps the meat was wrapped in the foil too early in the cook, if not from the beginning, which locks in moisture, but impedes the absorption of smoke flavor. Also, too much time in the foil will result in mushy meat.

Sauce-The sauce was very thin, somewhat sweet and slightly tangy. My best guess would be a concoction of ketchup, hot sauce and water.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Very Best BBQ Pizzas In Memphis (And Local Beers To Pair With Them)

IMG_20170321_153051

Memphis BBQ Pizza (Loven Fresh Baking Company & Smokehouse in This Photo)


 

fire icon quick fire guideBarbecue pizza is all the rage these days. It’s a hot bbq entrée in Memphis and now, even abroad. Little Caesars sought to capitalize on the bbq trend, seen in their “Smokified!” commercial with  legendary pit-

Judging BBQ at Memphis In May One Year, I Met This Guy-Big Moe Cason

Judging BBQ at Memphis In May One Year, I Met This Guy-Big Moe Cason

master, Big Moe Cason. Countless other chain pizza restaurants have jumped on the bbq pizza bandwagon as well, but to get the real deal, you know where to get your smoky pie-Memphis! After years of adventuring my way through barbecue from well over 200 bbq joints, soul food restaurants, bars, food trucks and roadside pits in the Memphis tri-state area, I’ve unearthed some bbq pizza gems along the way. I’m here to guide you to the besy bbq pizza around, but before I share my insider intel, allow me to honor the inventors of this beautiful bbq creation-Coletta’s Italian Restaurant.

Many articles have recounted the story of how Coletta’s began topping pizzas with barbecue in Memphis in the 1950’s to make pizza more attractive to southerners, since the Italian classic was not yet a mainstream dish nationwide. As the story goes, Elvis himself became a regular, requesting a regular dose of the pit-smoked bbq pizza.

If only I could go back in time to experience the original Coletta’s bbq pizza! As I understand, the famous Italian restaurant stopped smoking the pork years ago, opting for a large meat roaster instead. They still serve their beautifully crafted bbq pizza, just not quite like their original smoked meat version.

Mrs. Coletta Showcasing Their Famous BBQ Pizza

Mrs. Coletta Showcasing Their Famous BBQ Pizza

Despite the lack of smoke, I still find myself returning to Coletta’s from time to time, because it’s a piece of Memphis bbq history and because it’s still just so good. In 2016, I returned to Coletta’s, hoping to interview Jerry, but he wasn’t available. Mrs. Coletta, however, was

Coletta's Huge Meat Roasting Pit

Coletta’s Huge Meat Roasting Pit

kind enough to give me a tour. In her heels, she carefully and gracefully descended old, uneven steps into the basement, where I was allowed to see the meat roaster and get some pictures for my blog. Despite the fact that there was no wood, charcoal, smokestack or smoke, that big roasting pit

Coletta's Restaurant-Creators of BBQ Pizza

Coletta’s Italian Restaurant-Creators of BBQ Pizza

still turned out tender, succulent pork. The handmade pizza crust, fresh grated cheese (using a giant meat grinder, only used for shredding cheese) and homemade not-too-sweet bbq sauce, were all quality ingredients that complimented the pork. It’s a carnivorous indulgence for any meat-lover.

As readers will discover, I’m all about real-pit bbq. And Coletta’s may no longer smoke their pork, but they did create smoked pork bbq pizza in the 50’s, and we’re all reaping the benefits of it today. So, smoke or not, I’m a fan of their food, family and contribution to barbecue. But if Coletta’s ever decides to return to their old ways of smoking pork for their bbq pizza, I just might move into that old basement! To read more about the history of Coletta’s, and the switch they made from smoking to roasting their pork, check out this article from the Ghost Pit Chronicles, or watch Bobby Flay’s interview with Jerry Coletta from one of his older Food Network shows, BBQ With Bobby Flay.

Coletta's Huge Meat Grinder, Used Only for Shredding Cheese

Coletta’s Huge Meat Grinder, Used Only for Shredding Cheese

Now that we’ve paid tribute to the undisputed king and queen of bbq pizza, I’m almost ready to unveil my Top Eleven picks for Best BBQ Pizza in Memphis. But first, allow me to establish some criteria for legitimate, Memphis, real-pit-smoked bbq pizza, the way it was originally created.

BBQ means smoke. There has to be smoke. Real bbq pizza, means pizza topped with real-pit charcoal or wood-smoked barbecue. That’s my focus in this article. And smoke compliments pizza perfectly. Think about those delectable oak-fired oven pizzas, kissed with a wisp of wood smoke. Or imagine how much you enjoy pizza, when it’s topped with hickory-smoked bacon or smoked gouda. And I can’t forget about the freshly ground, stuffed and wood-smoked beef pepperoni pizza, made in-house at Rod’s Pizza Cellar in Hot Springs, Arkansas (Thanks for taking us there Tammy and Les). Smoke on pizza works, and it works well. Now for the criteria:

Memphis BBQ Pizza Criteria

  • Locally smoked pork. For the purposes of this article, my focus is on bbq pork pizza, topped with meat that has been locally smoked. Locals may notice that some long-time, established Memphis pizza institutions are missing from this list. That’s because, during my search for the best bbq pizza in the Memphis metropolitan area, I
    Smoking Pork Butts With Scored Bark on a Large Steel Pit

    Smoked Pork Butts With Scored Bark on a Large Steel Pit from Local Pit-Master, Adam Bullock

    discovered that some of these restaurants offered a bbq pizza was topped with either oven-roasted pork or a smoked pork product shipped in from an out-of-town distributor-neither of which classifies as locally smoked, real-pit Memphis barbecue. By the southern, cultural definition of barbecue, the meat has to be smoked. Condiments are secondary. Roasted pork on a pizza with bbq sauce, could better be described as bbq “inspired” pizza. As for “factory bbq,” I’m only interested in bbq pizza topped with locally smoked pork, from the Memphis Tri-State area.

  • A house-made crust is coveted, but not necessary. That’s because the focus here is the smoked meat. In my list, you’ll find a few bbq joints that use a store-bought crust, then pile it with their own wood-smoked pork shoulder. I can respect that. They’re saying, “I’m not a pizza joint, I’m a bbq joint, and I’ll stick to my area of expertise.”
  • Barbecue meat that is smoked in-house is also coveted, but not necessary, as long as it’s locally sourced. I also respect the pizza parlor that makes a beautiful handmade crust, then tops it with smoked pork shoulder that’s been locally sourced from a Memphis area bbq joint or pit-master. In this case they’re saying, ” I’m not a bbq joint, I’m a pizza joint, and I’ll stick to my area of expertise.” Using locally smoked pork, sourced from a local bbq shop or pit-master, gives the bbq pizza its authenticity as Memphis bbq pizza.

Pizza and Beer (and BBQ) It’s widely accepted that pizza and beer (and bbq and beer for that matter) go hand in hand, but we’ll ante up that perfect marriage with brew from our own Memphis microbreweries. Barbecue is my focus and what I’ve spent years studying. Admittedly, I’m no beer expert, but I am a fan of our local brew. So as we journey our way through Memphis bbq pizza, I’ll suggest some locally brewed beers to

Locally Brewed Memphis Beer

Memphis Brewed Beer

pair with the pies. Any input from local beer experts is welcome in my comments section. Since we’re enjoying locally crafted bbq pizzas, it’s only fitting that we enjoy some Memphis microbrew to go with them. Artisanal beer for artisanal pizza. There’s no better way to enjoy this classic food and beverage pairing. Memphis beer in particular has an advantage over many other microbrews around the country, since the process starts with already naturally clean water. The city is positioned right on top of a giant underground artesian well, which provides us with naturally mineral-filtered water.  As I’ve traveled around the nation, It’s sad to find yellow tap water with floaties. I’m spoiled on our clear and clean water. And as an added benefit, it produces a crisper, more refreshing beer!

I’m no pizza expert either, but I do have some points of reference. I’ve enjoyed pizza at Lombardi’s in New York City, America’s first pizza shop, along with other NYC pizza eateries. I also lived in northern Indiana for a few years while in college, just forty five minutes from Chicago. While there, I experienced Uno’s deep dish pizza in Chicago and even Chicago’s own version of thin crust (a baking soda crust, usually cut into squares). While doing a summer culinary internship at Hog and Hominy as a prep guy right here in Memphis, I was introduced to amazing hand-crafted Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas from their oak-burning oven. At home, I’ve dabbled with all of these styles of pizza crust, including thin and crispy flatbreads, such as Italian piadina. After using the oven, pizza stone and a simple wood grill, I’ve found that I appreciate all methods, but prefer grilling mine directly over wood coals. After lightly charring and crisping my crust, I finish the pizza from indirect heat away from the coals with the lid closed, to create a smoky oven. At any rate, I’m a fan and student of pizza, but my focus in this article is on the barbecue and how it compliments or is complimented by the pizza..

