Memphis is a city that has a wide variety of delicious options. From barbecue to soul food, the city has some of the best restaurants, serving up classic dishes with a modern twist. Whether you prefer traditional or contemporary cuisine, Memphis will indeed have something to tantalize your taste buds. Memphis food is a must-try with its delicious flavors, unique combinations, and top-notch restaurants. 

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So, why not prepare a mouthwatering Memphis barbecue recipe for your next grill day? 

Memphis Barbecue Recipe

Here’s one Memphis barbecue recipe inspired by KayB shared on Food52


Most of the ingredients are what you would normally find in our pantry. Here’s what you will need to make your barbecue the best. 

  • Pork shoulder meat, 5-6 pounds: The meat should have a pinkish-red coloring with noticeable marbling. 
  • Kosher salt, 3 tablespoons: Slathering kosher salt on the meat allows it to draw blood out. If you only have table salt, only use 1.5 tablespoons. 
  • Black pepper, 3 tablespoons: Better to use freshly ground black pepper. 
  • Cumin, 3 tablespoons: Adding cumin helps accentuate the savory meat flavor. 
  • Chili powder, 3 tablespoons: Chili adds flavor and spice to your barbecue.
  • Coriander, 3 tablespoons: Coriander is great for adding that smoky flavor to your dish. 
  • Ground ginger, 1.5 tablespoons: Ginger not only adds an earthy spice to your meat but also acts as a meat tenderizer. 
  • Dry mustard, 1.5 tablespoons: Mustard is also great for tenderizing meat. 
  • Celery Seed: 1.5 tablespoons: Celery seed is spicy and citrusy, giving the barbecue a Mediterranean vibe.  
  • Allspice, 1 tablespoon: This spice is an excellent alternative to evoke the blend of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  • Ground thyme, 2 teaspoons: Thyme is great for bringing out the flavors of other ingredients. 
  • Dried oregano, 2 teaspoons: This herb has a spicy and aromatic flavor that dramatically impacts your dish.
  • Brown sugar, 4 tablespoons: Your barbecue flavor won’t be the same without a hint of sweetness. 
  • Cider vinegar, half cup: Besides adding a tangy flavor to your barbecue, cider vinegar also helps tenderize the meat.
  • Tomato paste or ketchup, 4 tablespoons: Add ketchup for a richer barbecue flavor. 
  • Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon: Like ketchup, this sauce elevates the taste of your barbecue sauce. 
  • Hot sauce, to taste: Adding hot sauce should depend on how much spice you can take. 
  • Water, half cup: Water is mainly to balance all the flavors of the ingredients. 
  • Vegetable oil, half cup: This oil is perfect for slow grilling since it has a high smoke point. This won’t burn while barbecuing. 

Preparing the Meat 

One way to get a delectable Memphis barbecue is to prepare and marinate the meat. Here’s how you should do it. 

  1. In a huge bowl, mix all the herbs and spices. Add the sugar and mix until they are well-blended. 
  2. In a separate cup, set aside about six tablespoons of the mixture. 
  3. With the remaining mixture, coat the pork roast until every inch is covered with the marinade. 
  4. If you have leftover marinade, keep it in an airtight food container. 
  5. Wrap the coated pork meat, and refrigerate it for 24 hours. 
  6. After the coating has set overnight, allow it to cool to room temperature. 
  7. While waiting for the meat to warm, start building your fire. 
  8. After an hour of cooking the pork, baste it with the prepared sauce every half an hour. You can space the basting once every hour for six to seven hours. 
  9. Ensure to maintain the same heat level throughout so the meat cooks evenly. You may need to add more coals as the meat cooks. 
  10. Check the meat from time to time. Once you can pull apart the meat quickly, remove the fire, and cover it with foil. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. 

The best way to serve Memphis barbecue is with baked beans or corn on the cob with vinegar coleslaw. 

If you want to add sauce while eating the barbecue, warm the leftover basting sauce. 

Making the Memphis Barbecue Sauce

A barbecue dish won’t be complete without a tasty sauce. Here’s how you will make your pork barbecue Memphis style. 

In a small saucepan, add the reserved marinade. Add the dry rub mix, water, ketchup (or tomato paste), vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. You can add your hot sauce now if you prefer your barbecue to be spicy. 

Key Takeaways

After a successful week, nothing beats spending time with your loved one over a nice barbecue party in your backyard. Try this sumptuous Memphis barbecue recipe. 

  • Prepare the ingredients
  • Marinate the meat
  • Mix the basting sauce