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If you’re spending time in Memphis, you simply must try some barbecue while you’re in town, and Central BBQ is a great place to do it. We love to sample different barbecue on our trips, and several locals mentioned trying Central. Central BBQ is also across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum, so if you’re planning to visit the museum, Central BBQ is quite convenient!
We arrived in Memphis a few minutes before lunchtime. We decided to head straight there, and then we would check out the museum. Of course, if you’d read our post about our visit to the museum, you’d know that we planned to visit on a day it wasn’t open. I am usually more organized, but mistakes happen. Click here to read more about our experience.
Central BBQ: The Restaurant
I’m glad we got there when we did. We were one of the first parties in line, but this place became busy fast!
The interior has a nice rustic charm–just perfect for a barbecue joint. There were two windows to order from, and then a server brings your food to your table. Here is the menu.
And here is the other side.
We placed our orders, grabbed our drinks, and found a place to sit. While we waited, we took in the ambiance.
It’s important to know where to pick up the cold beer.
Here is where the beer is drafted.
And here is where you get sauced.
Don’t forget to grab some sauce, spices, or t-shirts for the road!
Central BBQ: The ‘Cue
Even though it was busy, our food arrived quickly. Jeff had a three-meat combo of sliced brisket, pork ribs, and turkey served with fries and homemade chips.
I had a pulled pork sandwich with fries.
Kristin usually gets ribs, but since she was at a new place, she ordered kids’ chicken strips with macaroni and cheese. Her meal also came with a cookie. She also nibbled off of her dad’s plate.
Central BBQ: The Verdict
Overall, the food was really tasty. Jeff and I both thought the meat had a little less smoke flavor than most of the places in Kansas City. We also thought the sauce was really similar to our local places and KC. Kristin was not a huge fan of her macaroni and cheese, but take that with a grain of salt. She can be extremely picky in the mac and cheese department. I’m not sure why she didn’t get fries, but I think she was going through a strange phase in which she didn’t want the skin on them. She seems to be over this phase now. The only other thing I would say is that the kids’ meal could’ve had just a little more food, but Kristin is in that in-between phase kids fall into in the later elementary years when a kids’ meal is not always enough and an adult meal is too much.
I would absolutely go to Central BBQ again, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting Memphis. The meat was moist and the sauce was a good tomato-based sauce, although you could’ve had mustard-based or vinegar. I left with a full tummy and a favorable impression of Memphis barbecue. Give it a shot when you’re in town!