This blog is devoted to highlighting restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Double J Smokehouse & Saloon

As Good As Rendezvous (without the wait)

At the urging of my friends, I got around to paying a couple of visits to the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon. Everyone I talked to had great things to say about the barbecue, particularly the dry rub ribs. Although I'm not a fan of dry rub, a recent visit to Jack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack slightly changed my opinion. So, I decided to give Double J a try. With one of the owners (and pit master) being a former chef at Bardog Tavern, I figured the food would be decent at the very least. Double J was all that and more.


Thanks to Carl Haberly for taking this photo. I've got to get a camera phone with a flash.

During my first visit, I ordered a half of slab of baby back ribs with fries and grilled asparagus. The smoke-infused ribs were basted in dry rub seasoning that was charred onto the meat, giving the ribs a slightly burnt taste, in a good way. However, the ribs weren't overcooked and were perfectly tender. Eating them was a pleasure and next to Jack's, Double J's dry rub ribs were the best that I recently had.

The "sides" that I had went really well with the ribs. The fries were good, although they're nothing out of the ordinary. However, the grilled asparagus was great. The asparagus was tender with a nice smoke flavor. I don't know if the asparagus was roasted in Double J's smoker, but if so then the cooking staff did an excellent job in preparing it. I also detected a bit of butter on them, making the asparagus even better. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm glad I chose it.


For my second visit, I chose the shoulder and rib combo with coleslaw and baked beans. The pork shoulder, like the dry rub ribs, was perfectly smoked while retaining its juiciness. Although the pork shoulder was pretty good by itself, the vinegar-based barbecue sauce gave it a nice boost in flavor. The sauce that Double J uses is different from the tomato-based sauces that most Memphis restaurants serve, which for me is a nice change of pace. I wasn't quite as impressed with the baked beans, but nonetheless were a good complement to the rest of the meal. Overall, my second visit to the Double J was just as good as the first one.

After making two visits to the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, I came away with a very good impression of the place. And unlike better known dry rub barbecue joints like Rendezvous, I didn't have to wait for a table (actually, I ate both meals at the bar). And as I said before, the dry rub ribs were the best I had outside of Jack's Bar-B-Q Rib Shack. While I still will never be a fan of dry rub, I will always appreciate good food no matter what it is.

UPDATE (March 28, 2014): Double J also makes great hamburgers. I discovered this a couple of years ago when I had its special Cinco de Mayo Burger on one of America's unofficial holidays for drinking. The cheeseburger made an impression that got it on my best burger list on a probationary basis. Recently, I had the Double J Burger that solidified its place on the list at #24. It's there because of its smoked ground beef that's seasoned with dry rub for a unique taste that should make the owners of Tops jealous. It's a one-of-a-kind burger that's worthy of praise. Of course, this is another reason to dine at Double J's.

Website: www.doublejsmokehouse.com

Double J Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

LabelsBarbecue, Burgers, Downtown, Steaks



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1 comments:

  1. AS GOOD AS RENDEVOUS....ME and my wife ate there on a saturday afternoon all I can say was that it was horrible. The ribs were cold and burnt. The barbecue sandwiches tasted like rubber and I don't mean rubbery I mean like tastes rubbery as if you were chewing on an eraser. All in all the worst barbecue I have ever tasted. I will not go there ever again. Now Neely's on Stateline Rd. in Southhaven MS has great barbecue. Rendezvous was terrible

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