7th place in Shoulder

“The Moody Ques are competing in Best Microwave Popcorn this year.”

“Best Booth? So you guys are a decorating team competing in a cooking contest?”

“There are 55 teams competing in Shoulder this year, so somehow the Moody Ques will find a way to finish 56th.”

Those are some of the jokes that have been hurled our way since the Moody Ques formed in 2012. We’ve won non-cooking awards at BBQ Fest, and we’ve won cooking awards at regionals, but up until this year a BBQ Fest cooking trophy has eluded us. Something always seemed to come up and trash our score – cooker not holding temperature, ash not being properly cleaned out. Even something as picky as a serving table not being the right size could cost us points on presentation. We had to look all the way back to 2008, when our predecessor team the Ques Brothers took 3rd in Shoulder, to remember what a BBQ Fest cooking trophy looked like.

About 4:30 yesterday I was standing in our booth when I heard our treasurer Misty scream. A BBQ Fest ambassador had just handed her a letter saying we need to be at the awards ceremony at 6:30, because we were going to receive a trophy. The drought had come to an end!

We threw beer and Jello shots in our cart and headed to the stage. They started the Shoulder awards at number 10. Every time they announced a team and it wasn’t us, we cheered. Movin’ on up like George Jefferson!

Finally it was time for Ron Childers to call our name. “In seventh place in the Shoulder division, The Moody Ques!”

I am so excited. We have finally come up with a winning recipe. When I say that, I don’t mean just the meat. I mean, the overall organization of the team. We had no problem recruiting members, plus we had great sponsors and a lead on another one for 2019. Our T-shirts were on point. We had great music and a great bartender. There was no drama in the booth at all, highly unusual for any BBQ team. Our booth was packed on Thursday and Friday night. People were raving about the food, especially the smoked ham that was served for dinner Friday.

Congratulations to all my teammates on a strong year. I can’t wait for 2019.

Sorry the blog has been lacking in posts this week. I’m just dead tired. I’ll pick it back up the next day or two.

BBQ Fest Day 1: Wednesday

The first public day of BBQ Fest, no longer Friends & Family Night, has come and gone. We already have one achievement of which I am quite proud:

Koozies! I have wanted these for a while. For one thing, I go out to a lot of places selling PBR in cans or bottles. I have been missing out on opportunities to promote the team! I also got tired of seeing our team members carrying around other teams’ koozies. So I got our vice-president to pull the trigger on a koozie order 2 weeks ago. Teammates, find me in the booth to get yours if you haven’t already.

Yesterday was “The Misty Show” for sure as we got the booth in order. Her attention to detail is why the booth was such in good shape by the time guests started arriving at 5. We appreciate all she does for the team and the free entertainment she gives us along the way.

A couple of weeks ago we had a taco bar at work for Cinco de Mayo. Well, last night was Sesenta de Mayo for the Moody Ques.

Tortillas and chips. Shout out to the cook team for having both flour and corn tortillas.

Pork shoulder

Pico de gallo

“Redneck caviar”

Aaron’s banana pudding. I didn’t get a photo of Laura’s chocolate chip brownies but they were delicious as well.

Team shirts for this year

Special thanks to DSV for coming on board as our main sponsor. Great to have you with us!

Putting the finishing touches on our Prague astronomical clock booth design

In the background you can see the 30-foot air conditioned rig our cook team is using this year.

Back to the park for BBQ Fest Thursday. This tends to be the most fun day because our cook team isn’t preparing the championship meat yet and the amateurs wait until Friday to come. One note: We have 55 team members and our booth capacity is 120 (70 down, 50 up). We will hit capacity at the peak times and the fire marshal will order us to stop letting people in. If I can’t let you in immediately I promise you it is nothing personal.

Quick stop at Bardog then back to the park.

A look at the 409 S. Main South Main Market food hall

Last Sunday I had brunch at Pontotoc Lounge at what the locals call D-RANKS with B-RAD. I had the pleasure of meeting Pedro Velazquez of the Memphis Latin Porkers, a hog team at BBQ Fest. Pedro is also one of the people renovating 64 S. Main into a one-stop health shop and restaurant. After Pontotoc several of us headed south to the food hall at 409 S. Main where I took some photos.

Check out the food hall if you haven’t already. Excited to see this concept come to Memphis.

