We have hit an all time high for crazy BBQ food consumption today. We are after all in Memphis, Tennessee and with so many choices and so little hours in the day, we had to make it work!
We woke up to the sound of gun shots this morning…duck hunters. Ah, to be on the waterfront in Alabama. It rained all night which was interesting in the RV, especially since the top vents leaked and the ground was pretty swamped and muddy. Needless to say the RV is not so clean anymore.
As we started our drive to Memphis, we made an 8 mile detour to Florence, Alabama- the town I lived in briefly in the early 70’s. I fell in love with the cute town and the beautiful homes, thinking my parents must have loved living there. It was more emotional than I expected, still missing my mom so much, but it felt so lucky to get to be there for just a brief visit. If you haven’t seen the Instagram video I took- check out, I’m lhighfill on Instragram.
Ken Hess, @Hossbbgbbq, from Big Bob Gibson’s recommended we go to Gus’s Fried Chicken when we got to Memphis, and when a pit master says it’s good, well you have to go there. It was unanimous, we LOVED this chicken. It was unlike any we had ever tasted before- peppery, spicey, crisp, moist, and hot. Since this was just a sampler, we just shared a couple of pieces and some fried pickles, well because you have to right? Why can’t Gus come to California? We are seriously missing out!
Next up was Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ. This was a joint that I pictured all of our stops to be like, no frills, down home cooking. We again just got some ribs to share- they were wet, fall off the bone delicious (but too wet and too fall off for our preference) They did come with some of the best cole slaw and baked beans ever. I really need to learn how to make the beans.
We spent the rest of the afternoon on Beale Street in Memphis.(Parking our obnoxious RV was not an easy task- we really stood out like a soar thumb- some guy flagged us down and said he’d watch it in his lot for $5- we gave him $20 and our trust) So much history, cool places for beverages, and amazing music. I felt as if I’d stepped into another world walking down that street. I could have easily spent a few evenings in many of those famous clubs.
My favorite shop was A. Schwab’s Dry Goods. It was an eclectic assortment mixed with historic and unique items to purchase. I spent most of my time upstairs getting lessons on Voodoo, Hoodoo, Mojo hands and other good luck charms. (You do know I’m extremely superstitious!)
And if that wasn’t enough food for one day, we had to go to the top rated BBQ in Memphis, Central BBQ, just past the most beautiful houses in the historic district of Central Gardens. We waited in line to order, not able to resist some Memphis style ribs and their famous pork nachos. The verdict was split on the ribs- 1 loved, 3 ok. Don’t get me wrong, they are way better than anything I’ve had West of the Sierra Nevadas, but they were not Big Bob Gibsons. The nachos were the big hit of the night. BBQ sauce, cheese sauce (not canned) shredded pork, and cheese and amazing tortilla chips. Another ‘must make at home’, that is after months of BBQ detox.
Brian and I made one last effort to get a night cap in the one and only Heartbreak Hotel, yes we are staying in the Graceland RV park, right across from Graceland. (Of course we are, when in Memphis right?!) We aren’t going on the tour though, is that wrong? We still need to get to the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated and which now hold the National Civil Rights Museum. Then we are off to travel all the way through Mississippi. ( I got Brian to skip the 17 mile tour through the Vicksburg Civil War Park- phew!) Who knows where we will end up. Feel free to tweet any suggestions (preferably near the Gulf Coast!) to @lhighfill or @brianhighfill .