For Christmas this year, Jeremy and I decided to cross half of the expansive roadway called I-4o to make the trek to my families house in Bentonville, Arkansas. If you don't know much about the I-40 highway, let me just say, it is a journey that I wonder why the Pilgrims made it in the first place. The late Charles Kuralt of CBS news once said,
"Thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything."
Now I beg to differ with Mr. Kuralt (he was born in North Carolina so it doesn't surprise me that he didn't get out much). We saw lots of things on trip down I-40. Mostly snow, snow covered vehicles, jack-knifed tractor trailers, and ice... but once we got past Knoxville, TN, things started to warm up.
As a special treat, I surprised Jeremy by making a pit stop in Memphis, TN. Home of some of the U.S.'s best barbecue joints. People are pretty opinionated in Memphis as to who has the best barbecue. They can basically be narrowed down to 2 finalists: Rendezvous and Jim Neely's Interstate Bar-B-Q.
Being a Midwesterner, I have had the opportunity to go the back alley, underground Rendezvous. It was quite the experience that I shared with my dad about 5 years ago after we drove all the way out to Liberty to pick up my car (ole blue) and haul it back to Arkansas. That was when gas was only like $1.50 a gallon so it was actually a logical thing to do.
Rendezvous slogan is "Not since Adam has ribs been so famous".
I thought it was funny. It was decent but I remember it being more of a dry rub barbecue. A contender for sure, but I thought that the best experience may come from the humble Interstate Bar-B-Q.
Now let me just say, Interstate Bar-B-Q doesn't come with all the bells and whistles that Rendezvous has to offer. It's in a bad part of town, with bars on all the windows and doors. That's never a good sign. But you would think they were selling gold chains with their barbecue the way they locked that place down.
Jeremy, being the food junkie he is, was the most giddy about our adventure. Mr. Neely, is the father of the husband on, The Neely's show on the Food Network.
Does this man look like he is messing around? And let me just say, with the taste of sweet, tangy, barbecue sauce dripping from the corners of my mouth...it was so worth every scare of being mugged to eat at Interstate Bar-B-Q. The pork alone. All I can do is clap for Mr. Neely and is his dedication to achieving what I believe, is the best Bar-B-Q in Memphis.
Jeremy would agree, even though that is the only place he has been to. The waiter was a little nicer than Satan himself but the food made up for it.
So congratulations Interstate Bar-B-Q...you have our vote for best barbecue in Memphis.
I think the most unusual part of the experience is one of the specialities of Interstate Bar-B-Q called the Barbecue Spaghetti. I know what you are thinking. It's the same thing I was thinking. Gross. I am going to be honest. I am not brave enough. I didn't try it. Jeremy, however, did. And he loved it!
I-40 and Christmas was an overall great experience. We made it to Arkansas and back in one piece without our 2009 Toyota Camry's accelerator getting stuck and with lots of barbecue in our stomachs.