Have you caught the Olympic spirit? As I write this, the U.S. men’s water polo team is playing and besting the team from Romania. Are those guys in shape, or what?
And today I write about our visit to Corky’s for the finals of the Memphis Pulled Pork Olympics featuring Central BBQ (my Memphis favorite) vs. Corky’s (Chuck’s Memphis favorite).
“Beginning in the early 1970's, Don Pelts began to visualize a Memphis-style BBQ ‘joint’ that made great premium BBQ in a fun 50's environment. After spending over a decade operating an existing Memphis BBQ restaurant…he finally set out to realize his dream. In 1984 Don found the perfect location and was ready to bring Corky's to reality. All he could think of was a small cozy place with old barn wood walls,
While not as well known as Rendezvous and Interstate, Corky’s has managed to rack up its own share of honors. In 2011, Memphis Magazine awarded Corky’s Bronze Medal for Best Barbecue Ribs and the Silver Medal for Best Barbecue Sandwich.
Corky’s is a sit-down-and-be-waited-on restaurant. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait for a table and were quickly seated in air conditioned comfort, not far from where we sat four years ago. Corky’s menu is extensive, but we both knew what we wanted.
Well, as you can see from the amount of meat on our plate, the extra sides really weren’t necessary. To start, the portion ribs was twice as large as I expected. I ordered them “dry” meaning no sauce—just rubbed with the house rubbing mixture.
The pulled pork was moist and tender, but I would have liked a bit more smoke flavor; there was a definite absence of bark, which is my favorite part of pulled pork shoulder. Corky’s pulled pork remains Chuck’s Memphis favorite, but we both agree that 2Pauls (Lafayette, LA) and Phil’s (San Diego) are still our ultimate favorites.
The real surprise was the smoked sausage. This was delicious. Corky’s uses kielbasa rather than the more typical smoked beef and pork sausage and the taste difference was noticeable. Were I to return, I might just order the sausage and nothing else.
All of the sides were good. The hand-cut fries were nice and crisp and had been seasoned with the house rub.
Wanting dessert, we took a portion of our meal home with us. This was a wise move on our part, since our dessert—Brandon’s Lemon Ice Box Pie (described on the menu as “Simply the best down home taste you'll ever eat.”)—was delicious.
So who is the winner? The Memphis Pulled Pork Olympics ended in a draw. Both meals receive 4.5 Addies and both are worthy of return trips. But you can believe a return trip will not be in the middle of the summer!
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.