Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Memphis Championship Barbecue (Las Vegas)

Memphis Championship Barbecue
4379 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV, 89115

Three years ago some friends and I were in Memphis for the Memphis in May "World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest." One afternoon we walked down to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks. It was truly one of the most unspectaular experiences of my life. I don't know why I expected anything more out of watching a bunch of ducks get on an elevator, but I did. (Although my friend Dave and I had an idea of finding an ethnic market where we could purchase a whole duck, head attached, and FedEx it to our animal-loving friend back in Pasadena with a bottle of Corky's BBQ sauce and a note reading "We caught one!", but that idea was discounted because, well, it would take time away from our beer drinking and barbecue eating itinerary.)

Anyway, after watching the ducks get on the elevator I went in to the Peabody gift shop and found Mike Mills's book, "Peace Love & Barbecue." It is hands-down the best book I have ever owned on the subject of barbecue, and I immediately made plans to eat at one his his Las Vegas restaurants. Unfotunately, I think I built up the restaurant too much in my mind, because it was a tremendous disappointment. Not only was the restaurant filthy, but the food was just average. I almost would rather have had a horrible meal so that I could write it off as a fluke, if that makes any sense. But I got the feeling that the food there is always average, and that they're okay with that.

My friend and I started with the appetizer sampler: pulled pork potato skins, chicken wings, onion straws, and fried pickles. Not one of these was of note. My friend had the hot links, mac & cheese, and green beans. I tried all of them and did not like them. I had the pulled pork sandwich. The slaw was good but the pork was dry and tasted several days old. The bun was harder than it should have been. The barbecue sauce, the same stuff you can buy at Whole Foods these days, is pretty good. But that's about it.

Maybe I didn't give the place a fair try because of my expectations. Or maybe it really is just average.

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