How do you define Memphis barbecue?
Traditionally, there's only one defining characteristic of Memphis barbecue, and that's pork. If you want to compete in Memphis barbecue, either at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, or in the smaller Memphis Barbecue Network circuit competitions, you can cook pork ribs, pork shoulder, or whole hog. But your main entry has to be pork. And although there are myriad ways to cook it, we (us Memphians) all agree to disagree on which way's the best.
To get some solid answers, I sat down with the owner of Memphis Barbeque Supply, Jimmy Shotwell, and listened to his take on some of the biggest debates in Memphis barbecue (you'll notice I spelled barbecue two different ways in this very sentence, and we'll address that later). Shotwell's company is a Memphis-area go-to purveyor of every barbecue implement imaginable and Shotwell will happily give you pointers when it comes down to making whatever approach you take a success.
Here are eight of the biggest barbecue debates in the Bluff City. Remember, there aren't firm right and wrong answers here. The best thing you can do is eat a lot of Memphis barbecue and decide for yourself.