So without further ado, here are my favorite spots in the Memphis tri-state area for smoked pork barbecue pizza, simply listed alphabetically instead of by rank. Read carefully, and you’ll discover FIVE BBQ PIZZAS in particular that are marked with my signature Memphis BBQ Guide flame icon fire icon quick fire guide. Those are my absolute personal favorite bbq pizzas-the best of the best. And you just might be surprised at where some of them come from!

The Top 11 BBQ Pizzas in the Greater Memphis Area

Aldo’s Pizza Pies (Midtown Location)

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Half BBQ Pizza and Half Jerk Chicken Pizza from Aldo’s Pizza Pies in Memphis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aldo’s Pizza Pies offers a their own take on bbq pizza with a crispy crusted pie, topped with wood-smoked bbq from the ever popular Memphis joint, Central BBQ. I can respect any pizza joint that focuses on their specialty, but sources barbecue locally for their bbq pizza. It’s still smoked, and it’s still local. The collaboration results in their deliciously

Aldo's Pizza Pies Adjacent to the Memphis Made Microbrewery

Aldo’s Pizza Pies Adjacent to the Memphis Made Brewing Co, Seen in the Background

crispy, cheesy, smoky pie. We decided for some variety, by ordering a half-n-half pizza. The bbq half came topped with the smoked pork and bbq sauce from Central BBQ, mozzarella and red onions. Aldo’s calls it, The Memphis. I particularly enjoyed the pulled pork pieces with bits of the crispy outer bark included. It’s the part of the meat that gets the most smoke. The other half of our pizza, the Willie Cheech & Bob pizza, was Aldo’s jerk chicken pizza, topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, jerk chicken, red onion, mango chutney, and jalapeño. Fantastic! We enjoyed both halves. Since the bbq sauce was rather sweet, I recommend for those who don’t care for sweeter bbq sauces to consider asking the server to go light on the sauce, or just ask for sauce on the side to add as needed to avoid masking the smoked pork. The crispy-edged crust and smoked pork were the stars in this bbq pizza. We enjoyed ours on the rooftop patio of the midtown location, which just happens to be neighbors with the Memphis Made Brewery. I’m sure there’s a way to take advantage of that.

Local Beer Pairing: Try Memphis Made’s Reverberation or Wiseacre’s Gotta Get Up To Get Down-both coffee stouts. Coffee and desert pair well, balancing each other. Likewise, the sweetness of The Memphis, will best be balanced by either of these local coffee-blended beers. Alternatively, the relative bitterness of any local IPA could balance the sweetness, for those who like in-your-face hops. For that, I like Wiseacre’s Ananda.

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon

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fire icon quick fire guideDouble J Smokehouse and Saloon is located inside the Clarion Hotel, just seven miles across the bridge from downtown Memphis into West Memphis, Arkansas. West Memphis is definitely within the influence of Memphis bbq. Besides that, Double J originally opened in downtown Memphis’ Civil Rights Museum district, later relocating to

Smoke Drifts From the BBQ Pit at Double J Smokehouse in West Memphis

Smoke Drifts From the BBQ Pit at Double J Smokehouse in West Memphis

West Memphis. Double J’s bbq pizza could surely be described as a smokehouse pizza, given the generous portion of wood-smoked pork that it’s topped with. I prefer a crisper pizza crust on the bottom and edges than this one offered, but it did its job as a vehicle for the real star-the hickory and oak-smoked pork. The moist pork, with lightly crispy edges of the smoky “bark” exterior crust, was complimented by a the well-balanced tangy-sweet bbq sauce and stretchy blend of cheeses. If perfectly balanced smoky meat is what you expect on your bbq pizza (and any self-respecting bbq pizza lover should), Double J delivers. Of all the bbq pizzas around town, this one stood out as one of the smokiest and therefore, one of my personal faves.

Local Beer Pairing: As a bbq pizza with such well-balanced flavors, I like the balanced Riverbank Red, by Ghost River. It’s just a great all round beer. The smooth hops with a bit of tanginess and a touch of sweetness compliment this smoky bbq pizza. Since it is a rather heavy pizza, a local coffee stout, such as Memphis Made’s Reverberation or Wiseacre’s Gotta Get Up To Get Down might be a good idea if you want to keep the party alive a while longer.

High Point Pizza

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High Point Pizza is a charming pizza parlor tucked away in a beautiful Memphis neighborhood with a park-like setting near the Galloway Golf Course. This beautiful barbecue pork pie was topped with moist and tender, smoked pork, locally sourced from a

High Point Pizza, Tucked Right into a Memphis Neighborhood Near Galloway Golf Course

High Point Pizza, Tucked Right into a Memphis Neighborhood Near Galloway Golf Course

veteran bbq competition team-Pigs O’ War, according to owner Spencer Hays. The handmade crust was buttery and blistered, with some crispiness on the outside edges, but slightly spongy inside for pliability. Since the pie was layered with a classic marinara sauce, then topped with bbq sauce, it had qualities of both classic Italian pizza and Memphis bbq pizza. I highly recommend the bbq pizza from this quiet neighborhood pizza joint.

Local Beer Pairing: The deliciously buttery crust and smoked pork will be cleansed from the palate perfectly by Ghost River’s crisp and refreshing Golden Ale.

Isabella’s Pizza

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BBQ Pizza from Isabella’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isabella’s Pizza is a tiny strip-mall pizza parlor in Bartlett, a suburban town of the Memphis metropolitan area. I’ll just say right off the bat, that Isabella’s amazing house-made pizza crust is one of the very best I’ve ever placed in my mouth. IMG_20170510_142829 It’s a New York style crust, with crispy edges and a light crisp on the bottom, but slight sponginess inside, so that the pizza droops a little, allowing for the New York pizza fold. The melty cheesiness was complimented by smoked pork, sourced locally from Brad’s Bar-B-Q nearby. My slice also had just the right amount of a sweet and tangy bbq sauce to as to compliment, but not overpower the pork. I would’ve liked more smoke flavor from the meat, but combined with all of the other elements of this incredible pizza, there was enough smoke flavor to result in an excellent bbq pizza. If they ever amp up the smoke flavor in their pork, Isabella’s could definitely contend for the best bbq pizza around Memphis. For now, the perfect pizza crust, oozy cheese, bbq sauce and tender pork, kissed with a bit of smoke, makes an outstanding bbq pizza that landed in my top eleven very best Memphis bbq pizzas.

Local Beer Pairing So as not overpower the tamed smokiness of this one, I’m pairing this amazing pizza with High Cotton’s smooth, almost creamy Scottish Ale.

Little Italy

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Cheesy BBQ Pizza from Little Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2015 my family had the pleasure of staying in a New York City apartment, a few blocks from Central Park in Manhattan. For a

Little Italy NY Style Pizza

Little Italy NY Style Pizza

week, we lived like New Yorkers, as we walked and took the subway all over the city (thanks for that amazing experience Becky and Jed). Now that I’ve spent some time in New York’s Little Italy, I have to say that this little Memphis pizza parlor of the same name actually does feel like a pizza shop that’s been carved right out of the New York City neighborhood. But this NY-Style eatery also knows that Memphians have a taste for smoke and have crafted for us, a deliciously cheesy bbq pizza. Like Aldo’s, Little Italy sources their smoked pork from the hip midtown bbq joint, Central BBQ. The bbq sauce, however, is Sweet Baby Ray’s. Combined with the awesome hand-made crust, this bbq pizza collaboration works really

New York Pizza in Memphis

New York Pizza in Memphis

well. I enjoyed some smokiness, sauciness and plenty of cheese. For those who don’t want a buttery crust, this one was not at all oily, but still maintained a nice ratio of crispy edges and bottom, with that slightly spongy inside that allows for folding, New York style.

Local Beer Pairing Some recommend against IPA’s for pizza, fearing that it will overshadow the pizza, but I think this one works. The hops of Wiseacre’s Ananda are strong enough to balance the Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce, but not too bitter so as to overpower the pizza itself. It’s the malty element that I think compliments this pizza. If IPA is not your thing, consider Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb.

Loven Fresh Baking Co & Smokehouse

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BBQ Pizza from Loven Fresh Baking Co & Smokehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fire icon quick fire guide

A mere twenty five minute scenic drive outside of Memphis in Oakland, TN, sits an unassuming little bbq shop adjacent to a laundromat, that’s turning out some of the best bbq pizzas in the Memphis Tri-State area. Chris McKnight began his little bakery/bbq shop when his banana nut bread became a local sensation. He also picked

Smoke Rolls from Chris McKnight's Wood-Pit, Back of Loven Fresh Baking Company & BBQ Smokehouse in Oakland, TN

Smoke Rolls from Chris McKnight’s Wood-Pit, Back of Loven Fresh Baking Company & BBQ Smokehouse in Oakland, TN

up some pit-skills hanging out with a local bbq team, and the bakery/bbq shop was born. In recent years, Chris decided to take a step back from daily baking a wide variety of artisanal breads, to focus on bbq pizza. With a bbq pit shack on the side of his bbq pizza joint housing a huge steel pit, wood logs, his personal recipe bbq sauce and pizza ovens, he’s carefully crafting one of the very best bbq pizzas available. It’s the one I’ve showcased in the first photo at the beginning of this article. The crust offers both crispiness and pliability. His tasty, sweet and tangy bbq sauce perfectly compliments the smoky pizza and can also be purchased in glass jars (similar to Mason jars). In addition to the quality cheese and bbq sauce, it’s also the fruitiness of the bell peppers that add that something extra. But in the end, it’s the hickory log-smoked pork-a perfected artisanal barbecue that elevates this bbq pizza to the next level. To really experience one of the very best bbq pizzas, just enjoy that country drive to this little old-time store and get your hands on one!

