BBQ Nation: Memphis Barbecue
Memphis style BBQ steals the spotlight this May with its spiced ribs rubbed and doused with southern seasonings.
In the Southern Barbecue Belt, Memphis is a mecca to pig-roasting enthusiasts, and the secret, as they say, is in the sauce—or the lack thereof. Many Memphis purists prefer their ribs “dry” with only a spice rub, composed mainly of paprika, garlic, onion and chili powder, among other seasonings. Others want them “wet,” doused with a sweetly tart meld of tomatoes, vinegar and typically molasses.
Whether “wet” or “dry,” the whole city celebrates Memphis-style ribs during a month-long celebration of music, culture and food known as Memphis in May. The crème de la crème of the city’s famous porcine devotees will gather May 17-19 for the Barbecue Cooking Contest. To those about to grill, we salute you.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll be missing if you can’t make it in person.
Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Charcoal Ribs has been a fixture in Memphis since 1948. While the real recipe is closely guarded, here’s a close approximation by Meathead Goldwyn.