Memphis has long time been known for being one of the top if not the best cities to get barbecue in the United States and as it is one of my favorite kinds of food, I look forward to exploring everything that my new city has to offer. I have been to several barbecue restaurants here over the years but not since I’ve started this blog and taken each aspect of the meal into careful consideration before writing a thorough review of my experience. I thought a good place to start on my journey to finding the best barbecue in Memphis is the place that the people voted the “Best BBQ Ribs” in the city, Central BBQ. I have been to Central on multiple occasions but surprisingly had not tried the “amazing” ribs and that certainly needed to be rectified so Tuesday night after work my wife and I went to the restaurant knowing exactly what we were going to eat before we walked in the door. One of the things I love about Central is that they don’t mess around with waiters or waitresses whom the customer has to depend on for everything, but rather you order and pay when you walk in, fill your own drinks and sit wherever you’d like. This is great for me because it seems like in most of my reviews thus far, the servers have been the reason for some of the low scores. I really hate that and wish I could just give scores based on food alone but I feel it’s more helpful to readers to see the entire big picture. Anyway, we walked into the cozily lit restaurant and each ordered the 1/2 slab of ribs, my wife’s dry, and mine half dry, half with sauce. I normally would’ve ordered the dry rub but I wanted to try the ribs both ways to give me different perspectives of the ribs voted the best in the city.
Not five minutes after we’d sat down, two large plates of delicious looking hot food arrived in front of us. As we each bit into our first rib we both kind of let out an involuntary sigh of pleasure at the tenderness and tastes we were experiencing and it might have been embarrassing had we been somewhere else but the people eating at Central knew how good the food was and didn’t even bat an eye as they continued working on their own plates. I am a huge fan of dry ribs and that is what I started with expecting it to be my favorite of the two but the sauce covered ribs pleasantly surprised me. The sauce wasn’t too sweet and was one of the better balanced barbecue sauces I’ve had and it complimented the flavors of the juicy meat perfectly. My wife absolutely loved her ribs and surprisingly liked the bbq baked beans that I got with mine. She HATES baked beans normally, especially at barbecue restaurants because it disgusts her when they are overly sweetened because of the barbecue sauce. I had to talk her into trying the beans assuring her they weren’t sweet but she finally gave in and really ended up liking them and she wasn’t the only one. She grew up eating pinto and black beans while I grew up on baked beans and these were the best I’ve ever had. Not only did the beans have a great flavor and would have been great just like that, the geniuses at Central added pulled pork in the beans giving them that extra element that transcends them to the next level. My wife got her rib plate with macaroni and cheese and fries and neither were all that impressive. I’m yet to find good mac and cheese at a barbecue joint but that isn’t going to stop me from trying. Neither of us really impressed by the fries, not that they were bad but they weren’t anything you couldn’t get at a hundred other restaurants.
Overall this was one of the best overall meals I’ve had since I started reviewing restaurants in this blog. I’d had mediocre ribs from Topp’s BBQ and great ribs from Corky’s. Before Tuesday night I would have not hesitated in choosing Corky’s as my go to place for ribs in Memphis as I absolutely love their dry rub but now I have a new favorite in town. I’m giving Central a 9 out of 10 rating taking off the one point because of the less than spectacular fries but let me make it absolutely clear that we weren’t at Central BBQ for the fries. We came for the ribs and as far as I know the Memphians were right in voting them the best ribs in Memphis. I will continue to search the barbecue capital of the world until me and my appetite are completely satisfied that we’ve found the best barbecue here. I look forward to sharing the results of my extensive research with you. Thanks for reading.