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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

Central BBQ exterior Memphis

I’m glad we got there when we did.  We were one of the first parties in line, but this place became busy fast!

Central BBQ interior Memphis

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.

Menu at Central BBQ Memphis TN

And here is the other side.

Menu at Central BBQ Memphis TN

We placed our orders, grabbed our drinks, and found a place to sit.  While we waited, we took in the ambiance.

Elvis in Central BBQ Memphis

It’s important to know where to pick up the cold beer.

Central BBQ interior Memphis

Here is where the beer is drafted.

Central BBQ interior Memphis

And here is where you get sauced.

Central BBQ interior Memphis

Don’t forget to grab some sauce, spices, or t-shirts for the road!

Central BBQ Memphis

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.

Central BBQ Memphis

I had a pulled pork sandwich with fries.

Central BBQ Memphis

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 Memphis kids' meal

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!

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24 Comments

  1. I’m new to your blog but had to read this one! Our favorite place for BBQ! But we love the BBQ nachos! My husband the pulled pork ones and I like the BBQ turkey! So good! We even sometimes substitute the normal chips it comes with, with their hoisemade potato chips or fries, to give a different flavor. I will day my husband loves the Mac n cheese but I’m not the biggest fan. I do enjoy it every now and then though. We do love the downtown location as we used to go to the one off of central and it’s a little more crowded! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Stacey Reply

      Thanks for stopping by! We did love our time in Memphis, and Central BBQ was so good! I’ll have to try the nachos next time!

  2. I love the feel of the place with the high ceiling and decor! I’ve never been to Memphis but would really like to someday.

  3. This looks delicious. I’ve never been to Memphis but the pictures look like I would be super fun.

  4. I wish they had some vegan option. Well, I can probably choose a salad and sides.

  5. Okay now I’m super hungry for BBQ! Looks SO great! Thanks for sharing this! YUM!

  6. This so makes me want to go back to Memphis! When I went to Memphis before we visited all of the spicy and fried chicken places. We will have to go back and tour the BBQ places!

  7. Thanks for sharing! We will be in Memphis for a couple of days near the end of April! I have pinned this so I won’t forget!

  8. This looks great! I love good BBQ. I love anything off a grill! If I ever get to Memphis, this will be on the list… on a day the museum is open. Lol!

  9. I love BBQ and I want to visit Memphis! If I ever make it I will definitely check out this place!

  10. Sounds like a good lunch experience! I’ve only passed through Memphis. I need to stop next time!

  11. Pauline Reynolds Reply

    I like a good BBQ. That child’s plate does look a little small. Loved all the signs and decor.

  12. I really need to find a way to stop in Memphis during one of our trips through to the Midwest. I keep hearing about these amazing places to eat and my family LOVES a good BBQ place.

  13. This place looks yummy! I love a good BBQ place. Thanks for the review!

  14. Looks delish! We love great BBQ too, I especially like that they have a vinegar based sauce available too. YUM! Thanks o much for sharing and we’ll stop in if we’re up that way 🙂

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