Friday, July 26, 2013

Another South Memphis Roadside Smoker - Malia's

The section of Elvis Presley Boulevard just north of Brooks Road in South Memphis seems to be the place to go for finding roadside vendors smoking barbecue. I recently noticed the trailer identifying itself as Malia's sitting in between the A&R on Elvis Presley and the spot where I sampled the pulled pork from the Dr. BBQ bus.

I was planning to get some ribs to-go from A&R when I saw Malia's. Once I spotted the barrel smoker built into the side of the trailer I knew I had to sample some of the food from it.

At the time I stopped the vent was open on the trailer's smoker so I could look in and see the burning coals.

Malia's also had an additional large smoker beside the trailer and offered a fairly lengthy selection of smoked meats.

Since I had originally planned to get ribs from A&R that is what I ordered when I ended up getting dinner from the Malia's trailer instead. The rib plate included one side item so I opted for cole slaw.

I got the half-slab plate for $12 with the ribs served dry with the sauce on the side. They had a great flavor but were fairly tough in places. Malia's uses full spare ribs, which are hard to cook to a consistently tender consistency. I prefer when places use ribs where the tips have been separated from the St. Louis cut. The extra butcher work makes the meat more expensive per pound but the separate cuts are much easier to work with. The extra difficulty in doing full spare ribs correctly is a good indicator of just how much skill is involved for those expert pitmasters who are able to do whole hog well.

I avoid the bread when I eat barbecue to keep my quest as healthy as possible but if you are a fan of white bread with your smoked meat Malia's hooks you up. The styrofoam clamshell that my sauce and slaw came in also included five slices of bread. The slaw was exactly the way I prefer it with plenty of mustard and vinegar. The next time I see the Malia's trailer I'll try either the pulled pork or the smoked sausage or bologna. Actually at just $3 an order for both of them I'll probably try the sausage and the bologna rather than trying to pick one or the other. Full spare ribs are hard to get exactly right, but there is no way the smoked sausages coming from that rig could fail to be perfect.

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