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Some years ago I came across this little Memphis urban bbq shop at Chelsea and Hollywood. You couldn’t miss it, because several menu ads were painted right onto the red bricks. It was 2:15 in the afternoon. I remembered the exact time because of how things happened. Another man and I were entering the front door of Family Bar-B-Q & Snack Bar at the same. Here’s where things got a little weird. I pushed the door right open, but the lights were off and someone was rattling around in the back. We looked at each other and I know we must’ve been thinking the same thing, “Is someone breaking into this place?” My first thought was that the restaurant was closed on the particular day of the week that we were there, and that we happened to show up right as it was being burglarized. Then a voice came from the back, “We’ll be right there!” As it turned out, this family owned restaurant was simply opening late. We just happened to arrive just as it was being opened…at 2:15 in the afternoon. “Good barbecue is worth the trouble,” I thought. So I walked on into the restaurant, where I found a hand-painted menu right on the walls. As I was going over the menu, the other guy ordered a bbq bologna sandwich. Then my eyes caught “Rib Sandwich” in cursive on the wall. A rib sandwich is most always a less expensive way of trying ribs from any bbq joint. Who wants to spend $20 bucks only to discover that the ribs should’ve come with a chainsaw, or that they taste as though they could’ve been simply baked, Betty Crocker style. A rib sandwich is a good way to try someone’s smoked ribs for the first time. So I ordered my rib sandwich to go and off I went. But I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I had just committed the crime of burglarizing a business.
At first site, the ribs lacked any bark to speak of. This is usually a clear sign that the ribs spent a lot of time in foil and didn’t have a chance to form any real crust. Still, they did have a light smoke flavor and were tender enough to eat without struggle. I didn’t expect much more, since the lady behind the counter told me that they were frozen and need to be reheated. I could’ve just returned another day in hopes of getting ribs fresh off the pit, but I didn’t really see myself returning any time soon. I was there, so I got what they would’ve served anyone else. Perhaps I happened to show up on the worse possible day. Maybe the ribs are usually better. But I can only judge the ribs I had on that visit. And on that visit, they were just OK.
Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- Ribs-tender enough to eat without struggle, but lacked bark for texture and flavor.
- Ribs-had a light smoke flavor
Sauce-was a standard sweet-n-tangy style bbq sauce.
Slaw-finely chopped creamy slaw that complimented the sandwich.