Back to D-RANKS with B-RAD this morning to show him my new team T-shirt. I don’t have team bag pickup duty today so I may walk down to Tom Lee Park and see what’s going on at our booth.

Saturday update

I’ll start off this post with the funniest question I have been asked in a bar at a while. This happened a couple of weeks ago. A guy came up to me and said, “So I guess you’re a huge Star Wars fan, aren’t you?”

“Well, I’ve seen all the movies, and most of them were really good,” I replied. “But I don’t know if I would call myself a huge fan. Why do you ask?”

He said, “Well, isn’t that Yoda you have standing on the bar?”

The Memphis River Parks Partnership will not re-open the restaurant in Beale Street Landing this year. Instead, the restaurant area will be used as a community gathering space.

Speaking of which, the monthly Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting will be at Beale Street Landing on Tuesday, May 22. Free for members, $10 non-members. Complimentary wine and beer bar. 6:00 social, 6:30 presentation by a panel of Memphis grillers. Hey DNA, if you’re looking to fill spots on the panel, I can send the Deputy Director of Public Relations of my BBQ team (pictured above) over.

Tonight is Grit ‘n Good Luck Night at AutoZone Park. The Redbirds are in the NBA draft lottery spirit and have partnered with the Memphis Grizzlies for several promotions tonight. First 5000 fans in the gate (gates at 5 PM, first pitch 6:35) will get a magnet. Postgame there will be launch-a-ball for the chance to win a meet-and-greet with the Grizzlies’ draft pick (just think – YOU could win the chance to meet the Hasheem Thabeet of this decade!) Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will throw the first pitch and there will be performances by Grizzlies entertainment groups. There’s a Grit ‘n Good Luck ticket package that gets you into tonight’s game, the annual Grit ‘n Grind Night on August 17, and a ticket to the Grizzlies 2018-19 season home opener.

The Center for Southern Folklore hosts An Evening with Zeke Johnson tonight. Come hear Zeke play the blues and tell blues stories. It’s a free show but donations are accepted.

Info for my vegetarian readers:

The silent disco phenomenon comes to Club 152 tonight as Hush Silent International Party takes over the third floor. DJ Dnyce, DJ Rice and DJ Static will battle for your attention. “Come vibe to one of the most diverse crowd that you’ll ever come across while jamming to Afro-beats, Dancehall, Hip-Hop, Salsa, Soca, Reggae, Zouk & Habesha not forgetting old school classicals for our 70’s and 80’s fans in the house.”

Moody Ques teammates: Those peanut butter cookies from the bakery in Kennett, Missouri will be back Friday. Even if you are a “I don’t eat sweets” kind of person, this is cause to make an exception.

Off for a day of BBQ team work. Got to check with our Thursday-Friday bartender to make sure she has everything she needs, then I’m off to do team bag handout duty. Posts will be erratic the next 8 days, but I will try to be back tomorrow with more news.


New Caribbean restaurant and more Friday news

As I was driving to work this morning, I noticed a sign for a new restaurant called Curry n Jerk in the old Lolo’s Table location on Monroe next to McEwen’s. I did a little research and found the restaurant’s website. They will have an authentic Caribbean menu with a full bar. Should be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

Drink-n-Draw returns to the Ghost River taproom tonight at 7. It’s a night of fun, drawing games, and gold-spray-painted prizes hosted by Eric C and DJ Carla Worth. It’s $5 to draw and they will supply everything you need.

Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour comes to the Orpheum tonight at 6. In this interactive concert experience, you can sing along with Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Sofia The First, Puppy Dog Pals, Elena of Avalor, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and The Lion Guard. Damn! I may have to ask if I can leave work early so I can be first in line for a ticket!

Get Sweet on Mom is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Load up on breakfast items for mom, as well as supplies to cook her Mother’s Day Sunday dinner. Flowers and a gift from the Market will make your Mother’s Day complete. Kids can make a card for Mom at the crafts station. Live local music all day long. The Market runs from 8 AM to 1 PM every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it’s my pleasure to link you to this Daily News article about The Edge Motor Museum, a new automotive history museum planned for 645 Marshall. Given that the neighborhood known as The Edge was the original auto row in Memphis, this is the perfect place to locate such a museum.

High Ground News has been putting out some great stuff this week, including

Yes I saw there was an announcement about 100 N. Main. There has been so much speculation about that building that has never come to pass that I refuse to post about 100 N. Main until I see real, physical ACTION.

