Memphis is known for authentic southern barbecue. But not all bbq is created equal. There are many “bbq” joints serving smokeless meat and doing a great job of misrepresenting Memphis bbq. Then there are the middle of the road restaurants. They serve a great sauce with mildly smoky meat. In other words-they pass. Still others have great smoke flavor, but consistently turn out dry or tough meat. And my assessment wouldn’t be complete without mentioning those bbq shops serving meat that has been way over-smoked, producing bitter, ashy tasting barbecue. Finally, there are the pit-masters who are smoking the stuff bbq dreams are made of. Barbecue that’s been smoked with finesse. Meat with full, but balanced smoke. Finding one of these is like unearthing bbq treasure-and I found some.
I discovered Big Gun’s Pit BBQ food truck on Whitten Rd in Memphis while on a lunch break and stopped in to check ’em out. The first good sign was the
presence of wood smoke. The intoxicating aroma of meats smoking in a wood burning pit will always arrest my attention. Then, the sight of a man managing his pit with a shovel filled me with the anticipation that something good was in store-that my craving for authentic “top shelf” barbecue would soon be satiated. While I waited for my smoked rib sandwich and a couple of pork shoulder sandwiches for my boys (all of which we sampled together), owner and pit-master Patrick Jones was kind enough to afford me a few moments for photos and some conversation between two bbq aficionados. Turns out, he’s from Wynn Arkansas and his 62 year old well-seasoned barbecue pit was passed down from his granddad, who taught him his smoky craft from the time he was 13 years old. Pit fire management is probably the most difficult and yet most important aspect of successful barbecuing. It’s a craft Patrick Jones has perfected well. But don’t just take my word for it. Look him up on Facebook to find the current location of Big Gun’s BBQ and get yourself some of this bbq treasure…62 years in the making.
Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- Ribs-were covered with a tasty crusty exterior bark, which contrasted nicely with the succulent, smoky interior. The meat was juicy and tender, but held together well-was not mushy, but pulled easily from the bone.
- Shoulder-was tender and juicy. Some of that crusty bark made its way onto the sandwich as well, which complimented the tender pork.
- Ribs-had perfect wood smoke flavor for my taste. The meat has full, but balanced smoke.
- Shoulder-had perfect wood smoke flavor for my taste. The meat has full, but balanced smoke.
Sauce-was deliciously sweet and tangy. It complimented the smoked pork.
Slaw-crunchy, slightly creamy, a little tangy. It also complimented the smoked meat.
Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Tim Shirley