Famous for its one-of-a-kind style and delicious flavors, Memphis, Tennessee, is widely recognized as a top BBQ destination in the United States. It was in the early 20th century that African American pitmasters in Memphis began utilizing a blend of hickory and oak woods to slow-smoke meat, particularly pig. Memphis-style barbecue relies heavily on this signature technique.
Memphis barbecue is well-known for its emphasis on pork, particularly pig ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. Instead of using a wet sauce, Memphis barbecue is known for its signature “dry rub,” a blend of spices and herbs added to the meat before smoking. On the other hand, the “wet” form of Memphis barbecue, in which the meat is basted with a sour tomato-based sauce, is as well-known.
The city of Memphis, Tennessee, organizes the annual World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, drawing pitmasters from all over the world to try their hand at making the best barbecue in the world. Memphis has a rich history of barbecue thanks in large part to local institutions like Central BBQ, Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous, and Gus’ World Famous Fried Chicken.