Top 11 BBQ Restaurants in East Memphis, Tennessee | Summer Avenue Location

We know finding the best place to get your barbecue fix can be difficult, so we put together this detailed list of the best of the best BBQ Restaurants in East Memphis so you can make your choice wisely.  Each East Memphis BBQ location gives its patrons a unique grilled experience that you should be sure to check out on your next visit! If you know another barbecue location that should also be included in our list – or one that should be removed – please let us know!

1. Elwood’s Shack

4523 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122, United States

About: Elwood’s Shack was founded in January 2013. They are known for their great fresh food made from scratch. 

This is such a cool little spot. The name is so fitting because it truly reminds you of a shack. It might be small and cute but it will make you feel right at home from the Elvis decor and the Memphis flare. The fresh smell of Barbecue brought right at home will surely satisfy your appetite.


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2. Central BBQ – Summer,

4375 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122, United States

About: Memphis is known for its excellent barbecue. Since its start in 2002, Central BBQ has been voted Memphis’ best BBQ restaurant. What are the keys to Central’s success?

“Smoke is Our Sauce,” you might have heard them say. That’s because they live in the world’s hardwood capital, and they use hickory and pecan woods, as well as their intricate dry rub and a lot of patience, to create the most tender, delicious piece of meat you’ve ever tasted— sauce or no sauce.

They assume that without great hospitality, even the best food would fall flat. They will treat anyone who is hungry for BBQ with the same kindness with which they will serve their closest mates.

They take their BBQ very seriously around here, but that’s where the seriousness ends. They invite their guests to relax, get messy, and most importantly, enjoy their time with the whole staff at Central BBQ.


3. One & Only BBQ

567 Perkins Extd, Memphis, TN 38117, United States

About: Joel Banes and Alan Katzen made two very significant decisions in the summer of 2011 at their weekly poker game: to form a partnership and to purchase a small BBQ restaurant in East Memphis on Kirby Pkwy, which is now known as One & Only BBQ. Joel and Alan shared a vision of a great little BBQ joint that not only served some of the best tasting Memphis-style BBQ, but also treated customers like royalty! Since the company expanded so rapidly, they quickly outgrew the Kirby Pkwy location and opened a new One & Only BBQ on Perkins Ext.

At each of our locations, they smoke their meats everyday with 100 percent hickory wood. Whole bone-in pork shoulders are seasoned and smoked for 15 hours. Before serving their guests, their fresh poultry, chicken, and turkey are marinated, smoked, and lightly seasoned. They serve Chicago-made rope polish Kielbasa, and they think you will understand why once you try it. Before being hickory smoked and grilled, their pork baby back ribs are marinated for 24 hours.


4. Corky’s Ribs & BBQ

5259 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119, United States

About: Corky’s BBQ specializes in Memphis-style slow-cooker barbecued beef and ribs. To cook meats at low temperatures, the restaurant uses both open and closed barbecue pits with hickory chips and charcoal. Pork shoulder, ham, bacon, beef brisket, tamales, and spaghetti are among the items on the menu. Fries, cole slaw, baked beans, and potato salad are available as side dishes at Corky’s BBQ.

Fudge pie and peach cobbler are two of the restaurant’s desserts. It caters special activities for corporations, churches, colleges, and civic groups, as well as selling party packs and bulk pieces. Barn wood walls, neon signs, polished brass, and aged brick adorn the interiors of Corky’s establishments. The restaurant, which has two locations in Memphis, was founded in 1984.

5. The Bar-B-Q Shop

1782 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104, United States

About: Brady & Lil’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant was the forerunner to The Bar-B-Q Shop. Barbecue and pasta were two of Brady Vincent’s favorite foods. Before retiring in 1981, Mr. Brady taught Frank and Hazelteen Vernon the basics of cooking and preparing barbecue.

Six years later, the Vernon family renamed the business The Bar-B-Q Shop. Since its modest beginnings, The Bar-B-Q Shop has amassed a devoted following that has done everything possible to make them not only a Midtown favorite, but also a local town favorite. They were able to grow the restaurant to twice its original size thanks to word of mouth, loyalty, and the support of their customers.

