Memphis BBQ Ribs Taste Test

– Today we eat the best ribs in Memphis – Let's talk about that

(alarm rings) (playful theme music) (fire blasts) – Good Mythical Morning – This week, we are in Memphis, Tennessee, the home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, and some of the best ribs on the planet, and we're gonna figure out which ones are the best – Yeah, we're in town visiting St Jude Children's Hospital's headquarters St

Jude is pioneering research and treatment for kids suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases at no cost to the families which is really awesome – Yeah and we're raising money for St Jude with your help You can give by clicking on the blue donate button If you don't see the blue button or you just want more information, you can go to stjude

org/gmm – Okay, we love ribs, in fact, we are chronic sufferers of FOMORE – That is, fear of missing out on ribs – So we are determined not to miss out on any of the best ribs We're gonna taste them and determine the official Good Mythical Morning best ribs in Memphis

It's time for Who's Got Dibs on the Best Memphis Ribs? – [Rhett] First up on our list is Leonard's Pit Barbecue Leonard's opened in 1923 and quickly outgrew its original drive-in location (upbeat rock music) – Rumor has it that Elvis would throw parties here that would last 'til sunrise Pork: rejoice in our ribs and be thankful for bountiful butts Butts

– [Rhett] We're meeting up with owner Dan Brown to get our rib on – [Link] Now, how long have these ribs been on here? – The shoulders go on first They run about 14 hours – Whoa – And then– – Here we go! – [Dan] The ribs about five

– And– – Stop! – Stop! No whammies? – What temperature you running each of these things? – 220, the shoulder's 220 and goes up to 260 when the ribs come on – Woo! – Okay, so how long you been doing this? – 1962, I started at Leonard's when I was in high school It's the only thing I've ever done – So you have a little experience – [Dan] A little bit, yeah

– Where's Leonard? – You buried him right here? – Yeah, right here Right under that tile floor (Rhett and Link laugh) – Now what makes these ribs different from other ribs that we might taste in Memphis? – Leonard's is known for its sauce Our sauce is just different, it's homemade – [Rhett] So what's special about the sauce and is it a secret recipe? – It definitely is a secret recipe

There are no barbecue places here that don't have a sweet red sauce – So Leonard's is responsible for kinda defining what Memphis-style barbecue is – I think so, without a doubt – Well we could keep talking about ribs or we could start tasting 'em (blues guitar music) – Are you going dry first? I think I'm gonna go dry first

– I think you should go dry to wet Because that's the way it would be in normal life, you know? – [Link] I'm just gonna pull this apart – You usually start dry and then you get wet – You talkin' 'bout me? – On like a rainy day – Got a nice, perfect one right here

– Now he talked about cooking these things 260 degrees which kinda gives it a little bit more of a crispiness – Mm-hm, at first bite, like sinking my teeth into heaven – Okay well, it's difficult to imagine going anywhere from there, up – Going anywhere up? – But I'm going in for the wet ones You gonna get wet with me? – Yeah let's get wet

– Oh man Uh-oh, that's got some molasses in there – A very sweet– – But it's a little spicy at the same time – Now I will say that this sauce is unlike any I've ever tasted You're gonna take notes? – I wanna remember this

That means Leonard's – I'm also gonna know it's Leonard's because I'm gonna write Leonard's – That's smart I think I'm going to make notes on both ribs You ever notice that Leonard's is spelled Leo nards? – Yeah

Next up is Charlie Vergos Rendezvous – [Rhett] Rendezvous has been slinging some of the best ribs in the city since 1948 – [Link] Notable for having a spice rub that mixes Charlie's Greek roots with New Orleans Cajun inspiration and a little extra sparkle, this place is an institution – [Rhett] And we're ready to get institutionalized – This is really cool looking

It's like a basement – It is a basement (bluesy rock music) Okay so this is the special place This is where the magic is happening right now – Right, you always wanna put your ribs on skin-side down

That's how you start cooking ribs And once they basically start browning off, all you have to do is turn it over on the meaty side to brown off As long as we cook, we always do this Real basic This is what I say helps tenderize to do stuff on

– And so what's in the base? – It's vinegar and pickle juice – Can Rhett baste it? – [Bobby] Oh yes, he's very welcome – [Rhett] Oh my gosh, look at that – [Link] I'm not gonna say it – What, that I'm a master baster? – (laughs) Right

Not gonna say it – You guys are special in that you're using charcoal like this right? Not a lot of other people just use the charcoal like this? – Most people got what they call the southern pride You can put your ribs on there and go in the house and sit down and come back out three or four hours later, your product is done – Right – Well here, you have to watch it at all times, 'cause you can't walk off from the fryer

If you do, you come back, boom – You could burn the whole thing? – You burn the whole thing – Boom So, what temperature for how long? – 325 to 400 degrees, perfect – [Link] And how long does it stay on? – We can cook a slab of ribs in an hour and 30 minutes

– So a little bit hot or a little bit faster cook You're not adding any extra wood, you got– – No we don't add– – You got the charcoal and then you got the grease from the ribs coming down and seasoning the meat – [Bobby] This is the secret right here He's gonna put the hot vinegar solution, baste it on – Oh

