Monday, April 4, 2011

Memphis Airport BBQ

While most of my flying time is direct between DFW Airport and my destination of choice, a couple weeks back I had a flight connecting through Memphis. Can you believe that the first thing I thought about were my BBQ options? I had about a half hour to scarf down some pork from two of Memphis's most famous names.

Corky's is one of the few Memphis joints I've eaten at. That trip back in 1999 was underwhelming, so I wasn't hoping for much at their airport outpost. Corky's was proof that even low expectations can lead to disappointment.

This was undoubtedly steamed pork on a cold white bun. A squirt of sauce didn't help the tasteless meat. Don't waste your time here.

Interstate BBQ is probably best known to BBQ fans and frequent viewers of the Travel Channel as a place to enjoy the oddity of BBQ spaghetti. I wanted to try the more traditional options, and assumed that the spaghetti would only be available as a meal. They must have gotten the memo that people may just want a taste because they offer a scant 6 six ounce portion as a side item.

My opinion of the pulled pork may be tainted by the substandard version at Corky's just a few gates away. The meat was decent with a bit of smokiness, but the sauce overwhelmed. Luckily, they made a good pair, and some cole slaw and bread made for a very successful quartet of flavors. Overcooked ribs with very little flavor of their own were less memorable.

What is BBQ spaghetti? As far as I could tell, it's a mix of shredded pork, pasta that's way past al dente, more of that sweet BBQ sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce to bring it all together. While it was an enjoyable dish, it certainly wouldn't fill a comfort food void that requires smoked meat. After this brief intro, I can't wait for my proper trip to Memphis at the end of the month to see what the rest of the city has to offer. - BBQ Snob


Stillcajun said...

Having been to Memphis on a number of occasions, I have found their BBQ lacking overall. However, I was able to find a couple of spots that seem to have done a good job.

Try Tom's BBQ. Ribs and pulled pork were really good on my visit. So were the rib tips.

Cozy Corner had a good pulled pork sandwich.

I've been to Interstate BBQ, Rendezvous (more grilled than slow-cooked) nice atmosphere though, Neely's, Leonard's and Corky's. To me those spots above have much better food.

I wanted to try the Germantown Commisary just outside Memphis but I just didn't have enough time to get out there. Anyway I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

my wife and i took the memphis rib tour on our own..jim neelys,met him got pics.porkys,rendeavous,and some smaller places on the street.i well ya,i would take any of them on in the rib category..its not all that i expected at all..but had fun talking with jim,my highlight of the trip..

Unknown said...

Try Central BBQ. Forget Rendezvous which is just a tourist trap.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Daniel, I was just in the Ft Lauderdale airport. There was a Corky's there too. Thanks to you, I just kept walking...


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.