Across town is the Bar-B-Q Shop. A bar and grill tucked into a mostly residential block on Madison Avenue, it was quiet for lunch but would attract a crowd for dinner. The waiters knew to push their claim to fame: barbecue spaghetti, basically a sweet and meaty pasta Bolognese. Even after a week of solid barbecue, it was still a pleasure to eat, if a guilty one. Like Lexington’s chopped pork, Bar-B-Q Shop’s ribs were another high-wire act of flavors and textures. Sauce might have been the main draw in the Carolinas, but the Bar-B-Q Shop produces such a perfect rack of meat, sauce is rather unnecessary, almost unwelcome.
It was the end of our trip, but I wanted to keep driving west. To have a grand barbecue road trip that didn’t even enter Missouri or Texas … what would people say? It had begun to rain aggressively after we left the Bar-B-Q Shop, but I drove us out to the Memphis Riverfront. Parked in front of the Mississippi, I began to lay out Barbecue Road Trip Part 2 and the idea that maybe we should hit a few spots in Alabama? I mean, the state border is right there.
Mary Beth just smiled at me. I think she knew that after a week of barbecue, I was all talk, and once our last plate of ribs kicked in, I couldn’t manage much talking either. We were tired and we were full and all we really wanted to do was go home and get married. So we did.