Memphis is known for a few things: Graceland (duh), Sun Studios and Blues Music, Beale St, their First 48 homicides, BBQ and Memphis In May World BBQ Championship.
Memphis In May's BBQ Championship is the 2nd weekend of the month annually. It consist of teams from America, Canada, and even across the seas. It's a 3 day event ... I mean PARTY. That starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday including cooking, parties, talent (or lack their of) shows, parties, concerts, parties, vendors, parties, and ... parties.
Everyone says you have BBQ competitions, and then you have Memphis In May. I personally have never been to any other competition so I can't agree or disagree, but I can say ... it'd be VERY tough to get anywhere near the atmosphere of MIM.
The trip wasn't completely for the festival however. We made stops at Graceland, the mall, the Memphis Zoo, and many of the famous local restaurants. Discovery and Travel Channels have both spent numerous episodes visiting the streets of Memphis.
The first place we went to was Dyer's Restaurant on Beale St. Dyer's has been a part of Memphis since 1912, and is known for their Hamburgers. It's not so much of the flavor or seasoning they use, but the method they use. Dyer's FRIES their burgers before they throw them on a bun and into your tummy. One of their T shirts says "Have you had your Vitamin G today?" The G of course standing for GREASE. I must say, this was a DELICIOUS burger. It's not going to get me to change my way of cooking, but definitely worth the stop if you ever get a chance.
Our last full day in Memphis was packed with amazing food. First we went to Arcade Restaurant. Which is Memphis' oldest. Arcade has been visited by all of Memphis' greats and even has an Elvis booth. That the King sat in every time he visited. They're signature dish that was made famous by Adam Richmond and Man vs. Food. Is the Eggs Redneck ... OF COURSE I had to get it. The eggs and hash browns were good, but the gravy and sausage biscuits were AMAZING. By far the best I've ever eaten, and I can promise you, I've had my fair share.
For lunch we stopped by Interstate BBQ. When I say lunch, I mean at 3 when we finally left the zoo. It really didn't matter what time it was ... the place was packed. Dawn got the sliced beef sandwich ... AMAZING. Her mom got the pulled pork sandwich ... AMAZING. I got ... the ribs ... AMAZING!!!!!
For dinner we went to Rendezvous. For those that's never been to Memphis. It can get REALLY bad, REAL quick. You can be walking in a nice neighborhood and cross the road and be in a place you do not want to be. I asked a cop where Rendezvous was, because we were on 2nd St and I couldn't find it. Her reply "down the alley beside Hampton Inn". Immediately I regretted this decision.
Like Interstate, it didn't matter what time it was. We got there around 8-8:30 and it was SLAMMED with a wait. We had 3 and waited around 20 minutes. That was ok, because they had their local Ghost River brew on tap (which is delicious).
This time Dawn went with the smoked chicken which was off the chain and her mom got the pulled pork sandwich and it was KILLER AWESOME. For a moment I was jealous I didn't order it. Then, my ribs came out and I was no longer jealous. As you can immediately tell, Rendezvous leaves their ribs dry. The big Memphis debate is whether Interstate's wet ribs are better than Rendezvous' dry ribs.
The flavor of these ribs were beyond anything I'd ever eaten before in my life ... HOWEVER, I don't like dry. I used my spicy and sweet mix of sauce after a few bones of dry. The bad part though, I forgot I was pouring spicy on and covered the ribs. Those things were BLAZING hot, but delicious. Dawn bet me that I couldn't eat them all since they were so hot ... she lost.
In the great debate, I had to give the nudge to Interstate for the best ribs (my preference), but Rendezvous won with pulled pork.
All in all it was a great trip, and it definitely made me get bit by the BBQ Competition bug. Here's my facebook album with the rest of my pictures from the Memphis In May BBQ Festival.