Nashville: Peg Leg Porker Captures the Memphis BBQ Magic
by Alan Cornett
One of the voices I respect when it comes to barbecue is Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughn. So when I saw his opinion about Nashville’s Peg Leg Porker it certainly got my attention: “The best Memphis-style dry rub ribs in the country are in Nashville.”
That’s not a mild claim. Since I’m married to a Memphis belle, I’ve had my share of Memphis dry rub over the years, and I also know how jealously Memphians guard their claim to barbecue superiority.
Memphis dry rub ribs come to you just as advertised–no sauce attached. The dry rub is “rubbed” into the raw meat prior to smoking and a vinegar based mop sauce is applied as baste during smoking. After the ribs come out some rub is sprinkled on the finished ribs. When they arrive at your table the traditional barbecue sauce is served to the side, to be applied (or not) at the discretion of the eater.
My family was traveling to Nashville this summer and any trip of ours involves planning food stops. Peg Leg Porker immediately moved to the top of the priority list.
We arrived a little off peak hours (as often happens for me) in Nashville’s hip Gulch District on the edge of downtown. The interior had the right barbecue vibe. And while the line to order was short when we arrived, the restaurant was largely full. I’m sure the crowds can get sizable.
Placing the order with the friendly and chatty young lady at the counter went smoothly. The food arrived quickly, as it ought to with barbecue–either the barbecue is ready or it’s not. Of course, we got the ribs.
And we were glad we did.
The big slab had that right Memphis dry rub look. The taste? Memphis through and through. As tasty as they were, the ribs didn’t last long.
I do have to throw in an extra endorsement for the potato salad. Sides with barbecue are no small matter, and while the beans were perfectly fine, the Peg Leg potato salad without question stole the (side)show.
There’s no question Peg Leg Porker has successfully captured the Memphis magic. Is it even better than the barbecue you can find in Bluff City itself? I’m not yet willing to go that far, but Peg Leg Porker will certainly make you feel like it’s not worth the three hour drive down I-40 for the difference.
Peg Leg Porker
903 Gleaves Street
Monday – Tuesday: 11 AM – 9 PM
Wednesday – Saturday: 11 AM – 10 PM