The Smoky, Cheesy, BBQ Pizza from Loven Fresh

The Smoky, Cheesy, BBQ Pizza from Loven Fresh

Local Beer Pairing For this artisanal, smoked pork bbq-topped pizza, I’m going with what I believe is the most perfectly crafted, artisanal beer in Memphis-Memphis Made’s Fireside Amber. Both the beer and the pizza actually have a similar amber color and smoothness. Both are balanced in all flavors, but the wonderful smoke will be tastefully balanced by the roasted malty hops of Fireside Amber, which is rich in flavor, but smooth on hops. I haven’t found it bottled or canned yet, but Memphis Made beer can be found on tap at growler filling stations and restaurants all over Memphis. On Memphis Made’s website, they’ve posted a Beer Locater page, but if you don’t want to chase down a growler station, just grab some local brew from a grocery or wine store. Joel, an employee at Loven Fresh, recommends Ghost River Golden Ale, or Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb. I agree, since both of those selections are well-rounded beers that will go well with most any pizza.

Lucchesi’s Ravioli & Pasta Company

Crispy Edged Crust on Lucchesi's Take-N-Bake BBQ Pizza, Topped With Smoked Pork From Germantown Commissary BBQ

Crispy Edged Crust on Lucchesi’s Take-N-Bake BBQ Pizza, Topped With Smoked Pork From Germantown Commissary BBQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucchesi's

Lucchesi’s

Lucchesi’s is actually an Italian deli and pasta maker reminiscent of a charming little New York City Italian deli. Walking in, you’ll feel like you’d just been transported to Brooklyn. Besides pasta and deli sandwiches, Lucchesi’s also offers Italian pantry goods, as well as other high quality goods, such as the amazing, smoky Benton’s bacon, out of the Smoky Mountains (better than double-smoked bacon). But my favorite spot in Lucchesi’s is their take-n-bake pizza counter. Some might think it odd that I’m including a take-n-bake pizza to my list of very best bbq pizzas in Memphis. But I’m including it, because…it is! It’s one of the best because the pizza has superb artisanal elements that create a quality pizza, not to be found in just any pizza shop. The fantastic handmade crust has that perfect crispiness on the edges and bottom that I love so much, while maintaining enough soft interior crust for pliability. Among the pizza crusts around town, this one is most definitely a favorite of mine. The smoked pork comes from one of my favorite bbq

Lucchesi's Take-N-Bake BBQ Pizza, Topped With Smoked Pork from Germantown Commissary BBQ

Lucchesi’s Take-N-Bake BBQ Pizza, Topped With Smoked Pork from Germantown Commissary BBQ

restaurants in Memphis, Germantown Commissary BBQ. The meats there are smoked with wood logs only, no charcoal. And the sauce is a sweet and tangy bbq sauce, spiked with an interesting blend of spices. That gets topped onto one of Luchessi’s amazing house-made crusts with a blend of cheeses and packaged with instructions for home-baking. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few benefits of getting Luchessi’s take-n-bake bbq pizza:

  1. You get to choose the ingredients as it’s being made. The bbq pizza comes with standard toppings, but the pizza is assembled right behind the counter in front of you and I’ve always been asked what else I’d like on it, or what I might want to omit. For the bbq pizza, I usually get it as it comes. But I like the option of being able to ask to actually see the quality of any ingredient I may or may not want on my pizza.
  2. You get to choose the method for cooking it. Bake it on a pizza stone, grill it, or pop it in an outdoor pizza oven, if you’re fortunate enough to have one of those lovely little domes.
  3. You get it right when it comes out of the oven. You get it at its very best-hot, melty, crispy and fresh.

So after making my case for Luchessi’s take-n-bake bbq pizza, all that’s left to do is to take your own trip to Brooklyn, right here  in Memphis.

Local Beer Pairing With the special blend of spices in Germantown Commissary’s bbq sauce, I’m going with cleaner flavors that won’t conflict. Tiny Bomb by Wiseacre is one of my go-to beers and offers robust hops, with a clean, crisp finish. And since it’s one of Memphis’ most popular beers, it can easily be found all over the city-an accessible beer for an accessible pizza.

Midtown Crossing Grill

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BBQ and Pineapple Pizza from Midtown Crossing Grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Midtown Crossing Grill Owner, Octavia Young (Left) Offers Her Unique and Flavorful Pizza Creations on Quality Handmade Crusts

Octavia Young’s Midtown Crossing Grill offers a fun twist on a Memphis classic. Her bbq pizza creation reflects the style of her hip pizza joint-eclectic and innovative. It’s called The Smoke House, but it could have easily been called Smokehouse on the Beach. If a bbq pizza and tropical pizza consummated, the child would be Octavia’s bbq pizza, because it brilliantly and successfully includes elements of both into one pie. The pizza gets topped with locally sourced smoked pork, cheddar, bacon,

The Eclectic and Creative Midtown Crossing Grill

The Eclectic and Creative Midtown Crossing Grill

pineapple, red onions, cilantro and a balanced swirl of sweet and tangy bbq sauce. The moist and smoky pork is barbecued by former Cozy Corner pit-master, Richard, who you’ll see front of Cozy Corner’s glass-walled pit in one of my articles of the famous bbq joint. The sauce is a semi-homemade bbq sauce that Octavia adds her own secret touch to. One might think this bbq pizza is too sweet, but the slightly bitter, earthy cilantro, smoky, salty bacon and tangy cheddar cheese, all aid the smoked pork in balancing the equation. The handmade crust provides buttery, crisp edges and a crisp bottom to support the ingredients, while maintaining the flexible bend you’d expect from a great slice of pizza. The total combination results in one of the best bbq pizzas in Memphis, with a touch of the tropics.

Local Beer Pairing A clean beer is needed to allow all the wonderful ingredients on this pizza to shine. Ghost River’s Golden Ale or perhaps their Prestige (a pilsner) will aptly refresh the palate, without obscuring all of the amazing flavors of this flavorful pizza. For something that’s still clean and crisp, but a little “hoppier,” go with Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb.

Pete & Sam’s

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BBQ Pizza from Pete & Sam’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fire icon quick fire guidePete & Sam’s is an old Memphis Italian restaurant institution-so old, one of their original menus lists Spaghetti with Meatballs at $1.50, Spaghetti and Bar-B-Que Half and Half at $1.65, Bar-B-Que Chicken at $2.00 and Filet Mignon for $2.85! But before you assume that this is yet another Italian restaurant that sources out the bbq, think

Barbecue Chicken for $2 on Pete Sam’s Old Menu from Back in the Day

Barbecue Chicken for $2 on Pete Sam’s Old Menu from Back in the Day

again. Pete & Sam’s actually smokes their own pork in-house, thanks to Sam Sr. passing on his pit-skills. Not only did he have barbecue prowess, he had a bbq restaurant, that once stood right across from Pete & Sam’s, called The Rib Palace, during the 70’s and early 80’s. A fire ended the barbecue joint, but not the barbecue, which still lives on at Pete & Sam’s to this very day. In fact, Sam Sr. yearly puts his skills to the test with his barbecue team, Sicilian Smokers at the most prestigious pork bbq competition in the world, the Memphis In May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Of course, Italian cooking

Pete & Sam's, Established in 1948

Pete & Sam’s, Established in 1948

skills are employed as well at Pete & Sam’s. The ultra thin, house-made crusts provide the perfect crispy canvas for the cheesy, smoky bbq pies. The cheddar provides some tanginess and a certain creaminess, while the mozzarella provides that stretchy goodness we all love from a good slice. This perfect blend of cheeses, combined with their original recipe bbq sauce and the moist hickory smoked pork, including those tasty bits of smoky exterior bark, all piled onto their crispy crust, makes it one of the cheesiest, creamiest, smokiest, sweet-n-tangy, crispy bites you’ll ever have the pleasure of enjoying. For a taste of smoky history, Pete & Sam’s offers a Memphis bbq pizza experience not to be missed.

Local Beer Pairing This bbq offers a certain tanginess from the cheddar and from the sauce, which I think will be complimented by a smooth beer, such as High Cotton’s Scottish Ale or Ghost River’s Riverbank Red.