I had my first visit to Genghis Grill yesterday, where you select raw ingredients, spices, veggies and sauce from a buffet and then hand your bowl to a chef to make Mongolian BBQ style. It was my first visit to Mongolian BBQ place in 18 years and I had nearly forgotten what to do.

I decided to build a chicken bowl with Cajun, garlic, and hot spices and sauces. The server was real sweet showing me how to order. My bowl was not bad, although I want to go back and try again sometime soon.

Not next week though, when I’ll be focusing on a different type of BBQ! My BBQ Fest vacation starts at 5 today and my BBQ Fest work begins at 1 tomorrow at the first of three sessions handing out team bags. Weather is looking HOT for next week! I tell you, though, I will take a BBQ Fest with temps in the 90s over one with temps in the 50s anytime! Higher temps tend to bring out the better-dressed women, if you get my drift.

A bonus BBQ Fest condition: no stale jokes about “chubs,” charcoal, or “the meat sweats” this year!

Sources I follow on Twitter indicate that news is going to be breaking bad for the Trump White House over the weekend.

This is my second post since lunchtime yesterday, so if this is your first visit here today, keep scrolling… I visited the new Sleep Out Louie’s last night and took some photos. Back tomorrow with more news.

First look at Sleep Out Louie’s: Big space, good menu, welcoming staff; domestic beer prices high

My first home away from home, post-moving Downtown in 2002, was Sleep Out Louie’s. The lawyers’ bar at 88 Union was my spot and my initial entry into the Downtown crew. Between Fish Races, Pam & Terry, Charlie Wood, Steak Night and more we had a great, great time there for many years. So I was happy to hear Sleep Out’s made a comeback this week, in a new location next door to Texas de Brazil on Second.

The menu (click for a larger size). The manager went through the menu with me and it is clear that they plan on delivering some quality food at a very reasonable price point.

The PBR was $4 a can. They told me they’re going to have some great mixed drink specials, and that they’re going to have some great domestic beer specials on happy hour. That’s good news. But if I start somewhere else and come to your bar at 8 PM, I’m paying $4 a PBR? That’s a dollar a beer more than several bars a block away and you know it. Perhaps you could get away with $3.50 because of your legacy among those of us who remember you. But $4? Just because you manage other bars on Beale doesn’t mean you can charge similar prices in the Downtown core and expect to get away with it.

I did have the pleasure of seeing throwback (not old) regulars from the former location. In our 40s and our hair is all real, what more can you ask for?

If you go this weekend, they don’t have their liquor license yet and are still getting beer deliveries, so don’t fault them for that. Give what they do have a try. Menu looks good and very reasonably priced. Fix the costs of domestic beers and you could have a winner.

Nine Inch Nails to come to the Orpheum + Thursday news

Nine Inch Nails with special guest The Jesus and Mary Chain have been announced for a Monday, September 24 Orpheum show. Tickets will be available Saturday, May 19 during the Physical World Presale at the Halloran Centre, 10 AM to 3 PM. In-person sales only. No one will be allowed to line up before 6 PM. Engadget explains why there will be on online ticket sales in an attempt to stop scalpers.

Man, it would suck to be both a huge Nine Inch Nails fan and a cook on a BBQ team. The 19th is judging and presentation day for the main categories.

Memphis in May presents One Night in Prague at the Orpheum tonight at 7. Immerse yourself in the sounds, spirits, and cuisine of this year’s honored country, the Czech Republic, for only $18.

In other Orpheum news, the 2018 Summer Movie Series lineup has been released. Tickets are $8 adults and $6 for children 12 and under, with packages of 10 available for $65 from the box office.

Memorial Day weekend will be a special weekend at AutoZone Park honoring those who protect us.

  • Friday, May 25: Firefighters and EMS will be recognized
  • Saturday, May 26: Those serving in the military will be recognized
  • Sunday, May 27: Police will be recognized

Each day there will be equipment and interactive displays in the Plaza related to those being honored. There will be fireworks following the Saturday and Sunday games. Special ticket pricing is available for those being recognized by calling (901) 721-6000.

On Sunday, May 27, come early for the annual Shelby County Sheriff’s Office vs. Memphis Police Department softball game. Gates will open at 3:45 for a game running 4:15-5:30. The winning team will be awarded the Sheriff’s Cup.

