Central BBQ: Memphis, TN179
with Mike Johnston
Central BBQ, my first stop in Memphis, was a winner! I'd been hearing about it from more then a few people...even some Texas folks.
I had a real informative conversation with pitmaster and co-founder, Craig Blondis. A few tables around us joined in the conversation too because Craig has a way of drawing people in. It also doesn't hurt that he generously offers military discounts on his 'cue on Tuesdays, so the place was filled with members of US Air Force. We chatted it up with Senior Master Sergeant Jimmy Murphy who is a big fan of Craig's chicken. Since Craig overloaded me with a whole rack of ribs, we convinced Jimmy to try some and he's planning on ordering a rib and chicken two plate next time!
That's what barbecue can do: start conversations. And being that Craig has been in Memphis making 'cue for a long time, he was filled with inforomation and not just about barbecue, but other great food places to try here too. Not sure I can fit any of those in, but I'm sure I'll be back to Memphis soon because all his food talk has me pondering my return...and I just got here.
When it comes to the 'cue, his reminds me of the type I grew up on in Chicago. The highlights for me were the perfectly 'cued ribs which he was nice enough to serve with dry rub on one half and wet on the other at my request...perfect for judging a preference. Not surprisingly, as a spice guy, I preferred the dry rub side. He also makes a nice selection of sauces, so with the dry ribs you could easy vary the flavor profile by just dipping a rib in. Otherwise, the barbecue bologna sandwich with slaw was right up my alley. Hard to no love the made-in-house pork rinds and turnip green hit with a little hot pepper sauce to knock down the bitterness. Of course the Sarge endorses the chicken, so you should try that too! #chasingbbq