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The Top 10 Best BBQ Restaurants in Memphis

By Shenae Curry

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There is no question that Memphis is the home of BBQ… but how do you decide where to go when you’re there?!

We’ve compiled a list, a guideline if you will, to help you navigate Memphis so you can decide which BBQ joints work for you and where to go.

Check out our list of Memphis’ top BBQ joints

Interstate Barbecue: 2265 S. Third Street

Jim Neely founded this place back in 1979 and it has been one of the city’s top smoked-rib destinations ever since. Pro-tip for air travelers: If you end up missing the original Third Street location, you can grab a sandwich at the Memphis International Airport.

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous: 52 S. Second Street

Back in the 1940s, Charlie Vergos took a few racks of ribs, rubbed them down with a spice blend borrowed from his father’s Greek chili recipe, and cooked them hot and fast over charcoal in a pit fashioned from an old coal chute. The Rendezvous has been the revered home of Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs ever since. 

The Bar-B-Q Shop: 1782 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Family owned and operated, The Bar-B-Q Shop is a Memphis favorite that serves up something for everyone. Order a famous and filling order of ribs known as the Boss Slab or a lighter option of barbecue pork salad. Their barbecue veggie burger has converted meat lovers to the green side on more than one occasion.

Tops Bar-B-Q: 1286 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

In the mood for some Q for breakfast? Tops has got you covered, with most locations opening at 8:30 in the a.m. While the pulled pork sandwich is a go-to, Tops also does a top-notch burger.

Central BBQ: 2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Open since 2002, and full of students from nearby colleges, Central has a breezy, spring-break feel and outdoor deck seating to match.

Neely’s Bar-B-Que: 1 Terminal Dr, Nashville, TN 37214

The dark wood paneling and oversized booths make it seem like a roadhouse tavern until the aroma sets you straight. Don’t miss the succulent pulled-pork platter, served with amazingly rich beans—dark, sweet, and thick with threads of caramelized meat. If you have the stamina, add a helping of beef ribs, a heap of bones worthy of Fred Flintstone that’s loaded with tantalizingly tender meat.

Cozy Corner: 735 North Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105

Once damaged by a fire, but back open, Cozy Corner is serving its all-star lineup that includes an outstanding cornish game hen. Believe it or not, the barbecue bologna sandwich is a standout. Thick slices turn extra tender in the custom smoker, making it unlike any other bologna you’ve ever tried.

One & Only: 567 Perkins Extd, Memphis, TN 38117

Living up to its name, One & Only is the one and only home of the Junkyard Dog. This Memphis-style hotdog is topped with a quarter pound of pulled pork, mild barbecue sauce, coleslaw, barbecue baked beans, hot giardiniera, and French fries. 

Corky’s: 5259 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38119

Don’t let the line of cars fool you, Corky’s is one of the rare “’Cue on the Go” restaurants where you get quality even though it’s served quickly. 

Elwood’s Shack: 4253 Summer Avenue, Memphis, TN

The menu at Elwood’s Shack is not strictly barbecue but also features sandwiches, breakfasts, hot dogs and pizzas. You can find BBQ burritos with pork or beef with jalapeno, onion, tomato and plenty of sauce, BBQ pork with nachos and jalapeno peppers or a BBQ bologna served on crisp white toast.

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