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Pilgrimage to Memphis...Completed, now with pictures!
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Briney Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04 13 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that is so weird as the GC was my first stop too. I thought the ribs were okay there (not the best but decent) but I did like the beans (might have just been really hunger after a drive from Ohio lol

good luck as the trip rolls out
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Tim_Abrahamson
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04 13 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm...you are coming South from Michigan to find good BBQ?

Might I suggest that you head South West on your next trip. Go to a place where BBQ is a thriving art, Kansas City. Plan to spend at least a week though because you would be hard pressed to scratch the surface of great Que joints around this town!

Hope you enjoy Memphis, imo Central is the only place where I will get my que fix when I'm there.
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3StratMan
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05 13 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, bad news for Central fans: went there for dinner this evening, and it was not as good as I had expected. Baby backs that were a little overcooked, so they were kind of dry. Meaty, but with a less flavorful rub than GC last night. More smoke flavor in the meat than GC, but overall I think GC's were much better. Central's beans were probably out of a can, and their mac and cheese was nothing to write home about. Mrs 3StratMan was really disappointed with the brisket, which needed at least another hour or two on the smoker. She did like Central's ribs more than GC's, but she admits it might be due to how let down she was with Central's brisket. (I keep telling her that the good brisket will be when we head to Texas for another BBQ pilgrimage.) The icing on the cake for the disappointment was when we ordered 3 tamales since we were still a little hungry, and it literally took 25 minutes for them to come to our table. They were tasty, though.

Tomorrow it's probably Corky's, and maybe the BarBQ Shop.

Tim... Kansas City is definitely on our list for another pilgrimage. Have an old Air Force buddy out that way who can take us to the good places while we are there.
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jbleezy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 05 13 11:16 am    Post subject: Memphis BBQ Reply with quote

Well, hate to hear that about Central...but if you go to Corky's get the ribs dry or wet(I prefer dry, maybe you can do both), pulled pork, onion loaf, rolls, and whatever else you want...if you don't thoroughly enjoy that, Memphis may not have that "wow" factor you may be looking for.

Hopefully Memphis can save some face with you tomorrow, thanks for posting and keeping it real.
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Tim_Abrahamson
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 13 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

3StratMan wrote:

Tim... Kansas City is definitely on our list for another pilgrimage. Have an old Air Force buddy out that way who can take us to the good places while we are there.


Nice thing about KC is that there are no "Bad" places.... just good and great!

Make sure that Oklahoma Joe's is your last stop or you will be disappointed in the rest. They are, IMHO, the best in KC if not the world and if you start at the top...well...

KC BBQ scene is a melting pot of regional styles and BBQ history so no two BBQ places will taste the same... Arthur Bryants will be quit different than Smoking Guns, Jack Stack, Gates & Sons, BB's Lawnside or Smokehouse. All are good but quite different!
Enjoy!

p.s. Here is a place to get you started... http://www.kansascitybarbecue.com/
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Alien BBQ
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 13 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did the tour a while back and Rendezvous, Interstate. and Gates were all disappointments. I did however like Pearls Oyster House, Corky's was Okay but the the worst was the rib shack.
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Briney Dave
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06 13 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is too bad about central. I did like them but they may have good and bad days or they may be sliding down hill like too many other places there.

I never made it to Corky but ate at a chain store of their's in Ohio. They were decent there but in a strip mall that was hard to get to and I doubt many folks even knew they were there before they closed up

My best friend and I want to go to Texas for Q while some of the rest of my crew want to go to KC I worried that KC was going to be like Memphis with $ 20 tee shirts and $8 mcribs sold for $20 as real bbq ribs from rib masters

I will still end up going to both places sometime in my life

best of luck with the rest of the trip and I hope you find some ribs to your liking
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3StratMan
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 13 10:45 am    Post subject: Pilgrimage to Memphis...Finished, with pictures! Reply with quote

Well, we're back home in Michigan and the BBQ tour has come to an end. Had a great time, and Memphis did not disappoint. Ended up hitting 4 joints in all. Germantown Commissary, Central, The BarBQ Shop, and Corky's. All 4 kicked the snot out of anything we have here in Michigan (who woulda thought?), but there definitely were some better than others, by quite a bit IMO. So here we go:

4th place: Central-



Didn't live up to expectations after recommendations and reading reviews. Rub was not very flavorful at all, they were a little overdone, and they put the char on at the end for way too long. Sauce didn't get my attention at all. Beans seemed like out of a can, and mac n cheese was average. Mrs 3Stratman did not like her brisket at all, but did like my ribs actually. Unlike the other 3 places we went to, the staff at Central was not friendly at all. Took 25 minutes to get the tamales we ordered when we decided we were still hungry. Hopefully it was just a bad day for them all around, because I would tell people to pass on Central.

3rd Place- the BarBQ Shop-



Started out to be 3rd place, then came close to being second at the end of the meal. Since it was lunch, opted for the 1/2 slab. Rub was very tasty, tied with my #1 choice. Their sauce was very good as well. Not the usual sweet style at most other places, really savory, which I liked. I ended up with the smaller end of the slab, so as usual the end meat was kind of tough. This put them at #3 initially, but when I got to the meaty end, they climbed up the list to nearly tied at #2. The ribs on the meaty end were really good. Moist, not dry or overdone. If I could have had the larger end instead, it might have put them alone at #2. They also had the best beans, with pulled pork mixed in. Mrs 3StratMan had a 1/2 and 1/2 pork and brisket, which she liked the pork better. They both came with that sauce on them, and my sample of both proved very tasty. The employees were very friendly, and I bought some sauce and rub to take home because it was that good. BarBQ Shop is definitely a go to if you are in Memphis.

