PHOTO: Central BBQ stands out for its pork plate, among other dishes. (photo via Flickr/Sean Davis)
A true Memphis, Tennessee experience includes barbecue and lots of it. After all, they don't call it the BBQ Capital of the World for nothing.
Memphis is home to some of the best barbecue joints in the U.S. serving up everything from tasty classics like pulled pork and ribs to lesser-known dishes like barbecued Cornish hen and spaghetti.
While it's tough to go wrong when touring Memphis' beloved barbecue stops, there are a few items you'll definitely want to get your hands and mouth on before you leave.
Pork Plate at Central BBQ
When in Memphis, visiting Central BBQ is a must. There's plenty of delicious smoked meats to choose from, but the pork plate is a no-brainer. The pork shoulders here are rubbed down with a dry hot rub and smoked for more than 14 hours. If you prefer your meat heavily smoked, request extra "bark" with your plate.
Dip your pork into one of Central BBQ's signature sauces for an even more flavorful experience.
Pork Sandwich at Payne's
Next, head over to Payne's Bar-B-Que for the city's best barbecue chopped pork sandwich. The scrumptious pork boasts an ideal combination of moist and crispy meat and is complemented by flavorful sauce and coleslaw.
The only downside is Payne's limited hours. It's closed on Sunday and Monday and you'll have to get there before 5 p.m. to enjoy one of their famous pork sandwiches, which are a hot commodity.
Ribs at A&R
The best ribs in Memphis can be found at A&R Bar-B-Que. You won't have any trouble separating the meat from the bone and the crunchy "bark" outside goes extremely well with the tender and smoky meat on the inside. The rib tips here are also stellar.
The dry-rubbed ribs at Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous should also be high on your list.
READ MORE: 72 Hours in Memphis
Cornish Hen at Cozy Corner
The signature dinner plate at Cozy Corner is the barbecued Cornish hen—a succulent hybrid chicken that comes served with bread and a pair of sides.
"Cooked to a delectable brown, zesty crust and juicier than any chicken, the hen is one of the most popular non-pork barbecue options in Memphis," writes TravelPulse's Rosalind Cummings-Yeates, who recently broke down the six best barbecue joints in Memphis.
After digging into these four dishes you'll want to extend your trip just to try them all.