This Englishman Knows Memphis BBQ Like He Was Elvis' Kin
This week, our Englishman in BBQ Sauce samples a little Memphis-style barbecue at Red, Hot & Blue in Plano (5017 W. Plano Parkway), which is a littlelike traveling to Glasgow to sample the cuisine of Rome, but please don't tell him that. It's much more fun keeping him in the dark. Before the year is out, we hope to get him to eat a plate of calf fries by telling him they're the best cut of the brisket.
Ribs, yes. Sausage, yes. Brisket, don't even think about it.
Guys. I think I just tried Memphis barbecue. In Dallas. I am not sure. It said Memphis all over it though, so it must be legit, right? I am going to take, at face value, that this chain was the exact definition of Memphis barbecue. I plan on unpacking every single experience from my Monday night into one great big clusterwhoops of Memphis-based assumptions. I'll go one sentence at a time so we can all wallow in the majesty of my insightful inferences. Are we ready? Then I'll begin.
All Memphis barbecue restaurants look like an uncomfortable halfway house between a TGI Friday's and a Planet Hollywood, only with more neon signs depicting a pig playing a guitar than either of these two establishments.
All serving staff in the whole of Memphis are unfailingly polite and friendly, and seem to genuinely want to eat the food served at their place of employment, rather than be ill at the thought of yet another plate of something and sauce.
Much of the enjoyment one is meant to derive from the consumption of Memphis barbecue comes from playing "spot the difference" between a frankly dazzling variety of barbecue sauces, all of which are largely indiscernible apart from the addition of chili to one or possibly two of them.
Memphis has decided that taking cornbread and deep frying it, then for some reason calling the product of this unholy carbohydrate marriage a "hush puppy," is a legitimate contribution to the cuisine of the United States of America rather than the worst idea since Avril Lavigne covered a System of a Down song.
Red, Hot & Blue has many varieties of sauce bottles. We suspect the sauce itself comes from a vat labeled "sauce."
There is a sugar shortage in Memphis because A) Cher wrote an overly saccharine song about the city (this is all the information I possess about the city of Memphis, apart from my now encyclopedic knowledge of its barbecue) and B) every single barbecue restaurant is hogging it all, putting it in every single thing they sell.
Even the soda.
Memphis loves pulled pork, and rightly so, because they do it very well indeed -- it is soft, tender, saucy and almost as good as all of the ribs in Memphis, more on them in a few thoughts time.
Every single person, organization, restaurant and house pet in Memphis hates brisket, because what I was served was like one of those carpet sample tiles, but covered in sauce that had set and had a thick skin.
I would genuinely rather eat said carpet sample tile than ever eat any other brisket with "Memphis" in the name, but you'll be unsurprised to hear that I still finished it all, because I am A) awesome and B) awe-struck at how the entire city of Memphis can so definitively destroy something that claims to be brisket.
Why do you hate beef, citizens of Memphis?
All the ribs in Memphis (the "dry ribs," apparently, I don't want my ribs covered in water thank you very much) are heavily spiced, well-cooked and very much delicious, and their sausage is very good too.
Every resident of Memphis' stepson thought until today that okra was a meat, possibly fish.
No one in Memphis is able to write the review they wanted to write, of Dub's Smokehouse, because it is closed, despite the fact that everyone in Memphis has driven 45 minutes to get there on a Monday night. Memphis was very annoyed.
People of Memphis, Dub's Smokehouse is to blame for forcing me to reveal the truth to everyone in Dallas about every single barbecue restaurant that ever was, is, or will be serving "Memphis BBQ".
Not even once (unless it's for pulled pork and ribs).