Two Hours Down the Road from Memphis, Bishops BBQ Grill is Serving What Might Just Be the Best Ribs in America
by Catherine Shannon Ballman
Those are dangerous words to utter, BBQ being a subject of impassioned beliefs and fervent debates. But, should you find yourself in Tupelo, MS, (hometown to Elvis Presley) drop everything and get thee to Bishops BBQ.
Their ribs are quite simply perfect. Sweet and tender, smokey and juicy, these ribs pack so much flavor into a half rack that you’ll be going back to claim the other half.
The ribs are given a dry rub and then placed on the smoker for the long, slow cook. If the diner wants to gild that particular lily, sauces are served on the side, with choices of Jazzy, Sweet Hickory and just plain Hot.
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This isn’t fancy food, it’s authentic food. Uniquely American, BBQ travels in style, shaping itself to the meats and woods found across North America as it wandered up from the Caribbean to the Carolinas and Virginia and through the rest of the country.
In Kentucky, mutton is the meat de rigueur. In Texas, it’s all beef. And at Bishops BBQ in Tupelo, Mississippi, ribs take center stage.
People new to America mash-up barbecue with their native dishes. In Minnesota, for example, the Hmong people from southeast Asia cook up some tasty short ribs.
Lah-di-dah ‘que is a thing beloved by hipsters far and wide. Words like “artisan” and “chef-crafted” decorate menu descriptions everywhere. There’s even barbecue for vegetarians.
But for a taste of the real deal, Bishop’s BBQ Grill may have set the standard.
Besides the lip-smacking ribs, the tiny store at 1100 West Main St. serves up heaping amounts of pulled pork dressed up with coleslaw sandwiches, pulled chicken, brisket and all the accouterment to lip-smacking acclaim. Fried dill pickles and cornmeal hush puppies are apt go-alongs and the banana pudding is just like Mom used to make with Nilla Wafers.
Bishops BBQ Locations
Bishop’s BBQ Grill in Tupelo is two hours down the road from Memphis. You can also find them in Belden, Booneville, and Saltillo, MS.
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