Barbeque, Barbecue, BBQ, or simply Q – They’re titles for a method of cooking that is buried in history and superstition. Whatever you call it, though, it’s delicious. I was obsessed with the idea of BBQ from watching untold episodes about it on Food TV. I had even built a ceramic hot-smoker courtesy of Alton Brown and used to to smoke a Boston Butt for the Super Bowl back in 2008. Now, you can barbeque almost anything, but this story looks specifically at ribs. Not my first time eating ribs cooked this way, mind you, but arguably one of the most important.
This story takes place on July 28th, 2010.
#7 on 100 Things to Eat Before You Die – Barbecue Ribs
#76 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Ribs from Central BBQ
It was a lovely summer day in Memphis. I was in the middle of my trip to the U.S.A. to see my girlfriend. We had driven from California through to North Carolina, and come back to stay at her house. The plan was to explore Memphis a little bit and hang out with her friends. I had a plan of my own, though, and today was the day I would action it.
We were planning to get a Sno-cone from Jerry’s, so she went out to the car. I tried to rush around and set everything up, and what you see below followed:
The day I proposed to my now wife :). To celebrate, we got sno-cones, and we headed to Central BBQ!
As I mentioned before, this wasn’t my first BBQ ribs experience. During our cross-country roadtrip I had tasted ribs in Texas from RailHead BBQ, and also in Asheville, North Carolina from Luella’s Bar-B-Que. This, however, was the BBQ experience I was most excited for. I had heard amazing things about Memphis BBQ, specifically about the ribs, so I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
We went to the Central on Central, a small location but it felt authentic. There was a line just poking out of the door, but we made our way inside relatively quickly (a good thing as it was a scorcher). At the counter I ordered ribs, with mac’n’cheese and potato salad as my sides. The server asked if I wanted them wet or dry, or half & half. Half & half sounded good. Took a seat, and soon enough the glorious site to your right greeted me.
These ribs were amazing. Fall-apart tender, moist, flavourful, savoury-sweet, and messy. These ribs were the ribs I was looking for. They had that pink smoke ring penetrating the meat to the bone. The quintessential BBQ rib. I have to admit, though, that the wet ribs were much tastier than the dry. That BBQ sauce just balanced everything out and made it a true & proper BBQ experience.
And that BBQ experience left an impression on me. My new-fiancée and I decided Central BBQ would cater our wedding, so we could share the experience with our friends. And when we got married, that’s exactly what happened.
If you’re in Memphis and haven’t had this staple of Memphian cuisine, head down to any of their locations and grab some ribs!