Friday, June 1, 2012

Dry Ribs, In the Bad Sense - Coleman's

According two the always-fascinating Memphis Barbecue Ghost Pit Chronicle Blog, the Coleman's chain used to be a major player in the Memphis area. Today the only survivors are the Hernando location and the Whitehaven store on Millbranch just north of Holmes where I ate Thursday. The one in Hernando is called Coleman's Bar-B-Que  while the one in Whitehaven is called Coleman's Bar-B-Q Pit & Grill and they have different menus so I doubt the two remaining stores are even owned by the same people.


Where the Hernando restaurant pretty much limits its menu to burgers, pulled pork and sides; the Whitehaven store has a broader menu that includes ribs, rib tips, catfish and smoked sausages. Since I'd already tried the pulled pork in Hernando I ordered a rib plate while I was on Millbranch.


The beans and slaw were both pretty average but the ribs were terrible. I saw several people order barbecue sandwiches that came out looking fine so if I ever go back I'll definitely stick to the pulled pork. The ribs were incredibly leathery and full of unrendered fat. They were served dry with sauce on the side, which is normally how a prefer my ribs. But I normally prefer them that way so I can savor all the flavor from the smoke and the rub. These didn't have either. They just tasted like someone had overcooked a pork chop on a grill. The spicy barbecue sauce helped a little, but I still ended up throwing almost half the rib meat in the trash along with my bones. That is something I almost never do. At $10.49 for a half-slab dinner the ribs sounded like a bargain when I ordered them. But no price is low enough to make ribs this tough worth ordering, especially with the Tops on Stateline Road serving far better ribs for $1.50 more just over one mile away.

I hate doing a post that is so uniformly negative, and I'm sure there are some okay items on the menu. As I mentioned earlier, the barbecue sandwiches I saw coming out of the kitchen looked fine. But there was nothing redeemable about the ribs.

Coleman's Bar-B-Q Pit & Grill on Urbanspoon

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