2nd Place: Corky's-



Went with the 1/2 wet and 1/2 dry full slab, and I was not disappointed. Just the right amount of char put on at the end. Sauce was pretty good on the wet side. I did try a table sauce on one of the dry bones that was really outrageous. It was an apple flavored sauce that tasted just like an apple pie. Crazy! The BarBQ Shop almost tied them for 2nd, and the one thing about Corky's ribs that kept them from running away with second was the rub. Specifically, there was too much extra applied to the meat just before serving. So much so that I had powdered rub landing on my tongue as I was biting some of the meat a lot of times. As a result, the flavor of the rub was overpowering. Less rub at the end would have them running away with #2. Beans were smoke, and the slaw was kinda spicy. The employees were very friendly here as well, and the owner (saw him in a video for the place ) was greeting at the door and walking around talking to customers. He is proud of his place, and he greets you with a "Hi, welcome to Corky's" and says "Thank you for coming to Corky's" when you leave. BTW, the decor and atmosphere of Corky's was stolen by Famous Dave. Corky's was a winner as well.

And 1st Place goes to: Germantown Commissary-



I was very impressed, and did not have one complaint. Ribs were cooked just the right amount of time. Rub was flavorful, but not overpowering. They probably are spritzing or mopping their ribs, which the other 3 places didn't seem to do. As a result the top layer of meat was not dry at all, as it was at the others. Very light char at the end- so light that you might not think they even did it, but you can taste that great flavor the fat gives off when it is charred, so they do it very briefly I would guess. The meat was so good I didn't even try any sauce on it. Bought a bottle of seasoning before we left-one guy said it is the rib rub, another said it wasn't but is close. Hoping it is because it was really good. Beans were tasty, with pork in them as well. Mrs 3StratMan wasn't impressed with the pulled pork, as she said it was bland. I agree. The employees were friendly, which I found to be the case at most of the places we went to around Memphis while we were there. Germantown Commissary was in more upscale neighborhood than the others, but it had the best ribs as far as I was concerned.

On final note: Mrs 3StratMan still says that I have ruined it for her as far as ribs go, as she said mine are still better than the ones we had this weekend. I can't argue with her. She always seems to be right about most things, like when we were at the Gibson Guitar factory tour yesterday, and she told me I should just go ahead and buy that Epiphone Korina Explorer guitar that I was eyeing. Told her no, that I had just bought a rifle and could buy one later from Guitar Center or Musician's Friend. Got back to the room and looked online to compare prices- OUT OF PRODUCTION!!! No one has them anymore. She was right again.
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BluDawg
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 13 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to find Great BBQ in any region stay away from the tourist traps. Drive around different neighborhoods the small places tucked away in old gas stations or an old travel trailers on the side of the road serving in styrofoam with a picnic table or eat off the hood are gold mines for great "Q" Follow your nose and use the travel guide in the out house.
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richardkinzer
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07 13 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

3StratMan,
You're lucky to have such a gem of a traveling companion. Better keep the passenger seat cleared for that. Thank you for all the info on your honest and fair evaluation of W. Tn's Q. Funny thing, I almost always tell myself the same thing as Mrs 3StratMan, "could have done this at home and probably better". On the other hand getting out provides more benefits than satisfying a yen for great taste. Wouldn't have seen the appreciative proprietor from Corkey's at home or the ripped off decor.

Come back any time 3StratMan.
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WillyB



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08 13 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We go to Memphis every November and usually eat at a couple of different BBQ joints. This year we tried Memphis BBQ Company in MISS. I would definitely recommend the 30 minute drive south to eat there. Also, not on the BBQ circuit, but go the Beale St and try Charlie G's Creole Cafe.......Awesome.....
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jbleezy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09 13 12:27 am    Post subject: Great post. Reply with quote

Great Post! That's the beauty of these forums to get a pre-trip, mid-trip, and post-trip evaluation of a nice pilgrimage like you guys just did. Looks like some nice slabs too! Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip. Again great post.
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Gray Goat
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09 13 11:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks 3StratMan, we are planning a bike trip to Memphis in june for my wifes 50th Birthday, and I will definitely be looking back at this post Very Happy
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Tex



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13 13 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it funny that our significant others usually say that our ribs are better than what we can buy even if it is from a place that is famous for their ribs. Perfect example: We went to San Antonio for a soccer tournament and decided to swing by Lockhart to try Black's or Smitty's. We drove by Smitty's and it was closed! So we go to Black's. Friday evening, 6:30, and we're the only people in the place! Tourist trap maybe? I don't know, but for the BBQ capital of Tx. it was a huge disappointment. Never again.
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kzt7t7
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13 13 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the review, look forward to trying these places out over the next year.
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k.c.hawg
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18 13 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most reviews of Memphis I have ever read, landed on Germantown Commissary. Glad to see you back that up!
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