In January of 1999, George Siu and Park Hffelfinger of Vancouver food scene fame, had a stopover in Memphis while flying home from New Orleans. Lunch was a pulled pork sandwich, and it was love at first bite.
Since then they have attended BBQ competitions and done their research. They were able to reproduce the recipes at home, and decided to bring authentic Southern BBQ to Canada.
This is the second review that I am listing for “The Great BBQ Roundup”. I am a KCBS certified BBQ judge and have taken a Pitmaster’s BBQ class from one of Canada’s best, Rob Reinhardt. I LOVE Southern BBQ and can’ t wait to plan a trip to the US to judge my way through BBQ competitions. Canada’s best is pretty damn tasty and has given me a bit of a bias towards apple wood smoking. I just adore that sweet, smoky flavour that is brought out in the meat.
Memphis Blues is a franchise. There are currently 3 locations in Edmonton. Being a franchise means that the original restaurant’s recipes and procedures need to be duplicated over and over again. This has got to be difficult, almost next to impossible when it comes to Southern BBQ. There are certain tricks that each Pitmaster has up their sleeve that are really hard to replicate, especially the love.
The reviews for the original restaurant in Vancouver are raving. Vancouver loves Memphis Blues. I am reviewing the Memphis Blues franchise located in Millwoods.
The menu is typical Southern BBQ fare, right down to the brewed tea and corn bread. I am keeping things fair by reviewing the Brisket sandwich at each of Edmonton’s BBQ locations.
I always try to taste a piece that is “naked” to see what the flavor is like without all the BBQ sauce slathered on the meat. This one was unfortunately on the bland side. I didn’t taste any smoke flavor. Brisket should also pull apart easily, this was a little tough. After you slather some sauce on there and shove it in the bun, it is edible, but I was disappointed.
My husband let me try a sliver of his catfish. It was mushy. The taste was great, just the texture was not.
Each Pitmaster is going to vary according to location. Memphis Blues at least smokes on site. If you don’t see a smoker when you walk in, chances are the meat is smoked somewhere else, frozen and shipped. Pitmasters have their good days and bad days as well. Not every brisket is going to turn out the same.
Will I go back to this location. Probably not. Was it awful? No, but I have had better.