7 Spots With The Best BBQ In Memphis

Although tourists and travellers arrive to Memphis, Tennesse in search of the “Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll,” the city’s also known as the BBQ Capital of the World. Or, at least that’s what any local from Memphis will tell you. And, we’d have to agree.

Deliciously barbecued pork that’s been dipped, drizzled, and doused in various different kinds of sauces has become so synonymous with this city that it’s extremely hard to rank the best BBQ in Memphis.

We’re not looking to start a BBQ-fueled World War III, which is why we polled locals and tourists to find out where eager, hungry visitors can get the best BBQ in Memphis. Here are the seven top spots…

Best BBQ In MemphisHow do these rankings work?

1. Central BBQ

This downtown BBQ joint is famous near and far for being home to the best BBQ in Memphis, in part due to the sheer variety of pork they offer their guests. Choose from mouthwatering pork shoulder and ribs or chow down on what they call “dark,” the heavily smoked crust that any true BBQ lover is going to die for.

Where to Find the Best Barbecue in Memphis

2. Payne’s BBQ

If pork shoulder is what you’re after, then you absolutely have to try the BBQ at Payne’s. The family-owned restaurant serves the best in the city, which they’ll also slice and chop to suit your tastes. We suggest trying their famous BBQ sandwich, but be prepared with more than a few wet wipes as it’s some of the messiest (re delicious) BBQ plates in Memphis.

Best BBQ in Memphis Tennessee
Image: Dave Darnell

3. Tom’s BBQ and Deli

What’s so special about the BBQ here is the fact that the founder worked with an intriguing variety of spices in order to produce some of the most delicious tasting pork in the entire city of Memphis. The secret, we think, is that they let their meat marinate for a whole 24 hours and then rub it with spices that include oregano, garlic, paprika, red and black pepper, thyme, and even cinnamon. A rub like that is what makes Memphis BBQ unique.

BBQ Dry Rub Ribs in Memphis

4. Bar-B-Q Shop Restaurant

If you’ve never smothered slabs of pork in some Dancing Pigs Bar-B-Q sauces and rubs then you’re missing out. Lucky for you, you can try the original BBQ and sauces at Bar-B-Q Shop Restaurant in Memphis. On the menu, you’ll see smoked sausage, pork shoulder or beef with the trademark Dancing Pigs sauce. We recommend trying them all.

5. Memphis Barbecue Co.

Looking for world-class barbecue without the pretence? Memphis Barbecue Co. serves up what you’d expect, some of the best barbecue in Memphis. It’s so good, in fact, that they’ve racked up numerous trophies from the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

6. A&R Barbecue

If you’re travelling through Memphis and love finding hidden spots where you can brush shoulders with locals who will tell you all about the history of their city, then A&R Barbecue is the place for you. It really doesn’t get much more authentic than this. The juicy meat here practically falls off the bone as the smokey smell of the on-site smoke pits wafts into your nose. You’ll definitely be back for more.

7. Leonard’s Pit Barbecue

Looking for the oldest BBQ in Memphis? Leonard’s Pit Barbecue began serving quality meat to residents in 1922, leaving some people to say that it’s the oldest BBQ restaurant in Memphis. Regardless of whether it is or not, there’s one thing that’s certain – the barbecue here is mouthwateringly delicious.

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Elizabeth Thorn
Elizabeth Thorn

Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, all of which have contributed to her passion for travel writing. When she's not writing, you can find her exploring little hideouts in Colombia or watching photography tutorials on YouTube.

Contact: [email protected]

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