Rock’N Dough

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BBQ Pizza from Rock’N Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wildly Popular Rock’N Dough Pizza in Memphis

fire icon quick fire guideJeremy Denno has brought his Northeastern pizza pedigree to Memphis with his increasingly popular Rock’N Dough Pizza, and we’re fortunate to have him. I mean, let’s face it-up north, any experienced pizza chef within the influence of NYC style pizza has the potential to put together some pretty amazing crusts. RND does that. They provide a premium pizza experience. From the first bite, I knew that they’d quickly become one of my favorite pizza shops in Memphis. I’ll attempt a description here, but to really “get it,” you’ll have to experience a heavenly slice of RND for yourself. Just from picking up a slice, the first thing I noticed, was the crackling crispy, even flaky edges. And I didn’t dare throw away those crunchy edges after I finished the cheesy part. They got munched down too. On my huge pie, the bottom also offered a nice crisp, all the way to the very center-no sogginess, despite being loaded with a healthy portion of cheese, meat, sauce, aromatics and herbs!  That requires pizza-making finesse. But this is a barbecue pizza article right? It just so happens, that not only does Jeremy make quality

 

My Huge BBQ Pie from Rock'N Dough Pizza

My Huge BBQ Pie from Rock’N Dough Pizza

artisanal crusts at RND, but he also smokes his own pork with hickory wood for his bbq pizza-Smoker’s Pie, it’s called. The whole thing gets topped with mozzarella for

stretchy cheesiness, ricotta, for a fresh and creamy touch, tender house-smoked pork, red onions, cilantro and a drizzle of Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce that’s been infused with garlic butter and apple cider vinegar. The choice ingredients played a harmonious symphony of flavors and textures, balancing sweet, savory, smoky, meaty, cheesy and crusty. Few bbq pizzas in Memphis rival this one.

Pizza Margherita From RND in Memphis

Pizza Margherita From RND in Memphis

Local Beer Pairing Jeremy recommends High Cotton’s Scottish Ale. I’ll add to that Memphis Made’s Fireside Amber, since both beers offer a smooth cleansing of the palette, to compliment, not mask the beautiful crust, cheeses and smoked meat.

 

 

Woodstock Store & Deli

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BBQ Pizza from Woodstock Store & Deli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Meaty, Smoky Pizza Pie I Took Home from Woodstock

fire icon quick fire guideAnthony Bledsoe stokes his huge steel pits with logs daily out back of his Woodstock Store and Deli just outside of Memphis in a small rural community, called Woodstock. The lazy country drive there, is a mere five minutes beyond the city limit, and less than a mile from Justin Timberlake’s Mirimichi Golf Course. The ready-made pizza crust acts as a mere vehicle for his smoky, succulent pork, sauce and cheese. Anthony’s focus is on barbecue, so the thin and crispy crust is simply there to do its job of providing the

Pit-Master Anthony Bledsoe and His Giant Pit Behind His Woodstock Store & Deli. Wanna Know His Secret? You're Lookin' At It.

Pit-Master Anthony Bledsoe and His Giant Pit Behind His Woodstock Store & Deli. Wanna Know His Secret? You’re Lookin’ At It.

platform needed to support this amazing smoked meat. His smoked pork sandwich is also one of my favorites in the Memphis metropolitan area. Every time I’ve had the sandwich or bbq pizza, the meat has been moist and tender, and included those bacon-like bits of smoky crust from the outside of the pork. The homemade bbq sauce beautifully compliments the smoked pork with a very interesting balance of some sweetness, tanginess and even a touch of something sour. I think the flavor resembles a classic tomato and vinegar-based bbq sauce, spiked with a bit of Asian sweet and sour sauce. The total flavor is addictive, especially with the smoked meat.

Woodstock’s bbq pizza is one of my all-time favorites, because that unctuous, meaty pie has some of the best smoke flavor I’ ve ever experienced. It wasn’t a heavy, bitter smoke, but a full, balanced wood-smoke. And because a ton of the smoky meat was piled onto the pizza, I got more barbecue smokiness in every bite. If that weren’t enough, the

If You Thought That the Meat Was Smoked in This Pit Out Front of Woodstock Store & Deli, You Should See What He's Workin' With Around Back

Woodstock Store Deli, Just on the Outskirts of Memphis

pizza also came loaded with cheese and sauce. Like his bbq pit, Anthony’s bbq pizza is outrageously huge. All of that excess made my bbq pizza dreams come true. For a dainty, gourmet pizza, maybe Mr. Bledsoe’s meat portions were too much. Maybe he didn’t get the memo to lightly sprinkle on the meat. Well, I’m glad he didn’t get the memo. I mean, c’mon. This BBQ pizza! Smoked pork by nature of it’s purpose and design gets piled on. Thank you Woodstock Store and Deli for your wonderfully sloppy, smoky, saucy, cheesy, outrageously meaty, real-pit BBQ PIZZA!

Local Beer Pairing Some might say this pizza is a real sleeper. With all the heavy meat and cheese, a coffee stout just might be in order, unless you plan on taking a nap immediately after. For this, I recommend Wiseacre’s Gotta Get Up To Get Down or Memphis Made’s Reverberation. Otherwise, a crisp, refreshing beer such as Ghost River’s Golden Ale, will provide a refreshing beverage, without adding heaviness to the equation.

A Few Shout-Outs

Here are a few that didn’t make the list for one reason or the other (i.e. it’s a nationwide chain that does have some local elements, the meat comes from a little too far out to be classified as “locally smoked pork,” or it’s a bbq chicken pizza). But these are worth a mention here and still definitely worth a visit:

Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza

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From Left to Right: BBQ Pizza, Pepperoni, Jalapeños and Mushrooms with Cream Sauce (Angelica’s Creation) and Bacon and Potato Pizza with Scallions and Sour Cream

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Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza-A Memphis-Based Pizza Chain

Pyro’s is a chain, but it’s a Memphis-based chain. The smoked pork is sourced from the 1987 grand champion of the Memphis In May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, Darrell “Big Un” Hicks of Cajun Cookers. Darrell now ships his smoked meats all over from his Humbolt, TN based operation, Hick’s World Championship Meats (about an hour and a half from Memphis). The meat on my bbq pizza from Pyro’s had great smoke flavor and the awesome thin and crispy handmade crust  had all the right elements-crisp edges and bottom, with slight chew and some pliability. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Whole Foods Market Pizza/BBQ Shack

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BBQ Pizza from Whole Foods, Topped with House-Smoked Pork from the BBQ Shack

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BBQ Shack inside Whole Foods Market

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House-Smoked Pork on a Pizza at Whole Foods Market in Memphis

Whole Foods may be a nationwide chain, but having a bbq shop right inside the store, means the meats are smoked fresh daily in-house. It just so happens, that the local beer section is adjacent to the BBQ Shack and the pizza shop is directly across. There you have it-house-made pizzas, housed smoked ‘que and local beer, all in one place! The pizza shop’s bbq pizza is made with smoked pork from the BBQ Shack, along with a variety of other pizzas that can be ordered whole, or by the slice. Even better, one of the pizza chefs told me that I could choose any smoked meat from the BBQ Shack, and they’d make a bbq pizza with it! With bbq sauces inspired by various U.S. regions, as well as various house-smoked meats, such as smoked pork, smoked beef brisket, smoked sausages, smoked turkey and smoked chicken, there are numerous possible bbq pizza combinations. I might like a smoked pork pizza with South Carolina style mustard bbq sauce. Or I could just go wild and order a smoked beef brisket and sausage combo pizza with peppers and onions, topped with their chipotle bbq sauce! Yum!

Ciao Bella

This charming little Italian eatery offers a pizza topped with barbecue from a local bbq team pit-master per the manager. I respect

BBQ Pizza Topped with Veggies and Pork Smoked from a Local Pit-Master

BBQ Pizza Topped with Veggies and Pork Smoked from a Local Pit-Master

that the Italian restaurant sources the smoked pork locally, and the bbq did have some smoke flavor, but it was masked by loads of other toppings. I was only able to taste the smoke, because I isolated a few bits of the smoked pork, so that I could focus on the barbecue. The real problem lied in the fact that there just wasn’t enough barbecue to get any smokiness from the pizza as a dish. The pizza was topped with very small

The Charming Ciao Bella Italian Grill in Memphis

The Charming Ciao Bella Italian Grill in Memphis

amounts of bbq, which made it seem like an afterthought. I like veggies, but the bbq sauce, which clearly had notes of cinnamon, didn’t really compliment them, since the meat was nearly absent. The crust was also a bit chewy for my taste, yet it did have some redeeming qualities. The crispy edges were nice and some parts were less chewy than others. I say this bbq pizza has potential. But if I ordered one again, I’d ask for extra smoked meat and I’d enjoy my smoked pie in their beautiful atrium.

Silky O’Sullivan’s (Beale St.)

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BBQ Pita “Pizza” Topped with House-Smoked Pork at Silky O’Sullivan’s On Beale Street

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Silky O’Sullivan’s Patio on Beale St.

