If you are a fan of pork ribs like I am a fan of pork ribs, then Tennessee is one of the places you really have to go. Good Tennessee ribs get a dry rub of spices and are then slow smoked over a wood fire. Back in the 1950s in Memphis, Charlie Vergos combined his father's Greek spices with some New Orleans style cajun seasoning and turned scrap-meat into something altogether magical. Charlie Vergo's Rendezvous still sets the standard for ribs in Tennessee and is definitely one of my favorites. In my travels around Tennessee, I stopped into a few different rib-joint though and found some great spots around the state. While Rendezvous ribs still tops my list, some of these places gave them a run for their money. 

Archers, Knoxville

Archer's Ribs - Dry Rubbed and Delicious

Saucy But Tasty

Prater's of Manchester

Martin's Dry Rubbed Spare Ribs

Helen's Ribs and Homemade Sides

Elwood's Ribs - Notice the Very Empty Slaw Cup

The Original and Still the Best! Rendezvous!

This is my absolute go-to place in Memphis and one of my favorite barbecue places in the whole country for ribs. If I'm downtown on Sunday or Monday and Rendezvous is closed, I have no problem going to delicious Central BBQ. The rest of the week, though, I'm with Charlie. The original Memphis dry rub I mentioned in the introduction to this post, and still going strong after 70+ years. The restaurant is cavernous and they turn tables quickly so don't worry if there's a line when you get there, there usually is. If it wasn't worth waiting for, people wouldn't wait for it every night. Once you're seated, the ribs come out fast so you won't be waiting for them long. A half-rack is good enough for me everywhere else, but I always get a full rack at Rendezvous. Not because I need it, but because I can't resist. Rendezvous has made its way onto many lists of Best Ribs in America, and is a great place to see what Tennessee barbecue is all about.

I'm off to get some exercise and work off all of those ribs. If you're a rib fan, this list should give you some good ideas if you're ever passing through Tennessee. Where are your favorite ribs, in Tennessee or elsewhere? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. Bon Appetit! 

Always a Smile On My Face When I'm at Rendezvous!