So, I’m nearly two weeks behind on this, but, whatevs, ya know? Stuff happens.
Saturday, May 17, 2014, was set to be a monumental day for Memphis barbecue. Yes, the annual Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest (aka Barbecue Fest around here) was in full effect, but that’s not the important thing. Although, I hear they had Molly Hatchet playing that night, which IS important.
Side note: When I think of the stereotypical Southern independent “professional” wrassler (obese, slow, sloppy, no charisma, untalented, etc.), I ALWAYS hear “Flirtin’ With Disaster” in my mind and picture them waddling to the ring to one of the greatest Southern rock tunes of all time. Seems fitting.
Anyway, the TRULY important thing: the first Memphis Barbecue Bologna Heavyweight Champion was to be crowned that evening. Seven local barbecue joints, nine sandwiches (Both beef and pork if available, and all eaten with slaw, which was ordered on the side.), four judges.
I know most people go for ribs, pulled pork, brisket, chicken or a ton of other things when they go to a barbecue restaurant, but screw that. BARBECUE BOLOGNA IS DELICIOUS AND DESERVES TO BE RESPECTED! I’ve been a fan for years and it’s time for the world to join me.
Like most of my ideas, things didn’t exactly go according to plan. All the sandwiches were gathered over the course of three hours and all judges were present. But so were adult beverages. When we all got together, we were hungry as hell and as the beer flowed, any formal judging criteria went out the window.
Right about the time the Barbecue Fest winners were being announced, we began sampling ¼ of each sandwich and picked our favorites. Of course, none of our votes were the same. And, naturally, I didn’t actually get a picture of each individual sandwich. Like I said, we were hungry and there was drank to be sipped. Priorities.
So, instead of announcing the true King of the Memphis Barbecue Bologna Universe, I present to you the Memphis Barbecue Bologna Blog O’ Appreciation.
Drink of Choice: Colt 45 (Gotta go with the malt liquor here.)
Drink of Choice: Bud Light
Drink of Choice: Fruit Punch Jungle Juice
(Standing in for THIS flaky scumbag, Marc)
Drink of Choice: Bud Light
4087 New Getwell Rd.
Beef Bologna – $4.29
Pork Bologna – $3.79
2265 S. Third St.
Beef Bologna – $3.25
“Regular” Bologna – $3
Cozy Corner Bar-B-Q
745 N. Pkwy.
Bologna – $3.75
2249 Central Ave.
Bologna – $3.99
The Bar-B-Q Shop
1782 Madison Ave.
Beef Bologna – $5.99
Leonard’s Pit Barbecue
5465 Fox Plaza Dr.
Bologna – $4
1802 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Bologna – $3.99
Mike: I went with Tom’s pork barbecue bologna sandwich. I freely admit Tom’s is my favorite barbecue joint in the entire city, but I didn’t let that (or the fact that those rib tips are SO EFFING GOOD) cloud my judgment. This bologna has great smoke flavor and I’m a big fan of Tom’s sauce. I heart this place.
Dion: The stunt double for World Wrestling Federation legend Slick chose Central’s barbecue bologna. He cited the sauce, which he said is the best he’s tasted in awhile, as well as the bun that’s used for the sandwich. He also barely made it through two sandwich pieces before claiming to be full. He was forced to try a bite of every single one, anyway.
Travis: Mr. Jungle Juice went with the Bar-B-Q Shop’s version of barbecue bologna. This one is unique because you can order it on Texas toast, which I did. He was particularly impressed with the sauce, which is definitely not as sweet as the others.
Marquette: The last-minute fill-in was a fan of both Interstate sandwiches, noting there was a certain spice to them that he enjoyed. Couldn’t choose between the two, so he picked them both.
The Final Verdict
So, we couldn’t agree on a true Ruler of the Memphis Barbecue Bologna Galaxy. What we did discover, however, is that this city has a ton of fantastic options if you’re looking for something other than the usual barbecue fare. There wasn’t a bad sandwich in the bunch. No matter if it’s served on white bread, a bun or Texas toast, the barbecue bologna in Memphis is tremendous. Do yourself a favor and visit one of these places or your own favorite if it serves this delicacy.
RESPECT BARBECUE BOLOGNA!