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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 Mythical.store.

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