For months now, every Sunday morning folks have lined up in lawn chairs in front of a small aluminum food truck. What were they patiently waiting in line for? Bryant Bain’s Texas-style barbecue.
Tender brisket, meaty fall-off-the-bone ribs and Instagram-worthy “Dino” beef ribs are just a few of the items that have created an almost cult-like following for Bain Barbecue.
Bain Barbecue debuted March 28. The new food truck originally was parked at the corner of Central Avenue and was open only on Sunday. Initially, service would start at 11 a.m. and, on most days, the barbecue was sold out by 1:30 p.m.
In April, Bain Barbecue moved to 2471 Broad Ave., and in June, Bain expanded his days and hours of operation. Now open Tuesday through Sunday for both lunch and dinner, you no longer have to get in line before opening to ensure you get your order. Picnic tables have been added to provide an onsite eating option.
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Bryant Bain is the pitmaster behind Bain Barbecue. Bain took a flat-bed trailer, placed a smoker on it and then built everything around it. He said the custom-built food truck is his first step toward his goal of eventually owning a barbecue restaurant.
Bain makes the Texas-style barbecue he grew up on outside Houston. “The barbecue leans more heavily to a Texan-style, but I lean more toward Memphis with my sauce. It’s a sweeter sauce,” he said.
The menu features brisket, ribs and pulled pork sandwiches. Specialty items like beef ribs, smoked mac-n-cheese and original over-the-top barbecue sandwiches round out the offerings.
Some might ask why open a Texas-style barbecue in a town renowned worldwide for its unique style of barbecue. But I am pleased to report, Bain has pulled it off.
Last week, I stopped by on a Wednesday to pick up dinner for my family. I couldn’t decide what to order, so the cashier suggested the sampler. At $80, it was an expensive commitment. But it was worth it. The sampler did give me a taste of everything. I was told it was meant to feed four, but I honestly think it could have fed six easily, if not more.
The brisket lived up to the hype. Fork-tender, it had a delicious flavor and a bark I couldn’t stop picking pieces from.
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The pulled pork reminded me of the competition pork shoulder I have gotten to taste at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Juicy and tender chunks of pork that almost melt in your mouth.
The ribs were meatier than I was used to. Bain told me that he uses full spare ribs, which means it’s a St. Louis cut with the rib tips still attached. Most Memphis barbecue restaurants use baby back ribs, which have less meat and less marbling. These ribs were perfectly cooked, tender and pulled right from the bone.
I was even wowed by the smoked turkey that came on the sampler.
A small container of each of the sides came with the sampler. The smoked mac-n-cheese was the first thing to be devoured. I was also a fan of the potato salad. It’s a flavorful old-school Southern-style potato salad with eggs in it. The pinto beans, which Bain told me was a favorite of his, had a hint of smokiness to them. I could tell when I opened the container that the slaw was made from scratch.
No matter what you order, don’t forget to pick up some containers of Bain Barbecue’s house-made sauce. There is a Texas sauce and a mustard sauce. I love both.
I would recommend the sampler for feeding a group. It’s a great way to get introduced to Bain’s Barbecue.
You can also order meats by the half pound. Sides are available as single servings, by the quart or by the half-sheet pan.
A variety of over-the-top sandwiches are available as well. For example, “The Mane” is a meat-lovers sammie piled high with brisket, pulled pork and smoked sausage. Sandwiches come Memphis-style with slaw or Texas-style with pickles and onions. The person before me in line ordered a sandwich with everything on it. When the server handed him the sandwich, she warned him it was almost too big for the container so be careful opening it. “That’s a good problem, isn’t it?” she joked.
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I am also super curious about the “Dino” ribs. These Texas-style beef ribs are an occasional special. Bain posts on social media when he is making them and they sell out quickly.
And one more thing: Save room for the banana pudding. Bain told me that his banana pudding was not to be missed, and he was right. His creamy, light version is the perfect finale.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
At a glance
Where: 2471 Broad Ave.
Hours: 11-1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. until sold out Tuesday-Sunday