Silky’s has one of the coolest outdoor patios in town, no doubt. From the outdoor music stage, to the stringed lights, trees, huge fountain and even live goats with their very own wooden castle, there’s a lot to keep one entertained. But when I discovered that they offered a pita topped with house-smoked pork, I had to try it. The bbq pita pizza was rather “bready” and didn’t really offer

Silky's Goat Castle on Beale

Silky’s Goat Castle on Beale

the crispness that I look for in pizza. And the pork had very slight smoke flavor. I wouldn’t call it one of the very best bbq pizzas in Memphis, but I don’t really think it was intended to be. It’s more of a-it’s 2 a.m. on Beale St and I’ve got the munchies-kind of bbq pizza. And after some local brew, it just might taste amazing.

152 Beale/Blues City Café

BBQ Pizza from 152 Beale, Topped with Smoked Pork from Blues City Cafe

BBQ Pizza from 152 Beale, Topped with Smoked Pork from Blues City Café

152 Beale is known around town as a lively and rather clandestine club. There

Club 152 Beale Adjacent to Sister Restaurant, Blues City Café on Beale St.

Club 152 Beale Adjacent to Sister Restaurant, Blues City Café on Beale St.

wasn’t even a sign on the front when I was there. I just know where it is. They don’t smoke their own stuff (at least not pork anyway), but they do get it from their adjacent sister Beale Street joint, Blues City Café. Pizzas are topped with the Blues City bbq and baked in-house there at 152. Like the one from Silky’s, the crust was “breadier” than I like, lacking those crispy edges and bottom. The sauce was dark as the night is long at this Beale Street club. I like charred edges, but this pizza had some slightly burnt, bitterness in places. The pork only had very slight smoke flavor, but was definitely present. With a few minor adjustments, this bbq pizza has a chance, especially as a convenient bbq pizza bite after a night of dancing and cocktails.

For our non-pork eaters (poor souls), bbq chicken pizzas are a dime a dozen, but allow me to offer a couple of options that will give foodie adventurers a more local taste of Memphis.

Pizza On Beale

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BBQ Chicken Pizza Baked in an Outdoor Wood-Fired Pizza Oven Right on Beale Street in Memphis

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Outdoor Wood-Fired Pizzas on Beale from Pizza on Beale

Walking down Beale, just look behind the Pizza On Beale sign, and you’ll see a wood-fired pizza oven, right there out in the open on the side of the street! Pizza by the slice is up for grabs, or whole pies can be ordered. The crusts aren’t made in-house, but are sourced from a local bakery, according to owner, Jeremiah Martin. Jeremiah does smoke his own meats and make his own sauce, however. Think about it-smoked meat on a wood-fire kissed pizza, right on Beale Street in Memphis! I certainly couldn’t just keep walking. I had both the bbq pork and bbq chicken pizzas.

St. Jude Parents Offer Wood-Fired Pizza and Tacos on Beale Street with Pizza on Beale and 901 Tacos

St. Jude Parents Offer Wood-Fired Pizza and Tacos on Beale Street with Pizza on Beale and 901 Tacos

The bbq chicken pizza in particular was outstanding. By design, the pork didn’t offer much in terms of smoke, since it was primarily prepared for pork carnitas tacos at the sister restaurant, 901 Tacos, which Jeremiah co-owns with his fiancé, Carey Clark. They met at St. Jude and began fighting together for the lives of their children, who are real troopers themselves. He’s from Kansas City and she’s from Austin-both bbq cities in their own right. They

Pizza on Beale's Outdoor Wodd-Fired Pizza Oven

Pizza on Beale’s Outdoor Wodd-Fired Pizza Oven

fit in well here, after adopting Memphis as their home, and tell me they’re committed to serving the local community. As for the bbq pizza, Jeremiah did tell me that he was contemplating cranking up the smoke for the shoulder meat in the future, but the bbq chicken pizza was what really caught my attention. I’m not usually a big fan of chicken on pizza. In general, I prefer pork or beef for pizza. But the balanced wood-smoke flavor, homemade bbq sauce and crispy fried onions all complimented that thin and crispy wood-fired crust perfectly. For non-pork eaters wishing to experience Memphis bbq pizza on Beale Street (with a touch of KC), here’s your chance.

Erica’s Pizza, Quiche & More (a.k.a. The Pizza Lady, Pizza Queen)

bbq chicken pizza

A Decadent, Cheesy, Saucy BBQ Chicken Pizza from “The Pizza Lady” in Memphis

I actually haven’t had Erica Jones’ bbq chicken pizza yet, but it’s on my radar for sure. I’m so interested, because I hear so many ‘rumblings’ among locals and on social media about how amazing her home-cooked pizzas are. People sometimes refer to her as, “the pizza lady,” and she’s been called, “pizza queen” as well. Her majesty’s pizzas are only available on weekends though, and only directly from her. I’ll update this article, once I’ve had the opportunity to get my hands on one of these “underground” bbq chicken pizzas . And I’d love to hear from any reader who’s already experienced her food. Until then, Erica was kind enough to send me a photo of her bbq chicken pizza. It looks decadent from the picture. Other baked goods, such as her various quiches, creative desserts and buttery cinnamon rolls, also look heavenly.

Looking for BBQ Pizza near you? Check out my Memphis BBQ Pizza Map Below!

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below the map. Tim Shirley

Memphis Pizza BBQ Map

Categories: BBQ Chicken and Smoked Turkey, BBQ Pizza, Best BBQ Beef, Best BBQ Smoked Sausages, Best Pork Shoulder, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Chef TNT BBQ-A Memphis Food Truck Treasure

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fire icon quick fire guideThank you Chef TNT BBQ! Thank you for barbecue that actually tastes like barbecue. Thank you for smoked ribs that actually have smoke flavor. And thank you for actually smoking your meats. Allow me a moment to vent a little. In stark contrast, I recently revisited (for the fourth time) a famous Memphis bbq restaurant that countless people have

Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck at the NIKE Factory in Memphis

Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck at the NIKE Factory in Memphis

seen on TV, hoping to discover that all my other visits were flukes and that I would finally find out what all the fuss was about. I could then report that in the past, I’d just stopped in on a bad day-that the bbq served there did indeed represented to the world, what Memphis ‘que is all about. After all, so many signs, ads, TV shows, websites, even other bbq bloggers have touted the place as one of the best places in Memphis (and therefore the world) for real-pit bbq. On this last visit to said famous bbq restaurant, I tried. I really did. I tried to find smoke flavor in the meat. I was careful to pick out some pieces, from the exterior (it gets the most smoke exposure), not covered by sauce. I savored the bite of meat for a minute or two, looking for smoke. The result? No smoke to be found anywhere in a hundred miles. The restaurant is not important here. A read through my articles will reveal more than one smokeless bbq joint. The fact is, some of the famous spots for bbq really do have great bbq, while others are living off of reputation. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Memphis barbecue, but if there’s anything that irks me in our beloved bbq city, it’s barbecue restaurants, especially famous ones, that misrepresent Memphis bbq by serving smokeless, or near smokeless meat. Condiments, such as sauces and seasonings are secondary. The essence of true southern bar-b-q is the smoke. That’s really what bbq is all about. But getting the right amount of smoke flavor in the meat, takes some smoky skillfulness, meat mastery and fiery finesse.

Where then can one procure such smoke-filled meats? I say ditch some of the tourist draws and hunt down some of the local food trucks. A really good one for authentic Memphis barbecue is-you guessed it, Chef TNT BBQ. Really, food trucks often offer

Wood-Smoked Ribs from Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck in Memphis

Wood-Smoked Ribs from Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck in Memphis

some of the best food in town. Ever since the Food Network aired various popular shows about food trucks, there has been an explosion of food truck businesses all across the U.S. Until just a few years ago, the Health Department in Memphis only allowed concessions at fairs, festivals and similar events. It was illegal to just park and sell food. It hadn’t always been that way though. In the olden days, Memphis had roadside pits everywhere. It was part of our food culture. Our local government at some point took that away, robbing Memphis of a very important part of its culinary heritage. People would still set up roadside pits, but only on the weekend, when the Health Department was closed. It wasn’t until food trucks became a fad in recent years (and local municipalities didn’t want Memphis to be left out), that our local government relaxed the laws, allowing the widespread operation of food trucks. So thank you Food Network!

