Our 6th stop on the Memphis BBQ tour was Payne's. Payne's BBQ was established by Horton Payne in 1972. It is on the corner of Lamar and McLean in the Midtown/Cooper Young Area right across the street from Lil Gipson's Tires. It is operated by a mother and son duo, who showed wonderful southern hospitality. They even posed for pictures with us, the 'local' tourists.
We went to Payne's on Friday November 7, 2008.
My review: When we got there around 11:45 on Friday, the only other customers were a table of medical residents in their scrubs (Kelly you shoulda come, they were cute!). The menu was pretty simple. I got the chopped bbq sandwich. It was $3.50 and was a perfect meal. The other way to get it was sliced. I chose not to get the slaw, bc I don't care for it. This was the BEST bbq sandwich I have EVER had. The sauce was tangy, like a sweet and sour tart mix that was a perfect addition to the crunchy chopped yet not chewy meat. I did get them to put a mix of hot and mild on my sandwich. They only have drinks in cans for $.70 and only take cash, I had to borrow $2 from Courtney. After eating and being full Randy bought us a sausage (hot dog) for us to sample as well and it was delicious. Not very 'sausagey' but I would order it again. I will for sure be back to Payne's and recommend it to others. It was the least touristy of the ones we have been to and is the epitome of 'hole in the wall' in the most fabulous way possible. I brought Tony home the ribs. He didn't eat them until the next day and I got a nibble of one. They were beef ribs and were huge! I got him a half a slab for $10 and I cant imagine who would eat the full slab in a sitting. They had that same great sauce and were pretty good. I give Payne's a 5 for the sandwich, it was just the way I wanted it. Here is a picture of my perfect chopped bbq sandwich before and after.
Tony's Review: Kembree brought me a half slab of the ribs home. They were very big ribs, so at that point I knew they weren't pork. They were good, but the sauce was a little too sweet for me. I wish I coulda had them fresh off the grill, but I had to work in MS that day. I couldn't figure out how they were cooked, but would like to know. I would give them a 4.
Regina's Review: The most unusual sauce and beans I have ever had. The meat was perfect! The mustard slaw was quite tart and tasted best when combined with the meat.Linda and I tried to figure out the beans. There was definitely was a little pork in there, maybe fatback. I prefer less stuff and more beans.
Randy's Review: I really liked the barbecue, I would give it a 4. I didn't like the slaw bc it was mustard based.
The beans were not as good as the other places we have been. The hot sauce was better than the mild or medium bc it wasn't so sweet. This is for sure a 'to-go' to place, but the bathrooms were not clean.
Diane's Review: Although I didn't see the group. I met Randy and ate a sandwich after the group left..I got the sliced barbecue and I should have gotten the chopped. I an see how that would have been better. I didn't like the huge portions of the meat on the s
andwich that were sliced not pulled. I also was mediocre on the sauce. The worst were the restrooms. They were dirty and no soap. Randy said that the men's room was the same. I would not go back. If they have no pride in the cleanliness of the place, just imagine the food prep. So far Interstate for bbq was my favorite. I would give Payne's a 2.
The setting is quaint and very Memphis: an authentic garage is the dining room. I really felt like I was in the owner's kitchen,
and I liked that down-home, authentic of the restaurant. The barbecue sauces-mile or spicy, but not very spicy-were served directly from the saucepans in which they were prepared. My sliced barbecue was delicious: it was cooked flavourful through and through, and I did have a taste of the chewy, crusty meat around the edges. The cole slaw
was very unusual, as noted by my team, but I liked the tart, vinegar/mustard flavor, although my portion was soupy with too much sauce (or too little cabbage.) The beans were also unusual. As Regina mentioned, they were unexpectedly meaty, flavored with fatback I think. Mostly you could taste the pintos, and that was alright with me. Hands-down, what I liked best were the friendly smiles of the owner and her son, who served us (at the counter-no wait staff was there.) They are very proud of their products. What I didn't like was eating off a Styrofoam tray-although it did make it easy to travel home with the unfinished large portions. I rate Payne's a 2.8. All in all, I'd return there, though after ready about the restrooms, I might get my food to go!
Courtney's Review: I agree with Linda's impression of the family atmosphere and the friendlessness of the owners. I hated to hear about the condition of the restrooms. They don't have to be fancy but they need to be CLEAN! I loved my pulled pork sandwich. The combination of the tender meat and the flavor and texture of the 'outside' meat was perfect. I mixed the mild and the hot sauces and loved the result...not to hot, not to sweet. I would definitely come back here but like Linda, probably get my food to go.