Tastee Bar-B-Q on Brooks road near the Memphis International Airport, is an unassuming bbq joint, conveniently located in the same little strip mall as a meat market. I found it years ago, simply by looking through an online phonebook for my next bbq adventure. You can’t miss it if you’re driving by their big yellow sign with bright red letters. Most people I ask have never heard of it, yet a few have verified that it was around when they were kids. It may be little known and overlooked by the masses, but it was obvious when I was there that Tastee had a loyal clientele. Small talk between patrons and workers revealed their familiarity with each other as people lined up during a
very busy rush. Since ribs were only sold on Thursday during lunch, I made the trip out there to pick up some to go. The place was booming with construction workers, older people and others on lunch break. Despite the busy crowd the servers were noticeably friendly and helpful. I actually got the last of the ribs and lunch was still in full swing. One of the staff had already warned me earlier over the phone that the ribs would go really fast and was kind enough to set some aside for me. I was served four bones, which were taken from a stainless steel pan where they were kept and served with two sides and my choice of bread. When given the choice of a roll, cornbread or spicy cornbread, I asked the guy to surprise me with his favorite. The spicy cornbread made it into my box and created a beautiful marriage with my bbq beans. I didn’t have the sandwich on this visit, but I actually got a few tastee bits of the smoked pork shoulder mixed into the bbq baked beans. These tastee beans were smoky, meaty and a little sweet.
Large iron doors on the wall behind the counter opened up into a large meat-loaded smokin’ pit. The ribs were noticeably smoked, but were kept in a covered pan under a heating lamp, which may have been the reason they were a bit dry. But they were actually still tender enough to eat without struggle. I would have preferred them a bit more succulent, but I really liked the flavor. The seasoning was robust and the crisp bark or crust was really pronounced. They actually reminded me more of pork chops in terms of texture and seasoning, and had some good smoky barbecued flavor as well. They were different, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed the crisp outer texture with the sweet and tangy sauce on the side, which I thought complimented the ribs well.
My next visit was all about the sandwich. The slaw was yellow and mustardy, but not overpoweringly so. I thought it made a great “bbq slaw.” The crusty bits mixed with tender meat, tangy sweet sauce and mustard slaw all harmonized into a great bbq sandwich. I agree with the restaurant’s name. The bbq is indeed quite tastee.
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Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- Ribs-Were tender, similar to pork chops in texture. Slightly dry, but not tough. They did have a very well seasoned, crusty exterior bark.
- Shoulder-Was moist and tender, with bits of crusty bark mixed in.
- Ribs-Had nice smoke flavor.
- Shoulder-Had nice smoke flavor.
Sauce-A “tastee” sweet and tangy style sauce.
Slaw-Was a mustard slaw that complimented the sandwich well.