Grabbing a bite of outstanding bbq from a local food truck has become a favorite pastime for me. I have to first pull up the food truck’s page on social media to see where they’ll be next, which makes it even more fun! It’s kind of like going on a treasure hunt for that hidden bbq gem. I’ve discovered a handful of really amazing food trucks around Memphis, and one of the most recent standouts is Chef TNT. I followed them to the Nike employee store in the Raleigh-Frayser

BBQ Fries from Chef TNT Food Truck in Memphis

BBQ Fries from Chef TNT Food Truck in Memphis

area of Memphis. Nike has a nice track record of reaching out to locals. Every year Nike opens the doors of its employee-only store to police, corrections, teachers and the like. Now, they’ve opened their grounds for local flavors by way of food trucks.  So thanks Nike, for allowing me to unearth this bbq rib treasure! At TNT, these pit chefs are reppin’

Memphis quite well, cranking out tons of slow-smoked ‘que all over the city every week. Chef TNT is a collaboration of Jeremiah Clements and his Chefs, Tony and Tencil-hence the name Chef TNT. These dynamite chefs are creating explosive flavors that will leave any southern soul satisfied. I can talk about the huge portion of bbq fries, loaded with succulent smoked pork shoulder, sweet and tangy bbq sauce, creamy melted cheese, briny black olives and spicy jalapeños, ready to blast away even the most yearning hunger. I could describe the wonderful contrast of the caramelized outer edges of the ribs, with the moist and tender interior meat-meat so juicy, I was easily able to squeeze juices from a piece (see photos). I enjoyed so many elements of the food from Chef TNT, but above all, the one thing that stood out, was how perfectly

Smoky, Juicy Rib Meat from Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck in Memphis

Smoky, Juicy Rib Meat from Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck in Memphis

balanced the smoke flavors were. Notice in the rib photos, the deeply penetrated pink “smoke ring,” evidence of properly smoked meat. So again I say, Thank you Chef TNT BBQ-for representing what Memphis bbq is all about. And competition beware. Jeremiah’s energetic personality, combined with the smokin’ talent of his chefs, is a formula that has the potential to detonate competition around town. After all, Chef TNT’s slogan is, Come Taste The Explosion Of Flavor!

So whether it’s a resolve to get fit (and those killer Jordans from Nike that you know will help you get there), or your next bbq food truck adventure to discover real Memphis barbecue from Chef TNT, don’t rest on your laurels. Nothing’s holding you back! Get out and Just Do I…you know the rest.

Don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Pit-Master Chef Tony Of Chef TNT BBQ Stokin' His Smokin' Pit With Wood

Pit-Master Chef Tony Of Chef TNT BBQ Stokin’ His Smokin’ Pit With Wood

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-The Memphis-style “dry” ribs (a little sauce on the side) were moist and tender enough that I was easily able to squeeze juices from the meat, which also pulled easily from the bone. The savory exterior bark (crust) provided a nice contrast in texture with the smoky, succulent interior meat.
  • BBQ Fries-The bbq fries offered plenty for the taste buds, as well as the senses. They were topped with cheese, smoked pork shoulder meat, bbq sauce, briny black olives and spicy jalapeños. Of course, the star of the show was the tender smoked pork.
  • Smoked Chicken Breast Sandwich-One might think that smoking a boneless, skinless chicken breast might result in something that closely resembles cardboard. Chef TNT’s smoked chicken breast was both tender and moist. For anyone not eating pork, or who simply wants a lighter option, the smoked chicken sandwich provides a healthy, yet tender and smoky alternative.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-These ribs sported a deep, visible smoke ring-a sign of well-smoked meat. Notice the pink is on the exterior, not in the center as one would see in, say, a rare-cooked steak. That’s because this type of pink color on the outer edges of the meat comes from long, low and slow hours of exposure to wood smoke, and not from being undercooked. The meat on these outstanding ribs had a very robust, yet balanced wood smoke flavor.
  • BBQ Fries-As with the ribs, the pork shoulder had full and balanced wood smoke flavor.
  • Smoked Chicken Breast Sandwich-The chicken breast also had flavorful, balanced wood smoke flavor.

Sauce-The bbq sauce was a sweet-style sauce, with some tanginess to round off the flavors. I thought the sauce complimented the ribs (sauce on the side), bbq fries and chicken, allowing the meat to be in the forefront.

Follow Chef TNT BBQ on social media herehttps://www.facebook.com/cheftntcatering/.

Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck "Come Taste The Explosion of Flavor!"

Chef TNT BBQ Food Truck “Come Taste The Explosion of Flavor!”

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Categories: BBQ Chicken and Smoked Turkey, Best Pork Shoulder, Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gene’s Bar-B-Que-Wood-Smoked Spare Ribs from Arkansas

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-These ribs were moist and tender, but not falling off of the bone, which is actually a good sign of well-cooked ribs. Notice in my photos, that the ribs also had a nice exterior bark, which was also smoky and savory.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-The ribs had ideal wood-smoke flavor and a visible smoke ring can be seen in my photo.

Sauce-The sauce was tangier than it was sweet. It had the kind of flavor I prefer for smoked pork shoulder. I liked the ratio of tanginess to sweetness and just enjoyed the sauce overall.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyGene's BBQ & Family Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories: Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taylormade B-B-Q-Charcoal Smoked Dry Ribs From a Memphis Food Truck

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Smoke Drifting from a BBQ Pit at the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

Smoke Drifting from a BBQ Pit at the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-My ribs from Taylor Made had plenty of moisture and tenderness. With only the slightest pressure, I was able to squeeze juices from the meat-an indication that the ribs had been cooked properly. The crusty bark formed on the exterior of the meat contrasted nicely with the moist and tender interior. I was easily able to pull meat from the bone, yet, the bones maintained integrity, instead of falling apart like boiled ribs-yet another sign of perfectly smoked ribs.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-These delicious, savory dry ribs had robust, but balanced charcoal smoke flavor.
Charcoal-Smoked Ribs from the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

Charcoal-Smoked Ribs from the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

I picked up my ribs from Taylor Made on a weekend, out by the MATA bus station.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Pit-Master Reginald Taylor Working His Pit at the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

Pit-Master Reginald Taylor Working His Pit at the Taylor Made BBQ Food Truck

Categories: Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pete & Sam’s Fantastic BBQ Pizza

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness

  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder, which was generously piled onto the bbq pizza, was moist and tender, with crispy portions of bark from the outer crust of the meat.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder is smoked in-house at Pete & Sam’s and was full of really aromatic and savory smoke flavor, which complimented the cheesy handmade pizza.

Sauce-The barbecue sauce was a tasty sweet and tangy sauce and the red sauce provided that naturally sweet tomato base that we all expect on a pizza.

Crust-The crust was very thin and crispy, but still slightly spongy in the interior, so that a slice drooped a little when held horizontally, just like the pizza I’ve enjoyed in New York City. Each slice provided some cracker-like crunch on the exterior bite, but didn’t break apart like some “cracker” style pizzas, because of the spongy center.

Cheese-Mozzarella was used for that gooey stretch I expect in pizza, and cheddar was also blended in for some sharp flavor. It’s one of my favorite cheese blends on a pizza. I got the impression that premium ingredients were being used, because the cheeses and really all the toppings and sauces on the pizza were so full of flavor and all the textures worked together beautifully.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Pete & Sam's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories: BBQ Pizza, Best Pork Shoulder, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kelvin’s Hot Wings & Grill Vs. Kelvin’s Bar-B-Q On Wheels

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Rib Tips-The rib tips from the food truck where slightly more tender than I prefer, but I wouldn’t call them tough.
  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder sandwich from the restaurant (whose name later changed to Hibbler’s) didn’t resemble anything like pork shoulder for barbecue. The texture was very firm and reminded me of an overcooked pork chop.

Smoke-

  • Ribs Tips-The rib tips from the food truck had nice charcoal smoke flavor, but a detected a slight charcoal fluid flavor.
  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder sandwich from the restaurant (whose name later changed to Hibbler’s) had no smoke flavor whatsoever. The moment I took the first bite, I predicted their closing. The restaurant didn’t last long under either name.

Sauce-The sauce from the food truck was a standard thick, sweet and tangy sauce. The sauce from the restaurant was slightly sweet, but lacked enough tanginess for my taste. The men I spoke with at both the food truck and the restaurant claimed to be related to Kelvin of the original Kelvin’s BBQ and Hot Wings, whose Frayser restaurant closed before I made it there for a visit. Despite both men claiming to be using the original Kelvin’s bbq sauce recipe, they were both noticeably different.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Categories: Best Pork Shoulder, Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rice Burner-Far East Meets Deep South

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fire icon quick fire guideWho remembers East Meets West with Ming Tsai? You know, that cooking show that premiered in 1998 with chef Tsai demonstrating various recipes and cooking techniques for preparing fusion dishes that blended cuisine of the Far East

Smoked Wings, Fried Rice and an Egg Roll from Rice Burner

Crispy Smoked Wings, Fried Rice and an Egg Roll from Rice Burner

with fare from the western hemisphere? With that in mind, I’d like to introduce a Memphis food truck that offers its own variation of the concept, boldly and unashamedly representing-East Meets South! Think of it as a subgenre of sorts.  It’s a blending of Far Eastern cuisine with the quintessential food of the American South-barbecue! In this case, it’s bbq chicken and bbq smoked brisket. The food truck is Eddie Dixon’s increasingly popular Rice Burner, which offers smoked wings and smoked beef brisket fried rice. Despite the name, none of my rice was actually burnt. Instead, I got perfectly cooked, garlicky rice with those healthy little nibbles of carrots and peas that we’ve all come to expect in a good helping of fried rice. And pairing chicken wings with fried rice makes sense. Wings offer small, bite-size morsels of meat to go with the rice, only, you still get the enjoyment of pulling the meat from the bones (fun for diehard carnivores like me). The simple fact that it’s smoked meat, makes it far superior to General Tso’s chicken for my barbecue-lovin’ taste buds. But if you like standard Japanese-American take-out, Rice Burner offers that too.

