foods and cuisines

Memphis-style barbecue | The ultimate comfort food. Hearty, satisfying, and delicious.

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

Directions

  • 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.

Special Equipment

  • Blender

What makes Memphis BBQ different?

For Memphis style BBQ, you’re likely to see it in its most popular incarnations: pork ribs and pulled pork. Other than the predominant use of pork, the other element that makes this regional style so distinctive is the rub. Traditionally, the meat is rubbed down with a dry rub made up of up to 40 different spices.

What is Memphis Flavour?

Memphis rubs are traditionally slightly sweet with a great savory and earthy flavor profile. Most have brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper. From there, it is all up to individual taste. Every pit master in Memphis has their own take on the flavors and spices that make up their rubs.

Is Memphis style BBQ spicy?

What Does Memphis BBQ Sauce Taste Like? As complex as blues music, Memphis BBQ sauce is at once tangy, spicy, and sweet. It’s the perfect finishing sauce for pork ribs, pulled pork, and poultry.

Is Memphis style spicy?

This is a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce with a hint of spicy heat. The memphis-style bbq sauce is thinner and tangier than most barbecue sauces, and I prefer it to the thick and smoky sauces typically available at the grocery store.

What makes Memphis so special?

Memphis is known for its blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll music scene, its role in the American Civil Rights movement, delicious BBQ food, and vibrant nightlife. Located in the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, Memphis is one of the largest cities in Tennessee