– Oh! – Then he sprinkle, this is what we call a tri-season We don't use a barbecue sauce at all These are perfect ribs – Now he was kinda talking crap about the ways that everybody else makes their ribs – They're different in every way

The old way is to grill It's on charcoal, there's no wood There's a guy tending to it the whole time He's basting the whole time So a human is interacting with this rib for the entire time it's cooking, plus it's being cooked almost 100 degrees warmer and it's only being cooked for an hour and a half versus over four hours

– So it's basic– – Totally different approach – The only thing that's the same is that it's a rib – Oh my – That's a good rib – Wow, I have absolutely no desire to put sauce on this

– The rub has got like a Greek seasoning spiciness to it I mean that's what this rib does, it takes me to a happy place I'm gonna do a thumbprint on this Rendezvous note page – Well the funny thing I'll say is that as different as the approach was, there's not a massive difference in the taste They both still come across like a Memphis rib to me

– That's a good note I just accidentally wiped my hand on my pants I had a napkin I moved the napkin and I wiped my pants I'm gonna make a note about that

– [Rhett] Our final rib contender was born out of the barbecue competition circuit – [Link] Central BBQ was open in 2002 and has maintained lines around the block ever since – [Rhett] This millennial baby of Memphis ribs has rocketed to the top of local foodies' best-of lists – [Link] But you can't trust what you read Only what you eat

– So let's eat I like being corralled directly to the ribs – Oh yeah Smells good (bluesy music) – Oh yeah

– Oh yeah, right on the ribs! What's the secret, what's different about Central's process? – We use a loin back rib or what some people call baby backs I tell everybody this is is the Cadillac of ribs, okay? We rub 'em, let 'em marinate overnight And then slow cook 'em – So you put the rub on it first– – Yesterday We don't do any wet marinade, it's all spices, so it has to have time to penetrate

– Okay so what temperature for how long? – About 250 degrees for about four to five hours With it being a rotisserie convection, you've got smoke circulating through the whole thing the whole time, that's why it's staying the same heat It's a principle like you would a furnace in your house It gets below temp, igniter lights, heats up the pit, once it gets up to temp, it stops So it maintains a perfect cooking temperature throughout the whole process

– Could you just run the rotisserie as like an amusement park ride? – Sure if you wanted to I've actually stuffed people in there before (Rhett laughs) When we first opened, I'd make guys climb in there to clean the pit and then close it behind them – Is that a threat of if you don't win our competition? – It could be This one happens if I come in third place

– You know what, I won't fit but he will – One other thing that we do that differentiates us from most other people that cook ribs, we're heating up the ribs, bringing them back up to temp and caramelizing the sauce on 'em – Woo – Give it a minute or two on there and then we're gonna pull it off and it's ready to eat – Okay so, unlike Rendezvous, these are low and slow

– Yep, four, five hours And I think the most notable thing that he mentioned was they put the rub on before, the day before and it marinates in it overnight – Right I'm gonna go for like a– – Get in the middle – A middle rib type situation, oh my goodness

– I don't know if you did something there I don't know how I should feel about that – [Link] I'll move some of this on top here (chuckles) – [Rhett] Uh-oh – The rub's not too overpowering

It's there to flirt with you, but it also says, don't forget about the meat – Look how moist, I mean, you've got a crispiness on the outside where the rub was, but just underneath it, see you got this bare piece right here That is so tender – I'm gonna start with some sauce – [Rhett] Let's reach in there and grab you one

– Okay I feel like this is a sacred moment where we're like just speaking intimately about ribs It's like what we just ate but with sauce – You know what, to be fair I just feel like, I gotta eat another one – One thing is, it's not quite as, I'd say crunchy on the outside as– – One of the things that Bobby at Rendezvous said, and even Dan said it, is they didn't like it when it fell off of the bone

They wanted to do a little bit of work They want it to come off clean but they didn't want it to fall off This is almost falling off the bone – It's not though – But it's almost falling off the bone

I mean if you've got on one of those shaker machines, it probably would, there it went, see? – Yeah but I pulled it first – So it's not completely falling off, it's a pull and fall The ol' pull and fall technique Look at that That's what I'm gonna put my mark on my thing with

– [Link] I'm gonna do a little – [Rhett] Note time – [Link] How do you spell wow? – You spell it W-O-W, but it's whether or not you put an exclamation point after it That's the real question – I did

Looks like you wrote bath, rest– – Bath and Body Works, I gotta pick something up later – A little lotion? – Yeah I gotta moisturize my fingertips – Okay, this is not gonna be an easy decision – Now we gotta just search our souls

(emotional rock music) (low grunting) Let's just say our favorite on the count of three – Okay – [Together] Three, two, one (triumphant music) – [Rhett] Work here is done – [Link] Finished

– Thanks for donating to St Jude by clicking the blue button – And thank you for liking, commenting and subscribing – You know what time it is – I'm Leah

– Charlie – I'm Nathan – I'm John – We're in Memphis, Tennessee, and we're at the Grizzlies game – [Together] And it's time to spin the Wheel of Mythicality! – Look, it's me Alex and that's Mythical Chef Josh

Click the top link to watch us taste some vegan barbecue ribs in Good Mythical More – And find out where the Wheel of Mythicality is going to land – [Rhett] Let your beast flag fly with our colorful and cozy I am a Mythical Beast tee available at Mythicalstore

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