Rice Burner-Far East Meets Deep South

Posted by on April 9, 2017

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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


  • 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.


  • 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

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