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Memphis Memories – Homemade Bar-B-Q, Sauce and Spicy Slaw

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I would like to start off this post by letting everyone know that my husband and I are BBQ snobs. The Hubby is from Memphis, born and raised, and I spent the first part of my adult life there and consider it my home ( maybe not born and raised, but I certainly found myself there). If you have ever been to Memphis then you know 2 things; 1 – never leave valuables in your car, and 2 – Memphis is serious about Bar-B-Q. The sauce is always sweet and tangy, the meat is always flavorful and cole slaw is always served ON the sandwich. We currently live in the land of vinegar bar-b-q and flavorless meat. So we are forced to make our own BBQ when we want some good stuff. Although this process takes a while, it is well worth the effort.
Therefore, I will go ahead and tell you that any mention of vinegar sauce or {gasp} mustard sauce will be frowned upon and suggesting the placement of pickles on a BBQ sandwich is absolutely, positively banned!!!

Okay. let’s get to cooking!

Boston Butt Roast – 3-7 lbs

For Rub:

4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoons cayenne

Combine all spices and rub into meat very well. Let sit overnight in refrigerator.

Prepare grill by heating to about 225 degrees. It is key that the temperature not get above 250 and not below 200. We bought one of those smoke boxes with hickory chips in it and put that on our gas grill for the smokey taste. Cooking times will vary depending upon the size of your roast , but plan on 1-1 1/2 hours per pound. You want to cook the pork to an internal temperature of 185. Once you have reached that point, remove from grill, wrap in foil and let set for at least an hour. Pull pork apart with your fingers or with two forks.

For Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 T molasses
1/2 T finely diced red bell pepper
2 t. sugar
1 t. Liquid Smoke
1/2t. salt
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/2 t. Tabasco
1/4t cayenne
1/4t black pepper
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder

Combine everything in a saucepan and simmer until thickened.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw
from the Neelys
2 pounds green cabbage
4 carrots
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper

Cut cabbage in quarters and remove core. Peel carrots and onion and cut into pieces that would fit through the feed tube of a food processor. Fit food processor with the large-holed grater attachment and push cabbage, carrots, and onions through feed tube to grate. In a large bowl, toss vegetables together.

In another medium bowl, prepare the coleslaw dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne. Toss dressing with the cabbage mixture, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

To properly serve a Memphis Style BBQ pulled pork sandwich: pile a handful of pork on top of bun, top with a liberal amount of sauce and a healthy scoop of coleslaw. Put on top bun and dig in!! YUM!!!

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Okay now, I have to represent the non-sweet Memphis BBQ. I have an extreme aversion to anything sweet in food that is not dessert. Luckily, there are places like Rendevous, Central BBQ, and good ol’ Tops that shun sweet sauces (I cannot STAND Corky’s. Ugh!).

    Also, I would rather be beaten than put coleslaw anywhere near my face, so just in case any outsiders are skeert, you can get your sandwich sans slaw.

  2. I would say that all of those places ( Rendevous, Central, even Tops) is a “sweet” sauce compared to the other BBQ types in the nation, even though those sauces aren’t necessarily sweet. The sauce here isn’t that sweet either, it’s much more on the tangy side and certainly spicy to boot ( a la Rendevous). As far as sans slaw, well…you’re just weird, but yeah you can eat it without. 🙂

  3. Its Rendezvous not rendevous. And the recipe for their rib rub doesnt have any type of suger in it cayenne,papirika,and pepper etc.

  4. Now that is some lip smacking bbq! I do love the barbecue in Memphis. When I moved to TN is whe I saw people put the slaw on their sanwiches and it’s not bad. Wow I hope I can make it to lunch time with your bbq on my mind!

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Jodie is a wife, mom, writer and lover of chickens and gardens. She runs her family's winery by day and cooks and writes by night.

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