Memphis-style barbecue is one of the four predominant regional styles of barbecue in the United States, the other three being Carolina, Kansas City, and Texas. Like many southern varieties of barbecue, Memphis-style barbecue is mostly made using pork, usually ribs and shoulders, though many restaurants will still serve beef and chicken.
Memphis-style barbecue is slow cooked in a pit and ribs can be prepared either “dry” or “wet”. “Dry” ribs are covered with a dry rub consisting of salt and various spices before cooking and are normally eaten without sauce. “Wet” ribs are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking.
Memphis-style barbecue has become well known due to the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest held each May, which has been listed in Guinness World Records as the largest pork barbecue contest in the world. The event is regularly covered by national and international television networks such as The Food Network and the BBC and attracts over 100,000 visitors. Many of Memphis’ barbecue restaurants have become nationally known and can ship their products anywhere in the country overnight due to the proximity of FedEx’s Memphis Superhub.
Memphis-style barbecue Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomato sauce, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, and cayenne and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer sauce to the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Let cool to room temperature, transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator for up to a month.
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