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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Memphis Rendezvous

Most people think of Elvis and Graceland when they think of Memphis, Tennessee.   For junior tennis players, Memphis means something different.  It means clay court championships.  And for Budi, one of Kate's coaches, Memphis means not only clay courts, it means Rendezvous Barbecue.

Budi is a man after my own heart.  He loves to eat.  He also takes advantage of where ever he is to sample the local specialties.  In Memphis, a city filled with great barbecue, Budi swears that Rendezvous is the gold standard.

Budi and I happened to be talking just before he left for Memphis, and I mentioned  that he should try Neeley's.  After all, Gina and Pat Neeley are Food Network staples.   If you can get part the saccharine sweetness of their interaction ("honey", "sugar baby"), they clearly know their barbecue.  I've never been to Memphis but there are two must visits on my list if I ever make it there:  Graceland and Neeley's Barbecue.

Despite my Neeley's sales pitch, Budi informed me that the best barbecue in Memphis was at Rendezvous Barbecue.  In fact, he said it was so good that he planned to eat there every night during his visit.  And to prove to me how good it was, he offered to bring back some of their world famous barbecue sauce.

Budi did try Neeley's and announced that it wasn't nearly as good as Rendezvous.  True to his promise, he arrived home with not only the sauce, but a spice rub as well.

Normally I would have made ribs the next day because I was so excited to try my Rendezvous rub and sauce.  But I knew that of all the people in my family, the one who would enjoy this taste test the most was Charlie.  So I waited for him to return and now that he is back Ted fired up the smoker and settled in for a long, relaxed afternoon.

After six hours in the smoker the baby backs were ready and I have to tell you, they were sublime.  The rub added a lot of nice flavoring but the real topper was the spicy Rendezvous sauce.  A little went a long way.  It was very spicy but so good.
Ted's Ribs

I have no immediate plans to go to Memphis.  When I do finally get there, my two must visits have changed.   I'll be stopping by Graceland and Rendezvous Barbecue.

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