This Englishman Knows Memphis BBQ Like He Was Elvis' Kin

red hot and blue plate.jpg
Ribs, yes. Sausage, yes. Brisket, don't even think about it.
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.

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.

red hot and blue sauces.jpg
Red, Hot & Blue has many varieties of sauce bottles. We suspect the sauce itself comes from a vat labeled "sauce."
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.

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".

Memphis BBQ.

Not even once (unless it's for pulled pork and ribs).

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28 comments
shannonrlittle
shannonrlittle

Memphis don't hate beef. We just know that it's not BBQ. :)

J_A_
J_A_ topcommenter

Those piggies rockin out on the guitars are adorable

kyndbrah
kyndbrah

suggestions for Gavin to review: Angelo's in FTW, Railhead in FTW, Meshack's in Garland, North Main in Euless.   I also think Gavin needs to order himself a Weber Smokey Mountain from amazon and attempt to smoke his own meats then report back with pics.  

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Gavin, you will greatly improve your dining by avoiding chains. This is an especially critical rule when the chained cuisine is Asian, Latin (this means Mi Cocina and all of its affiliates, too) and most importantly, BBQ.

kyndbrah
kyndbrah

the only thing worthwhile at RH&B is the potato salad

BigAl
BigAl

I lived in Memphis a few years and from my experience RH&B appears to be a replica of a Memphis chain Corkey's. I’m told on good authority that they license the restaurant from Corkey's . I have no idea if that is true but having been to Corkey's a number of times, if it's not, someone at RH&B stole the operations manual from Corkey's. The best way to describe Corkey's is that they are the Dickey's of Memphis.I don't think Corkey's had brisket on the menu in Memphis but since I grew up in AL before moving to TN, I didn’t know what Brisket was before moving to TX, it’s possible I just never thought to order it....

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Nothing is more middle of the road, mundane as RH +B...atleast with Dickey's and Colter's, you know it's going to suck! 

RH+B, Marshall's and Spring Creek are slathered in smoking mediocrity. 

1dailyreader
1dailyreader

When there was one in Arlington, I tried the BBQ hot wings.  They weren't bad but I never went back after that.  Bikini's now sits at their old location and I probably won't ever get over there - no interest.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

it appears gavin's article has been picked up by some memphis people and are taking him to task.  I wouldnt expect someone from memphis to get the humor behind a Brit living in Dallas reviewing memphis bbq at a chain located here. 

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

When my late father-in-law was alive, we ate at the 75/Walnut Hill location often because as a guitar player, he loved the music.

We hated the horrible food, decor and service. Although, I didn't mind the, just OK ribs. After he passed, we mourned. But we never mourned over the fact that we'd never have to eat at Red, Hot, and Blue again.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Before you write off hush-puppies, get some from a place that makes them well. Crazy Catfish seems to do a pretty good job of them. (Just don't get there too early before the fryer oil is up to temp.)

Hush-puppies = happiness.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I ate at that location when I lived up that way and it was one of the shittiest restaurants Id ever eaten.  Rude as fuck staff and the food (well they called it food, it was more like shit) was terrible, dry, and unappealing to the eye.  Granted this was 10 years ago, but I havent stepped foot in a Red Hot Blue since.  oh and Fuck Memphis although I do appreciate them missing untold amounts of free throws in the 2008 Tourney to help my Jayhawks win.

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

@kyndbrah Have you had the tater salad lately?  It's not what it used to be, at least at the central and walnut hill location.

GavinCleaver
GavinCleaver

@ScottsMerkin It's a pretty unique style of humor, admittedly. I love that they've taken me as completely serious. I AM VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS REVIEW MEMPHIS.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk

Hush puppies. Another word for crappy cornbread or average, but comfortable, shoes.

Mervis
Mervis

How many shitty restaurants have you eaten?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Mervis well there are more shitty ones than excellent ones, but a lot of them run down the middle, you cant honestly sit here and say that Red Hot and Blue is excellent?  and I gave the caveat that it was 10 yrs ago which means said restaurant may not be shitty anymore

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@GavinCleaver @TheCredibleHulk @ScottsMerkin Are not humours some kind if British disease?

GavinCleaver
GavinCleaver

@TheCredibleHulk @GavinCleaver @ScottsMerkin Latest - "The writer will probably try and use the "humour" defense. He also probably wonders why he still does not have a job as a writer for a magazine or a real website. His writing style and voice are both atrocious."

hahahahaha

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @Mervis

Don't worry, it is still shitty. Even worse, there even more shitty ones out there in the chain belt.

Mervis
Mervis

Was just f'n with your typo or actually it was the lack of a word in your first post.

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