Monday, May 23, 2011

A&R Bar-B-Q

3721 Hickory Hill Rd

Memphis, TN 38115


Open M-Thur 10-10, F-Sat 10-11

After just a few visits to the charcoal fueled joints in Memphis, the smell of burning charcoal is unmistakable. The odor outside of A&R was richer than that of a simple wood fire, and I already knew the answer before asking about their fuel at the counter, or so I thought. They also burn down hickory to coals and mix them with the charcoal in their direct heat cooker.

That direct heat put plenty of charcoal flavor into the thick, meaty St. Louis ribs, but they cook up a little tougher as well. While the flavor was good, and nicely complemented by the pleasantly spicy sauce, it just took too much work to get these bones clean.

This pork sandwich may have been more satisfying if we hadn't sampled so many great ones on this day, but it just seemed unremarkable. While the meat was moist, it just lacked a bold flavor. Opting for the mild sauce was also a mistake as it was a simple sweet sauce that lacked the complexity of the hot sauce. The fired pies are famous here, and I bought on to-go with every intention of eating it, but after a full day of stuffing my face with meat, slaw and sauce, I just couldn't take any more and left it my buddy's house for his enjoyment.

Rating **
A & R Barbeque on Urbanspoon

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Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.