Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dependable Excellence in Midtown - Bar-B-Q Shop

I decided to try the Neely's Bar-B-Que Downtown on Jefferson last Thursday, but I had a bad feeling as soon as I noticed two large tour buses parked outside the restaurant's full parking lot. Sure enough, the place was slammed with a line of customers waiting to be seated. I didn't feel like waiting, and since this is Memphis there was no need to. I simply turned around and drove the 2.5 miles to the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison where I was immediately seated.

I've been a huge fan of the Bar-B-Q Shop for years but I haven't been back since starting my barbecue quest. The restaurant is located in the heart of Midtown and combines a cozy atmosphere and extremely courteous and efficient table service with some of the best barbecue in the city. In fact, for traditional Memphis-style dry ribs I'd still put Bar-B-Q Shop in my current top three with Jack's and Leonard's. The paprika-based rub is so good I barely used any sauce, even though the house-made sauces at the Bar-B-Q Shop are outstanding. The hot is truly hot and even the mild has a nice kick to it. I've heard complaints about the overly-sweet glaze on the wet ribs, but since I prefer the dry rub that is traditional to Memphis ribs I wouldn't recommend them anyway. Besides tasting great, a good dry rub is generally far healthier than most wet sauces, which can be full of sugar. An hour after my meal at the Bar-B-Q Shop, which left me completely full, my blood sugar was only 109.

I didn't eat any of the Texas Toast that came with this order, but I used to love the Bar-B-Q Shop's pulled pork sandwich that is served on it back when I ate a lot more bread.

The prices can seem a little high, but my $16 order of ribs had a tremendous amount of meat on them. And they perfectly represent the texture great ribs are supposed to have. They don't "fall off the bone." They are tender, but still meaty and chewy. If the ribs don't seem like enough food for your money you can always spend a little more for the Bar-B-Q Shop Special that is guaranteed to make you feel like a swollen tick. For $23.95 the special brings you ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, barbecue spaghetti, baked beans, slaw and Texas Toast and it should leave even the most gluttonous diner in physical pain. Approach it with appropriate respect and fear. 

The beans and slaw at the Bar-B-Q Shop are also solidly good examples and my wife is a fan of their barbecue spaghetti. In fact, I've never had anything from the restaurant that didn't taste great.

Bar-B-Q Shop on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I spent one evening in Memphis this past only visit to your fine city. I am a west coaster these days, but I grew up eating Texas and Oklahoma BBQ. I do love some good ribs. I had asked my host to take us for some good soul food or BBQ and the Bar-B-Q Shop was her top choice. My friend and I split the Bar-B-Q Shop special so that we could get a good taste of a few of their specialties. We went dry on the ribs. I can't say that I share the same enthusiasm for the Bar-B-Q Shop that you do. It was fine. The dry ribs are maybe just not my favorite style and I'll admit that up front. I'm definitely not someone who wants their ribs glazed and drenched in sauce. That just hides the flavor. I prefer no sauce at all so you can actually get the smoked flavor of the meat. I guess I'm a fan of some of the Texas-style smoke joints outside of Austin. So, the dry rub seemed quite different to me...almost powdery. Like what you would put on the ribs only prior to cooking. Okay, so again, I admit that's a preference thing and just not my preference. Moving on, the brisket was dry and uneventful. The pork shoulder was fine. If you like fine. Beans were good. And then the thing I was looking forward to...the Bar-B-Q spaghetti. I have had excellent BBQ spaghetti a few times, and when it is good, it's really good. This was just runny, like a can of spaghetti-O's. Seriously. Not good. I'm sorry Bar-B-Q Shop, but I just wasn't impressed and, next time I have the chance to come to Memphis, I will definitely be reading up on this site for some better suggestions.