Payne's Bar-B-Que: Memphis, TN180
with Mike Johnston
Payne's Bar-B-Que in Memphis is a down home, nitty gritty, not your mama's gourmet barbecue kind of joint. Please don't take that wrong, that's not a negative...that's a compliment. This is exactly the type of place me and my boys growing up in Chicago would seek out and brag about.
Candice and her brother Ronald help run this joint that her grandmother, grandfather, mother and father started 43 years ago. The original stove (pictured below) still operates and is still the spot where they make their homemade sauces. While the presentation isn't fancy and they use charcoal (not wood) to smoke their meats, this 'cue isn't short on flavor. I tried my best to pry the family sauce recipe out of Candace but to no avail.
I have to say I loved everything I tried. The chopped pork had little bits of bark on it and that combined perfectly with a tangy sweet sauce, which had just a tiny bit of heat (they do have spicy available too). The beans and mustard slaw were full of flavor. Deep fried summer sausage...come on now! But for me, the bologna sandwich topped with that slaw was magical. This place just proves sometimes simplicity works, especially when it's combined with a family that loves what they do. Here's to 43 more years, Payne's!
Brother and sister Robert and Candice