Day three of our drive through the drive across began early again. We left that city with too much ugly orange and made our way from the rolling hills of Eastern Tennessee to westernmost Tennessee and Memphis. We approached the city and began to talk about lunch. Mostly on the road during these ambitious drives we don’t invest a lot of time in our meals, we try to make them easy. I’ve been all around Memphis, but never any time in the city. So, I asked JDT if it was OK if we were a bit more adventurous. AND as always, she said yes. I went on my phone and the place in the photo came up and resonated with me. The directions took us off the I-40 corridor and into the heart of Memphis. I’d always heard that Memphis was a tough town, kinda like Oakland. Hmmm.
I love BBQ. Pretty much any kind of BBQ. Yes, I love the king of BBQ (brisket) above all others. I think I found a close 2nd. Memphis is a pork town. Memphis is a BBQ pork ribs town. AND not the Carolina mustardy sauced variety. Their own “brand”.
JDT was driving, so I read up a bit on Payne’s offerings. Small number of items done very well. So, as we drove up I got this vibe that this “was going to be very good”. Then I opened the door as we arrived and the wonderfully smokey aroma flowing out of this place just made me smile. I went inside, got in line then ordered a half slab and a chopped pork sandwich.
We switched back over to me driving and we drove away. JDT opened the wrapping around the pork sandwich. What a terrific homemade sandwich. A hamburgerish bun with chopped pork butt, mustard, slaw, pickle and who knows what else. Delightful! That was gone in mere minutes. Next, it was on to the ribs. You should know that ribs are not really JDT’s thing. So, I was on my own. The styrofoam box included 8ish meaty sauced ribs, some potato-ish salad and 4 slices of white bread. It dawned on me. This is a different version of Everett & Jones (E&J). E&J is an Oakland institution that I have frequented for nearly 40 years. Wonderful Soul Food. The Payne’s BBQ soul food rivals E&J.
Two hours later we got to our hotel in Little Rock. I ate two more ribs. Plus I have some to take with me tomorrow!!