Memphis BBQ Musts


It’s not Nashville, it‘s not Texas, and it’s not Kansas City…

It’s MEMPHIS… The land of BBQ!

Memphis BBQ is a unique delicacy, and Memphians take it VERY seriously.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or lifelong BBQ connoisseur, trying everything Memphis’ BBQ scene has to offer is quite a task. 

But don’t fret! We at Choose901 have put together a list of local favorites with the sauciest of ribs, the cheesiest of nachos, the smokiest of wings, and all the best dishes slathered in Memphis-style goodness…

Here is Our List of Memphis BBQ Musts:

(In no particular order!)


  • 1762 Lamar Ave.

Payne’s Bar-B-Q seems to be a fan favorite at the Choose01 office. Payne’s is a family-run business that’s been serving up some of the best barbecue in Memphis since 1972. Inside an unremarkable building, or shack, you’ll find the Payne family serving up their home-style Memphis BBQ. Unusual menu items like their slow-smoked pulled pork sandwich topped with mustard sauce and coleslaw and the smoked bologna sandwich attract barbecue aficionados near and far.

"Payne's BBQ is by far my favorite restaurant in Memphis."
Austin Young
Grizzlies Prep Teacher

Central BBQ

  • 2249 Central Ave.
  • 147 E Butler Ave.
  • 4375 Summer Ave.
  • 6201 Poplar Ave.

Since 2002, Central BBQ has made its mark as a local favorite. Their famous fall of the bone meat and packed to the brim nachos are deliciously decadent. It’s so good that they’ve expanded to Nashville so they can Nashvillians can FINALLY experience authentic BBQ. Also, do not sleep on their wings, mac and cheese, cole slaw, and everything else on their menu. 

"Central BBQ Nachos make me die. In the best of ways."
Whitney Hale
Choose901 Marketing Director

Elwood's Shack

  • 4523 Summer Ave.

Elwood’s Shack is quite literally a shack on Summer Ave. But a shack that can whip up delicious grub. They’ve got BBQ Pizza, BBQ Burritos, and a lot more. However, the staff favorite at Choose901 is anything that contains brisket. 

"I'll order anything from Elwood's Shack."
Travis Tinnin
Choose901 Alumni Talent Director

Cozy Corner Restaurant Inc.

  • 735 N. Parkway

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. So remember to hold that mantra close to your heart when you stumble upon Cozy Corner BBQ. Founded in 1977, Cozy Corner has served as a landmark BBQ restaurant in the city and featured numerous times on different Food TV shows. The family is extremely welcoming, and the food is mouth-watering!

Corky's Ribs and BBQ

  • 5259 Poplar Ave.
  • 1740 N. Germantown Pkwy.
  • 743 W. Poplar
  • 6434 Goodman Rd.

You can’t go wrong with ole faithful Corky’s Ribs and BBQ. I’m a bit biased because I’ve been going there since I was a kid, but if you don’t trust me, it’s been voted as the #1 BBQ Joint by Memphians 22 times. Plus, they use white cheese dip on their BBQ nachos. It’s truly a dream. 

Tom's Barbecue

  • 4087 Getwell Rd.

Tom’s Barbecue is where friends meat! Their barbecue meticulously prepared and smoked for HOURS. It’s truly a place that takes care of you every-time you walk through the door. Plus, Guy Fieri loves it, and who doesn’t trust Guy Fieri? 

Baby Jack's

  • 7610 Hwy 70
  • 11125 Hwy 70
  • 6540 Hwy 64

Baby Jack’s, yes, THE Baby Jack’s great-grandparents have been perfecting their barbecue recipe since 1966. This inspired the first Baby Jack opening in Bartlett in 2012. The co-founders combined their love of science and cooking to whip up deliciously and perfectly cooked meats.


  • 52 S 2ND ST, Memphis, TN

Memphis is the pork BBQ capital of the world. While there are bbq joints in every nook and cranny of this city, Rendezvous is one of the most well-known. Rendezvous has been serving up ribs in a downtown Memphis basement since 1948. It is truly a must-have Memphis dining experience.

One & Only BBQ

  • 1779 Kirby Pkwy.
  • 153 Timber Creek Dr.
  • 567 Perkins Extd.

Since 2002, One & Only BBQ has been a hit in the Memphis community. It’s made it to the final five in the Commercial Appeal’s “Memphis Most.” They are known for their great smoky flavors and deliciously sweet sauce

The Bar-B-Q Shop

  • 1782 Madison Ave.

If you haven’t already, head to the heart of Midtown to get some Q from the shop! The Bar-B-Q Shop was voted #1 ribs in America by the Food Network’s “Top Five Restaurants.” If that’s not enough to convince you, they are also the originators of BBQ Spaghetti. 

"BBQ Sand-which and fries from Bar-B-Q Shop."
April Pruett
TEACH901 Recruiting Coordinator

A & R Bar-B-Que

  • 3721 Hickory Hill Rd. 
  • 1802 Elvis Presley Blvd.

Andrew Pollard, who started A&R alongside his wife Rose Pollard, had watched his father smoke pork and brisket his whole life. He lived and breathed BBQ. So he started A&R as a take-out-only restaurant in 1983. Over the years, popularity grew, and demand increased for them to offer sit-down dining and catering. 

"The turkey leg w baked beans/slaw is gonna hit every single time."
Jasmine Leavy
Alumni Program Coordinator

Germantown Commissary

  • 2290 South Germantown Rd.
  • 3573 S Houston Levee Rd.

Before transforming into a delicious BBQ restaurant in 1981, the Germantown Commissary was just that, the local Commissary. For 90 years, you could find anything you needed, from blue jeans to bologna. It was then purchased by Walker Taylor and became a southern staple.

Interstate Barbecue

  • 2265 S. Third Street
  • 150 W. Stateline Rd.
  • 7209 Winchester Rd.

Jim Neely spent two and a half years perfecting the “secret sauce” he uses for his BBQ. A native Memphian, he knew what it took to make a good BBQ sandwich.

Interstate was rated as the second-best barbecue in the nation by People magazine in 1989. Vogue magazine pronounced it the best commercial barbecue in Memphis. After a two-month search of numerous restaurants in Memphis, The Commercial Appeal named Interstate Bar-B-Que as the home of the best all-around pork barbecue sandwich in the city in 1989.

"The California beef sausage plate or Smoked Turkey Sandwich Combo. Gonna win every time."
Joi Taylor
Choose901 Alumni Director


  • 4381 Elvis Presley Blvd. 

Located just 1 mile from Elvis’ home, Marlowe’s is truly an Elvis wonderland. Since 1974, they’ve been a tourist staple for their fall off-the-bone ribs, BBQ shrimp, and BBQ spaghetti. So while real Memphians may not visit Graceland, they definitely visit Marlowe’s.

Did we miss one of your favorites?

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