Mud Island residents are reporting loud booms that are shaking houses. The booms appear to be coming from Arkansas, said a Memphis police spokesperson.

Waker, known as Nashville’s Most Woke Band, headlines the Peabody rooftop party tonight. “Waker plays their own music that mashes soul, rock & roll, and funk into an eclectic, danceable sound,” writes the Peabody. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, teachers and hospitality industry employees get in for $5 (must show proper ID or badge). $10 cover, $20 VIP. Admission includes a buffet of assorted pierogies with ranch. If you’re in VIP, you have a second buffet of Czech Republic mini-dumplings with sauerkraut, bacon and onion, chicken paprika, caraway rolls, and poppy seed cupcakes.

The 2nd annual Memphis Local Music Festival happens this Saturday from noon to 9:30 PM at Park Space Field just east of Downtown Elementary, 10 N. Fourth Street. This is a community and family friendly event full of fun, local music, and local food.

Life hack that I thought I’d pass on: Recently I made a list of events in chronological order over a three-year period. The trouble was, the list was written on paper rather than a computer, so I couldn’t go back and insert events between ones I had already listed, and I might not remember all the events in chronological order. So instead of numbering them 1, 2, 3,… I numbered them 10, 20, 30… That way, if I forgot an event that happened between 50 and 60 and remembered it later, I could number it 55 and keep the order correct. Just curious, can anyone figure out where I learned to do that? Hit me up at paul@paulryburn.com or on Facebook if you know.

I’m still trying to figure out if I’m fighting off a sinus infection, a cold, or bad allergies this week. Yesterday the Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Pho) was the special at Noodles Asian Bistro, and I decided a nice big bowl of pho might help my condition.

As with all their spicy items, you can order the pho mild, medium or hot, and pho is the one item where I hesitate to go right for hot. The broth absorbs the spiciness of the jalapenos, and after 20 or 30 minutes it can become a challenge to eat if you put too many jalapenos in. Medium seemed to be just about right for my taste. Along with the jalapenos, the pho came with rice noodles, beef, bean sprouts, scallions, fresh basil, dry onions, and cliantro in broth. When on Wednesday special, the beef pho comes with a side salad and a spring roll.

That’s it for now! A day and a half until my BBQ Fest vacation begins. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Next Tuesday, May 15 is the NBA lottery, the day on which the teams with the 14 worst records in the league will find out where they will be picking in the NBA draft next month. The Grizzlies will pick somewhere between 1st and 5th. The draft will be broadcast on ESPN that evening.

Thought about getting Grizzlies season tickets but haven’t pulled the trigger on them yet? Here’s a deal for you – from now until the draft, put down a $44 deposit on season tickets, and you will pay the amount per ticket equal to the Grizzlies’ pick in the draft. So if the Grizzlies get the 1st pick, you have a seat at each of the 44 home games for 2018-19 for a dollar apiece. More info here.

The Brass Door is introducing Steak Night on Thursdays. You can choose a 10 or 14 ounce hand-cut, 21 day aged Ribeye. Steaks come with Maitre’D butter, baked potato and pub salad. $15 for the small steak, $20 for the large.

Meanwhile, over at 117 Prime, they have a nice looking piece of salmon going on:

George Dickel Barrel Select is the half-off whiskey at Belle Tavern this week. Also, they are once again open on Mondays.

Yesterday I made the drive to Formosa, a traditional Chinese restaurant which I’ve heard referred to as “the really good Chinese restaurant out there,” on Quince just east of Kirby. They have a traditional Chinese lunch menu, with Group A and Group B. They also pick 5 of their dinner selections and put them on lunch special every day. I ordered the Hunan shrimp. The online menu said it came with soup (choice of hot & sour or egg drop), a Chinese man-tow bun, and a spring roll. However, when the spring roll came out there was a big ol’ WANG on the plate as well! I definitely did not mind a bonus chicken wing!

I’ve never been sure what to do with the wonton chips that come with the hot & sour soup. Do I put them in the soup?

The Hunan shrimp came out a few minutes later. It was a lunch-sized entree with 5 shrimp and plenty of carrots, snow peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. All this food for $7.45. Not bad.

The clientele for lunch at Formosa seems to be mostly retired people. I overheard multiple discussions of grandchildren and what’s going on at church.

Overall a perfectly fine lunch at a fine price. Formosa is a place I will return from time to time in my lunch break.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.