Of course, the real star of the show was indeed the smoked meat. When someone mentions bbq chicken, one might imagine a drumstick or thigh and leg quarter glazed with sticky, sweet bbq sauce. But despite common misconceptions, sauce doesn’t make bbq…well, barbecue. The essence of bbq is the smoke. Barbecue pork shoulder is not pork with bbq sauce, it’s smoked pork, sauce or not. The same goes for bbq beef and bbq chicken. So yes, smoked wings fall under the category of bbq, no bbq glaze needed. Rice Burner’s smoked wings have all the elements of great bbq chicken-smoky, moist, tender meat. The crispy skin is a bonus. It’s not often you get smoked

Rice Burner Food Truck in Memphis

Rice Burner Food Truck in Memphis-Far East Meets Deep South!

wings with this much, dare I say, crunch-not like KFC crunch, but crispy enough that I could audibly hear the skin crackle when I took my bite. That contrast of crispy chicken skin with the juicy, wood-smoked interior meat was the stuff of bbq chicken dreams. Eddie achieves this beautiful contrast by smoking, then quickly flash frying the wings. It’s actually a popular technique that’s been circulating around the barbecue scene lately, but not everyone gets it right. It takes some finesse to achieve the right balance of smokiness and crispy skin, without losing moisture and tenderness. Not only was the skin crispy and the meat smoky, but I was easily able to squeeze juices from a piece of chicken (see photo). As for the smoked brisket fried rice, I’ve yet to try it, but I like the idea and it’s on my radar for next time (watch out beef and broccoli).

One might think that I don’t care for bbq sauce, after I’ve stated my case that it’s not necessary for bbq to be considered barbecue. Actually, I do like the various classic bbq sauces (essential or not), but in the case of Rice Burner’s smoked wings, I didn’t miss them. I did, however, enjoy dipping my smoked wings (and that delectable handmade egg roll) into Eddie’s homemade yum yum sauce-a creamy, slightly sweet and nicely seasoned

Crispy and Juicy Smoked Wings from Rice Burner

Crispy and Juicy Smoked Wings from Rice Burner

mayonnaise-based sauce with subtle notes of garlic and/or onion. For those who are familiar with Northern Alabama’s white mayo-based bbq sauce, specifically designed for poultry (smoked chicken and turkey), then you know that pairing yum yum sauce with smoked chicken is actually quite brilliant and it works. The sauce doesn’t make it barbecue, but it does compliment it nicely. In one bite of yum yum-dipped smoked wing meat, you get a creamy, crispy, juicy, smoky, savory, slightly sweet explosion of flavors and textures.

So whether you like Chinese, Japanese, Thai curry or down south BBQ, Eddie Dixon has got you covered at his Rice Burner. Like treasure hunting, use social media to find the next location of Rice Burner and discover the taste of Far East meets Deep South! Yum Yum Get Sum!

Don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Smoked, Then Flash Fried Wings from Rice Burner Had Crispy Skin and Juicy Meat

Smoked, Then Flash Fried Wings from Rice Burner

Tenderness

  • Smoked Wings-These moist and tender wings were contrasted beautifully by the crispy skin. I was able to easily squeeze juices from a piece of wing meat.
  • Beef Brisket Fried Rice-I’ve yet to try it, but it’s on my radar.

Smoke

  • Smoked Wings-These wings had full, but balanced wood smoke flavor.
  • Beef Brisket Fried Rice-I’ve yet to try it, but it’s on my radar.

Sauce-Eddie Dixon’s homemade yum yum sauce was creamy, slightly sweet and nicely seasoned with subtle notes of garlic and/or onion. I enjoyed it for dipping both my wings and egg roll into. The sweet and sour was a tasty store bought sauce, but Eddie also offers a homemade ginger sauce, which I’ve yet to try.

A quick shout out to KC’s Southern Fried Rice, a flea market concessions trailer in Memphis that also joins East and South cuisine with their smoked rib tip fried rice. Check back in the near future on the BBQ Guide for my review of KC’s.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Categories: BBQ Chicken and Smoked Turkey, Best BBQ Beef, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One & Only BBQ

 

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Check back in the future for a full review. If you’d like to read more about it sooner, comment to let me know. Until then, don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

fire icon10Quick-Fire Guide:

Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-On my first visit to the flagship store at Poplar and Kirby years ago, the ribs were tender and moist, but lacked a fully developed bark (crust). They’d only been open for a few weeks and still seemed to be working out the kinks. On my first visit to their second location (and my favorite) at Poplar and Perkins Ext, my ribs were perfectly tender and moist, with a fully developed bark. On every visit since, my ribs have been outstanding. I even requested them for my birthday one year.
  • Shoulder-My pork shoulder meat from the Perkins Ext location has always been moist, tender and with a nice exterior crust. The smoked pork on my bbq nachos from the Timber Creek store was also tender and moist, but the bark was a little soggy in places.
  • Beef Brisket-On my first visit to the Poplar Kirby store, the brisket was fa-a-ar from the real-deal stuff I’ve experienced in Texas and Kansas City. It was actually grilled, complete with grill marks. It was ok, but just resembled thin-cut steaks and was just simply nothing like smoked bbq beef brisket the way that I have experienced it and enjoy it. Fast forward a few years, One & Only had grown in popularity and I’d discovered that the Perkins Ext store was my favorite. I decided to try the brisket again and it was totally different from the brisket we had on our first experience. This brisket was actually more like Texas brisket, only, it was slightly overcooked and a bit dry in places, while maintaining some juiciness overall.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-On my first visit to the flagship restaurant in Germantown, the ribs were a bit over-smoked and slightly bitter, ashy tasting. On every visit since then to the Perkins Ext store, my ribs have outstanding wood-smoked flavor.
  • Shoulder-The pork shoulder from Perkins Ext has always had beautiful wood-smoked flavor. At the new Timber Creek restaurant, the pork on my bbq nachos had nice wood smoke flavor.
  • Beef Brisket-My brisket from the Kirby store years ago lacked enough smoke flavor (while the ribs had too much, interestingly enough). Since then, my brisket from the Perkins Ext store had nice wood smoke flavor.

Sauce-I really enjoy the particular balance of sweetness, tanginess and spiciness in both the regular and hot bbq sauces from One & Only BBQ. I usually get both. I’d even go as far as to say that they’re some of my favorite bbq sauces.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyOne & Only BBQ and More Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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A Taste of Tennessee-BBQ Trailer

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-Was sloppy tender, scooped out of a slow cooker. This type of mushy ‘que reminds me of the stuff we were served for lunch as kids in Memphis public schools. The sauce was mixed throughout the meat. Standard Memphis ‘que is served with sauce poured over the pork shoulder to layer the flavors and allow the pork to shine, without being masked by the sauce.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-Despite the its shortcomings as barbecue, the meat did have a slight smoke flavor. and I didn’t get the impression that I was just tasting liquid smoke. The meat was smoked, no doubt, since smoke was pouring from a flue sticking right out of the side of the bbq trailer. It seems the slow cooker was just being used to keep the meat warm.

Sauce-As mentioned above, the sauce was mixed throughout the meat, which masks the meat itself. The sauce itself had some sweetness, only slight tanginess and a slight bitter note.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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Baby Jack’s BBQ-Northern Alabama-Style BBQ in Bartlett, TN

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-On my first within their first year of business, I took my family. The boys and I split a slab of wet ribs. I liked that the sauce was glazed on, instead of poured on, however, I thought the sauce was too sweet and overpowered the meat a bit. The meat was moist and tender. When I took a bite, the meat pulled easily from the bone, but only where I took my bite. On my second visit years later, I ordered dry ribs to go. The meat was moist
    Rib Meat and Red BBQ Sauce From Baby Jack's BBQ

    Rib Meat and Red BBQ Sauce From Baby Jack’s BBQ

    and fell off the bone, which would actually result in a lower score in competition bbq. The meat should pull away from the bone easily, without all of the meat falling off the bone when you take a bite. Still, many people enjoy fall-off-the-bone ribs. I enjoyed the well-seasoned, savory, crusty bark, which contrasted nicely with the succulent interior meat.

  • Shoulder-Was moist and tender, but lacked any bark (crust).
  • Chicken-Was very moist and tender, with delicious, savory skin.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-On my first visit, I thought the ribs were perfectly smoked, but that the very sweet sauce overpowered the meat a bit. On my second visit, I thought the dry ribs had a very pronounced wood-smoke flavor, perhaps bordering too much. there was a slight bitterness, but I still enjoyed them.
  • Shoulder-had only a very slight smoky flavor.
  • Chicken-Had really nice wood-smoked flavor, which paired beautifully with the “Bama” white sauce.

