There could be no more fitting place to begin a tour of barbecue in the South than the home of the blues and the birthplace of rock n' roll. Beyond holding a reputation for having some of the best barbecue around, Memphis, Tennessee is also a vibrant city full of energy, culture, and history. Musical tradition in Memphis runs deep, with delta blues, gospel, and rock n' roll all owing much to the city for its roots and influences. The tastes and smells of Memphis are perhaps the most recognizable and memorable impressions to visitors of the city, with barbecue and soul food contributing to Memphis' standing as America's unhealthiest city (and we're proud of it, too). Basketball provides an opportunity to work off the extra calories from one's equine indulgences. Professional, collegiate and high school basketball all are wildly popular among Memphians, and the pristine FedExForum arena provides a great venue to watch a game. As a native of the city, I am proud to have had the opportunity to host our brave purveyors of pork in Memphis.
Memphians take great pride in the barbecue that has become part of their civic identity. Memphis-style barbecue is both distinctive and delicious, and is copied by restaurants all over the country who attempt to recreate the taste and the experience. A sweet and/or hot vinegar-based sauce, dry rubbed pork ribs, and chopped pork shoulder are all characteristic of the Memphis-style of barbecue (note that neither beef nor chicken were mentioned in the previous sentence... Jeff). Though the sauce is always included with the barbecue, it is intended to serve as a complement to the pork rather than being a necessity. This ensures that the pork is tender and succulent, and is appetizing on its own accord.
The barbecue boys have enjoyed many of the highlights of the Memphis experience during their short stay in the Bluff City. They walked with their feet ten feet off of Beale, took in a Memphis Tigers basketball game at the Forum, and explored the neon jungle of Poplar Avenue in the BBQ-mobile, affectionately dubbed "Babe." The boys have experienced the best that Memphis has to offer, and my only regret is that I fear that they have nowhere to go but downhill from here (especially in that black hole of culture known as Nashville).
Greetings from Memphis,