Thursday, July 5, 2012

South Third - Stateline Ribs

When I stopped by Stateline Ribs & Tips on Monday it had been over a week since the last time I'd had barbecue. Last week my wife and I took a four-day canoe trip down the Buffalo River in Arkansas. On the way there we saw a lot of promising looking little barbecue joints so I was determined to try some on the way home. Apparently every barbecue place in Arkansas closes on Sunday. We passed four or five of them in Searcy alone and there wasn't a single one that was open.

I first noticed Stateline Ribs about a month ago. The little restaurant is on S. Third in Memphis in between Shelby Drive and the Mississippi state line. It amazes me that I am still steadily finding new barbecue joints to try inside the city. Theoretically I have to run out of places to try at some point, but this is post number 139 and it hasn't happened yet. In fact, right after I left Stateline I noticed a place on Shelby Drive called Three Sister and a Pit that I'll need to try.

Stateline didn't have baked beans so I got greens with my ribs and slaw. Most of the places I've had greens around town have just used turnip greens but Stateline uses a mix of mustard and collard greens that packs a deliciously complex flavor. And they were seasoned perfectly. The slaw was solidly good as well. The ribs were falling off the bone with a nice pink smoke ring. I had my sauce served on the side. I enjoyed adding a little of it to the ribs as I ate but the flavor of it was dominated by liquid smoke so it would be a shame to use too much and overpower the natural smoke flavor in the meat.

Stateline also had a sign in the window announcing that it serves chitterlings. I've noticed that most places that serve them go out of their way to announce it meaning I'm not the only one who appreciates the tasty and nutritious Southern treat. As good as the greens were I'll have to make a return trip sometime soon to try a chitterling plate with more greens and some other vegetables.

Since the restaurant had a pool table and a dart board I asked if it sold beer. The owner said they came from a now-vacant bar across the street and he was surprisingly blunt about his reason for not selling alcohol saying that the bar had largely shut down because of "prostitutes from up the street wanting to come in, order one beer and sit around for hours looking for tricks."

S. Third changes names to Highway 61 at the state line. The road leads directly from Memphis to the casinos in Tunica County and the Stateline restaurant is  near the location of the former Tunica Cabaret strip club that was shut down by the FBI a few years ago due to prostitution and drug sales so I can understand his concerns about the can of worms he could be opening if he started serving alcohol. The food is too good to risk ruining the place's family-friendly atmosphere and losing the customers who genuinely appreciate the cooking.

Stateline Ribs & Tips on Urbanspoon

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