Red BBQ Sauce-On my first visit was too sweet for my taste. On my second visit, I thought it was more balanced, but I didn’t ask if the recipe had been modified. I controlled the meat-to-sauce ratio on my second visit by ordering dry ribs, with sauce on the side. Eating the ribs this way, I thought the sauce complimented the meat very well. Note: It’s worth mentioning that Baby Jack’s BBQ offers a variety of sauces to appeal to various palates. I tasted them all, but didn’t note all of the nuances of each one. I focused on the house bbq sauce and the white sauce (below).

Northern Alabama-Style White BBQ Sauce From Baby Jack's BBQ

Northern Alabama-Style White BBQ Sauce From Baby Jack’s BBQ

White BBQ Sauce-This northern Alabama white bbq sauce is a creamy, tangy, spicy mayonnaise-based bbq sauce designed for poultry. I’ve had Big Bob Gibson’s white sauce in Decatur, Alabama among others and I thought Baby Jack’s was quite exceptional.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

Baby Jack's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Categories: BBQ Chicken and Smoked Turkey, Best Pork Shoulder, Best Ribs, Memphis BBQ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweet Pea-Truck Stop BBQ in Arkansas

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-Was tender and did have some crust (bark), though it was quite soggy.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-With wood stacked by what appears to be a screened in pit-house, I expected meat kissed with beautiful wood smoke. Unfortunately, the pork lacked any smoke flavor. Even worse, the meat itself tasted funky, as though it had decayed. The clerk did tell me that the meat was smoked once a week (on Thursday I think). We were already back on the road, so I couldn’t return it, nor could I finish it. It could be one of the worst bbq experiences I’ve ever had. Evidently, others have had a similar experience. Follow the following link to read about a trucker’s personal experience At Sweet Pea Truck Stop. https://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckingindustryforum/threads/sweet-peas-truck-stop-wheatley-ark.213505/

Sauce-Was a standard sweet and tangy sauce.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Tim Shirley

Categories: Best Pork Shoulder, Memphis BBQ | Leave a comment

Old School B-B-Q-Fair Concession

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-Was moist and tender on my sandwich with a little bark.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-Has some nice smoke from their huge box-shaped cabinet smokers.

Sauce-Was a sweet and tangy sauce that complimented the sandwich.

Slaw-The crunchy, tangy slaw also complimented the sandwich.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

 

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Wolf River BBQ Co. in Moscow, TN

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were sloppy tender, as though they had been parboiled or spent too much time in a foil pouch. Some bark was there, but so was quite a bit of fat covering portions of the ribs. Despite the fact that the ribs fell apart in the middle portions, the ends were quite dry and chewy.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Were void of smoke flavor. Despite the huge metal pits outside, I just didn’t get any smoke.

Sauce-Instead of being glazed or poured on, the sauce was sort of sloppily brushed through the middle portion of the ribs. I thought the sauce was rather bland, but did provide some slightly sweet tanginess for the otherwise tasteless ribs.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyWolf River Barbecue Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Papa Chuck’s BBQ-A Charcoal Pit BBQ Concession

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were a bit dry and chewy on the end pieces, but maintained some moisture and tenderness in the center bones.
  • Shoulder-Was moist and tender, but somewhat mushy. Some bark was included, which provided some nice contrast in texture.
  • Smoked Turkey Leg-Had a really nice bark with a well-seasoned flavor and the meat was moist and tender.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had nice charcoal smoke flavor, but I detected some charcoal fluid taste as well.
  • Shoulder-Had nice charcoal smoke flavor.
  • Smoked Turkey Leg-Had nice charcoal smoke flavor with a touch of wood smoke.

Sauce-I liked the tangy, sweet and a slightly spicy bbq sauce, but I’m not a fan of mixing the sauce and meat together. Most Memphis bbq joints pour it on top of the smoked pork. That way, you get some bites of smoked meat that are not covered in sauce. Layering the flavors this way allows the wood-smoked pork to come through, while being complimented by the sauce, but not saturated with it.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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Alex’s Tavern-Dry Ribs and Greek Burgers

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were moist and tender enough to eat without much struggle, but not quite as tender as I prefer. The bark was savory and crusty-probably one of the best bbq dry rub flavors I’ve tasted.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had really nice charcoal smoke flavor.

Sauce-I found the tangy, slightly sweet sauce very pleasing.

Famous “Greek” Burger-I appreciated the well-melted cheese, but I thought the burger was overall overrated. As for its texture, the burger did have a well-developed exterior crust, but the interior meat was a bit dry. As for flavor, I thought the Greek seasoning overpowered the beef and I thought there may have been lamb or some other meat blended with the ground beef, which I wasn’t partial to. These strong flavors just took away from the burger for me. If you’re not expecting an American burger, you might enjoy this Greek burger. Still, I didn’t like it as much as the standard American burger. It’s a very popular burger in Memphis and I plan to give it another try. Who knows, maybe I’ll warm up to it.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyAlex's Tavern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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PC BBQ-Golf Range ‘Que-Now Closed

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The cashier told me after I’d already ordered, that the owner was a bbq competitor from Texas and that the beef brisket was their best bbq offering at PC BBQ. I’d intended to return for the brisket, but they closed before I made it back. As for the ribs-I wasn’t impressed, but I did enjoy the hot bbq sauce. Don’t miss my Quick-Fire Guide below. Also check out full reviews and Quick-Fire Guides of other bbq restaurants from my BBQ Guide.

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were moist, but very tough and a struggle to eat. The seasoned bark was mushy and not fully developed.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had a bitter, ashy smoke flavor that overpowered the meat.

Sauce-I liked the thin, slightly sweet and tangy, hot bbq sauce.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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Westy’s-Outstanding Ribs and Burgers From A Bar Near Bass Pro Pyramid

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Where moist and perfectly tender, even by bbq competition standards. The meat pulled easily from the bone without falling apart. The meat also had a really nice crusty and well-seasoned bark.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had perfect wood-smoke flavor for my taste. Overall, I was very impressed with my ribs from Westy’s.

Sauce-Was a standard sweet and tangy sauce. I thought it complimented the ribs just fine, although the smoky meat was exceptional and could have stood alone without sauce. On my next visit, I’ll order dry ribs with bbq sauce on the side.

Burger-Was juicy and had a nice exterior well-seasoned crust. The creaminess of the cream cheese with the jalapeños and onions on that tasty beef all came together to make one of the best burgers I’ve had in Memphis.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyWesty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Elwood’s Shack in a Lowe’s Parking Lot in Memphis

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-My ribs were slightly tough. The dry ribs had a nice bark, but I thought the bbq dry rub seasoning was applied too heavily.
  • Shoulder-Was tender, but a bit dry. I’m not a fan of shredding the pork in such a way that results in stringy pieces, which is what I got on my sandwich from Elwood’s Shack.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had slightly bitter smoke flavor from too much smoke. I still enjoyed them.
  • Shoulder-Had nice smoke flavor.

Sauce-Had a nice balance of tanginess, sweetness and spiciness.

Slaw-I thought the purple blue cheese slaw overpowered the smoked pork. Thankfully, Elwood’s offers a more traditional slaw as well.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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¡Chiwawa!-“Smoked” Beef Brisket Tacos-Now Closed

 

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Beef Brisket Tacos-The meat was tender, but lacked bark.

Smoke-

  • Beef Brisket Tacos-The “smoked” brisket meat was completely void of smoke flavor. The total combination of flavors (especially the fried onions) on the tacos worked, but some wood smoke would’ve made them outstanding.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim Shirley

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Sparky’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-Was moist and tender with a little bark.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-The pork had very slight smoke flavor, which was disappointing coming from a place claiming “Real Pit” barbecue. But it was a tasty sandwich overall with the sauce and slaw. With some good “real pit” smoke and that sauce, it would’ve been an awesome bbq sandwich.

Sauce-The sauce had a nice balance of tanginess, sweetness and spiciness.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleySparky's Crosstown BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Backyard Bar-B-Cue in Brownsville, TN

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Shoulder-The bbq pork shoulder was tender and moist.

Smoke-

  • Shoulder-The bbq pork shoulder lacked smoke flavor, which is what truly makes barbecue-barbecue.

Sauce-Was slightly tangy and sweet, but somewhat bland.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyBack Yard Bar-Be-Cue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Latham’s Meat Co-Smoked Ribs and BBQ Pork Skins in Jackson, TN

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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:

Tenderness-

  • Ribs-Were Tender, and had a very well seasoned bark. The meat was a bit dry and chewy in places, but still had enough moisture throughout most of the slab to eat without struggle.

Smoke-

  • Ribs-Had decent smoke flavor. I would’ve like more smoke on the meat, but good nonetheless. The savory seasoning in particular worked really well with the rib meat. It was probably some of the best bbq seasoning I’ve ever tasted.

Sauce-I had dry ribs, but I enjoyed the tangy sauce for dipping a little here and there.

BBQ Pork Skins-The house-made bbq pork skins made the perfect savory, crispy and smoky snack for our road trip.

Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Comments, rants, raves, disagreements and downright bbq feuds are welcome below. Tim ShirleyLatham's Meat Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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