Saturday, May 31, 2014

Corky's Bar-B-Q - Memphis, TN

I get it now. I get why people from the BBQ capitals of our country bemoan the state of BBQ in places other than their own. I didn't understand it at first, this BBQ snootiness. I figured that it was just the pride talking. I was even willing to bet that if you blind-folded and served them, say, ribs from our local Lucille's chain back at their home and didn't tell them where it was from, they'd like it just the same, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But after having the Memphis-style ribs at Corky's during a recent trip to The Mid-South, I now see the light.

The minute I sank my teeth into the first rib, I actually said, "Oh my God." These were ribs unlike any I've ever tasted in my life. It was covered in a dry rub, not glopped in sauce, a caking of spices that amounted to breading. I've had dry-rubbed ribs before. It's not new to me. But this was the first time the seasonings actually sang. It crackled and snapped in my mouth, as though it were made of Pop Rocks. And then there was the texture of the pork itself. On the outside, it was crunchy-crisp, something akin to fried pork skin. But underneath the meat was nearly liquid, an amalgam of melted fat and tender pink flesh--a surge of porky sweetness so thrilling it's orgasmic.

I realized then that I didn't just eat the best BBQ ribs of my entire existence; I also just ate one of the best pork dishes in the world, second only to Magic Wok's sisig.

Corky's ribs are already beloved by the people of Memphis. So this post will sound to them as though I just saw the Star Wars trilogy for the first time or figured out who this bloke Elvis** was. Incidentally, Memphis is primarily famous for two things: Elvis and BBQ.

But here's how serious they are down there about BBQ: there was a friggin' drive-thru at Corky's. Yes. The restaurant had a drive-thru--a drive-thru I'd be queuing up to, like, every single day if I lived there.

**Side story. Here's a recent conversation I had with a young co-worker who grew up in India.

So what are you doing Memorial Day Weekend?

I'm going to Memphis.

What's in Memphis?

BBQ and Graceland.

What's Graceland?

It's Elvis' house!

Who's Elvis?

Elvis Presley? The King of Rock and Roll? You don't know who Elvis is?

No. Does he still live there?

Corky's Bar-B-Q
5259 Poplar Ave
Memphis, TN 38119
(901) 685-9744

Fireside Tavern - Costa Mesa


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