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In the urban, semi-industrial Orange Mound area of Memphis, you’ll find C & J Bar-B-Que located right on the curve of snaking railroad tracks on Person Ave. A Budweiser was truck being unloaded out front when I arrived during lunch hours, and the place was completely empty. But the beer signs throughout inside were an indication of a place marketing evening crowds. The lone woman running the place was friendly and helpful. She told me that C & J Bar-B-Que had been around for about 14 years as of my visit in 2009. As I waited while my ribs were being warmed up, I became curious about the pit and sort of peeked into the back from the counter to see if I could see it. What were
they smoking with, wood, charcoal or both? And what was the setup of the barbecue pit? Did they smoke indirectly or over the coals? Was the pit comprised of brick or all metal? I think the dear older lady may have interpreted my curiosity as impatience and soon after my ribs were out. Since it may have been partially my fault, I didn’t hold it against her that the ribs were still a little cold. Since I was already in my car when I discovered the ribs weren’t up to temperature, I just ate them “as is.” Surprisingly, despite the temp the ribs had awesome barbecue flavor. Cold or not, these ribs had brilliant barbecue smokiness. The meat was tender enough to eat without too much effort, which was contrasted by the beautiful, crusty bark. I would’ve enjoyed them a touch more tender, but overall-good ribs. The sauce was a tasty marriage of sweet and heat that complimented the ribs nicely. I’m not sure I’ll ever be hanging out in “The Mound” late at night, but I bet the barbecue sells like hotcakes, especially with beer in the house.
Here are a few notes about the ‘que:
- Ribs-Tender enough to eat without too much struggle, but not quite as tender as I like.
- Ribs-Great smoke flavor. Great overall barbecue taste.
Sauce-nice balance of sweet and heat. A thicker, sweet sauce for those who like this type.
Thanks for visiting my Memphis bbq blog! Tim Shirley