Long-time customers have always been respected at the Bar-B-Q Shop. They are often referred to as family and serve as inspiration for the whole team to continue doing such a great job.

6. Payne’s Bar-B-Que

1762 Lamar Ave, Memphis, TN 38114, United States

About: Flora Payne never saw herself in charge of a barbecue joint. When her husband, Horton Payne, died tragically in 1984, his wife, along with his mother, Emily Payne, co-founder of the restaurant, took over. The name ‘Horton’ is still prominently written on the bright-red awning of the house.

Flora and her son Ron have preserved many of Horton and Emily Payne’s exclusive flourishes. In a recessed pit set into the wall, the pork shoulders are still turned over hickory coals. On the grill, the mild sauce simmers all afternoon. An old liquid soap bottle is used to dispense the spicier variety. Coleslaw is a bright green color that sizzles energetically between the meat and bun of a chopped pork sandwich.


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7. BallHoggerz BBQ

1404 Airways Blvd, Memphis, TN 38114, United States

About: BallHoggerz BBQ first opened its doors in 2014. This bbq’s delicious coleslaw, chicken leg, and bbq sandwiches are the secret to its success. Many tourists come to sample the delicious sweet potato pie, banana pies, and banana pudding on offer. BallHoggerz’ slogan is “affordable rates for delicious meals.” This is where you’ll find the cool atmosphere. This location received a 4.5 rating from Google users.


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8. Big Bill’s Bar-Be-Que

2857 Kirby Rd Suite 119, Memphis, TN 38119, United States

About: Big Bill’s Barbecue specializes in down-home, backyard-style Memphis barbecue, among other things. Come in for full service or curbside service in a welcoming setting. You may visit their two Memphis locations – East Memphis and Whitehaven.

9. A&R Bar-B-Que LLC

1802 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38106, United States

About: A&R Bar-B-Q began as a fast food take-out restaurant in 1983, founded by Andrew and Rose Pollard. It expanded over time, offering customers the option of dining in or catering. When the business first opened, it only had a limited menu of barbeque and hamburgers, and it only served walk-in customers. However, as the company shifted to dining-in, the restaurant grew.

For the huge lunch crowds now served on a daily basis, a seating area with a capacity of 75-80 people was added. The Latrice Pollard-Anthony Room is often widely used by large groups and private parties. Catering was quickly added to the menu of offerings, and it now accounts for about a third of the company’s sales.

A second site, 3721 Hickory Hill Rd., opened in 2001 to serve the rapidly expanding Hickory Hill-East Memphis customer base. In the Memphis area, there are now two restaurants that serve hundreds of people every day.


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10. Ty’s Smokehouse

7174 Stage Rd #101, Bartlett, TN 38133, United States

About: Ty’s Smokehouse opened in 2013 with a single purpose in mind: to introduce old-school bar-b-que to Bartlett. What motivates them is their love of healthy food and great barbeque.

Ty’s, which is locally owned and run, will not let you down. “To serve great Bar B Que at a fair price and to greet everyone with a smile,” is their goal.


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11. Leonard’s Pit Barbecue

5465 Fox Plaza Dr, Memphis, TN 38115, United States

About: It was 1922, and it was widely regarded as the start of Memphis’ love affair with pit-smoked barbecue. For it was in this year that Leonard Heuberger set up his five-stool stand and began selling his invention, a barbecue sandwich, for five cents. He couldn’t keep up with demand, and his small start quickly grew into the largest drive-in restaurant in the country. People came from far and wide to gorge themselves on Leonard’s famous pit-cooked ribs and pork shoulders. The “King” was one of the regulars. Elvis would invite his friends to late-night parties that lasted until dawn.

The old drive-in is no longer open, and Leonard Heuberger has passed away, but the time-consuming recipes that made Leonard’s so special are still being prepared under the supervision of Dan Brown, the owner. Dan began working at Leonard’s as a sandwich man when he was 15 years old. Heuberger recognized Dan’s passion for the restaurant industry and led him through every phase of Leonard’s legacy. Now, nearly half a century later, Dan, his wife Janet, and a slew of long-serving employees continue to oversee regular restaurant seatings, tour bus parties, and catering with the same meticulous attention that has made Leonard’s a barbecue mecca for over 85 years.


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