Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Payne's Bar-B-Q

MEMPHIS: Payne's Bar-B-Q
1762 Lamar Ave

Memphis, TN 38114


Open Sun-Thur 11-6:30, F 11-8

Pleasantly unrefined is the best way to describe this truly unique BBQ joint along Lamar Avenue. A homemade pit fueled with hardwood charcoal sits deep inside the dark kitchen, but when the doors open the sunlight pours in from above creating a glorious image. That tiny kitchen opens up into the high ceiling of the eerily quiet dining room, while a small flame shoots up from the residential style stove top just behind the counter.

Ordering is done at the counter here, and drinks are by the can only. This was the only joint on this Memphis tour without sweet tea. It's also one of the few that mix the sauce with their pork. They are proud of this thin spicy sauce heavy on the vinegar, and it's liberally applied to all the meats. Smoky flavors from the charcoal were evident on the moist and tender pork, and a mustardy kick was provided by the thin slaw. Sure the sandwich may have been a mess, but who cares when the table cloths are plastic.

Vinegar fumes could knock you over when opening the styrofoam container, so be sure to stay seated. These ribs weren't anything to look at, but the flavors and textures were incredibly diverse. Again, the charcoal flavor shines through even with a hefty helping of that vinegar sauce. A chewy and sweet outer crust covered luscious and tender rib meat beneath. They were almost like rib candy.

A side of slaw had too much mustard when not atop the pork sandwich, but the thick sweet beans had a great smoky flavor and plenty of meaty bits. I have a feeling there's not much on this menu that I wouldn't like. I'll have to see how the bologna and sausage stack up next time.

Rating ****
Payne's Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

BP said...

I'm glad you liked Payne's. The chopped shoulder sandwich hot is my favorite barbecue in the world. But then again, I haven't spent much time in Texas...


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.