BBQ Restaurants In The Mid-South: Let’s Make A List

Posted by Holly Whitfield | January 12th 2017 12358 0

Ah, Memphis Barbecue. Here in this part of the country, we’re surrounded by a mouth-watering meat tornado of smoky goodness, scrumptious sauces, and plenty of slaw to go around…and we love it.

In the 11 years I’ve lived here, I’ve often heard that there are upwards of 100 bbq joints in the area, but let’s be real. I’ve found a few long lists out there, but we mostly only hear about a handful of restaurants.

Central BBQ spread

In our quest to share our BBQ mastery with the world, it’s easy to focus on the favorites, but what if…

One and Only BBQ nachos

What if together make a huge list?

Let’s see how many BBQ restaurants in the area we can find.

World famous Rendezvous dry-rub ribs.

The criteria for adding to the list is that:

  1. The restaurant must be BBQ focused, not just have 1 or 2 bbq items on the menu.*
  2. It should be Memphis, Shelby County, North MS, West Memphis, edging over into Middle Tennessee is fine, etc.
  3. You must include an address or phone number and/or website or Facebook page link in order for your comment to be approved. It’s going to be hard for me to find “John’s BBQ shack” without any other information. Bonus points if you tell me why you like it, or some other unique fact.
  4. Food trucks count, as long as they have an online presence of some kind that allows people to find out where they are.

Payne’s ribs slathered in sauce

So let’s do it. Perfectly-seasoned racks of ribs, tasty bbq spaghetti dishes, pulled pork sandwiches, cheese-laden nachos, and other smoked and slathered delicacies we can list in this here comment section.

It just might be the best comment section ever.

Show Comments


  1. Jonathan Cole says:

    You’re really missing out by not expanding the geographic parameters to Brownsville – just an hour’s drive away. Helen’s BBQ is life changing. Her pulled pork sandwich wins against anything I’ve tried in Memphis. Her smoked bologna is also amazing. If you can stand it, order the BBQ pulled pork and bologna sandwich. She’s been profiled by the Southern Foodways Alliance.

    Helen’s Bar-B Que
    1016 N Washington Ave
    Brownsville, TN 38012
    Here’s my post about Helen’s https://placeatthetable.net/2016/07/23/helens-bar-b-que-in-brownsville/

    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Heard about Helen’s many many many times. Seen the SFA documentary. I’ll clarify in the post but I definitely had this area in mind for the “etc” part of my geographic location!

    • Brant S says:

      Yes!! I was just coming to leave this same comment. Helen’s is about the best I’ve had.

  2. RMP says:

    It hasn’t been updated for a number of years, but someone put together a Google Map with 100+ sites: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?hl=en&msa=0&z=10&ie=UTF8&mid=1U8g3qIjnIDH4AHs-aoRMe3X7K2s&ll=35.11900380709504%2C-89.86796049999998

  3. Kate says:

    I’ll start with the obvious one, The Bar-B-Q shop at 1782 Madison Ave. Ribs, Dry, Sauce on the side and best slaw around. You simply cannot beat the service. Great bar and great atmosphere. The menu has variety if pork is not your thing and you can even get Bar-B-Q Spaghetti.

    Th Bar-B-Q Shop
    1782 Madison Ave
    Memphis, Tennessee 38104

  4. Don says:

    Loven Fresh BBQ
    8305 US-64, Oakland, TN 38060
    (901) 465-6568

    One of my favorite BBQ places in the area. Great pulled pork. One of the only places that I always get a sandwich at.

    • Holly Whitfield says:

      Sounds delicious! Thanks Don!

      • Don says:

        Next I will follow up with probably my favorite place to eat in Memphis.

        Elwood’s Shack
        4523 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122
        (901) 761-9898

        I love everything about this place. Best BBQ pizza I have ever eaten and great smoked jerk wings too. They also serve a bunch of items not BBQ. I love this place and hope that they reopen soon from their fire.

  5. David Boulanger says:

    Try Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q in Cordova. 2358 N Germantown Parkway. 901-388-0998. Turkey and Chicken are out of this world. Spare ribs are fantastic. No freezers or microwaves here. They even grind their own meat for burgers. You have got to try it.

  6. Karen Pulfer Focht says:

    My favorites are BBQ Shop on Madison and Rendezvous…dry.

  7. Ferdie King says:

    A&R BBQ
    1802 Elvis Presley Blvd
    Memphis, TN 38106

  8. Alan Katzen says:

    I love One & Only BBQ’s baby back ribs, BBQ quesadilla, pork shoulder pulled from only fresh bone-in whole pork shoulders, twice-baked potato salad, fresh turnip greens flavored with our beef brisket, Millie’s housemade banana pudding & Holly Whitfield’s I Love Memphis blog!! Full disclosure requires I point out, I am one of the owners of One & Only BBQ.

  9. Lee Strain says:

    A simple chopped bbq brisket sandwich – Memphis style (slaw on sand.) with plenty of sauce at Memphis BBQ CO in Horn Lake is our go-to bbq meal. I put a dash of sauce on the warm fried pork skins made on premise while I read the menu . Good luck choosing just one thing from all the incredible choices and leave room for dessert. Good luck with that too.

  10. Shelly says:

    The absolute best BBQ is at the Germantown Commissary! I grew up on this BBQ and it doesn’t disappoint.


  11. Brant S says:

    As far as local, Baby Jack’s is probably my favorite. Both in Bartlett and now Arlington.

    Outside of Memphis, Helen’s in Brownsville takes the cake, but if you’re north of Brownsville, Badbobs is great! There is a location in my hometown ( 1965 St John Ave, Dyersburg, TN 38024) and also near UT Martin.

  12. Cedric says:

    My Memphis favorite is still Tom’s BBQ. If I have to take anyone from out of town to one spot it will be Tom’s. Aside from all the regular menu items Tom’s BBQ features rib tips which was showcased by Food Network on DDD.

    4087 Getwell Rd
    Memphis, TN 38118

    [multiple locations]

  13. Emily Roberts says:

    The Rib Cage at Pickwick- amazing cheese plate!

  14. Alana LaCombe says:

    You’ll probably see this one a lot!

    The Bar-B-Q Shop
    1782 Madison Ave
    Memphis 38104 (yeah, Midtown)

  15. Eelco vW says:

    George’s Fresh Memphis Barbecue in Collierville.

  16. ROBJ says:

    Marlowe’s on Elvis Presley Blvd
    4381 Elvis Presley Blvd
    Memphis, TN 38116

  17. Luke says:

    1) Paynes BBQ
    2) Cozy Corner
    3) BBQ Shop
    4) Memphis BBQ Company
    5) Central (the one in midtown not downtown)
    6) Toms
    7) Morris Grocery
    8) Wellingtons

    Haven’t been to One and Only nor Corkys believe it or not, so list may not be truly exhaustive. Not a fan of the commissary nor rendezvous.

  18. kaybar says:

    In Atoka, TN (Tipton County) there is a pretty good BBQ sandwich shop/sit down(barely). Sparky’s BBQ.

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