The first time I visited Nashville, I asked the first person I interacted with as I got off the plane where was the best place to get ribs. His answer was short but meaningful: “Memphis.” It was my mistake to assume the state’s two biggest cities would have similar pride in their barbeque acumen, and now I know that even within the state of Tennessee, Memphis is recognized as the place to go for barbecue. (For the record, I ended up delving into another regional specialty at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken in Nashville.)
While the barbecue debate may be settled in Tennessee, there is one regional barbecue-related issue that the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds will attempt to resolve this weekend: wet ribs or dry rub? The team will wear two different specialty jerseys, playing Friday, August 20, as the Wet Ribs and Saturday, August 21, as the Dry Rubs against who else but the Nashville Sounds. (Maybe we’ll see the Sounds play as the Hot Chickens some day?)
The great barbecue debate essentially boils down to sauce (wet) versus spices (dry), and fans will have to pick a side. Per the team, “All fans at the game on Saturday, Aug. 21 will have their choice of giveaway from a sample of Memphis Redbirds Signature Rub or Sauce.” Logos for the two varieties are similar, with the Wet Rubs featuring a slightly drippier version.
The weekend’s festivities will feature barbecue competitions and an appearance by seven-time World BBQ Champion and Owner of Memphis Barbecue Company Melissa Cookston.