Airport Barbecue

Airports get a bad name when it comes to food. Most travelers, tired and haggard, usually opt for what’s cheap and filling. But some airports are bucking the trend of terrible eats.

For instance, the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport has some great options like the French Meadow Bakery Cafe, Shoyu and Volante. You can get a pretty spot-on Chicago-style hot dog at either of that city’s main airports. And in Memphis, TN, a city known for great barbecue, you can find some pretty tasty stuff.

Interstate BBQ pork half-slab



I was on my way to New Orleans just a few days ago and had a quick stop in Memphis. And as soon as I got off of the jet bridge, I could smell barbecue. Walking to my next gate, I was continually bombarded with the sweet, smoky smell. They must pipe it into the vents, hoping to guide you to any of the joints that serve it.

Air travel seems to take a lot out of me, so I slumped, stomach rumbling, to Jim Neely’s Interstate BBQ and found their pork half-slab a tangy, heavily-sauced version. Different than another Memphis barbecue heavyweight, Corky’s, with their dry rub varietal, Neely’s slathers on the sauce.


Needed sides were included in my order: Cole slaw and piping hot baked beans. The slaw was over-sauced for me, but the beans were spot-on, with a similar spice to the rib sauce.

With sticky hands and a full belly, I felt much better and ready for the last flight of the day.

Now back from New Orleans, I had a great first time there and ate at some truly awesome restaurants. Stay tuned.

One thought on “Airport Barbecue

  1. I recently had a layover at DFW, and happened to come upon Salt Lick BBQ. First, I wondered if this was related to famous joint I’d heard of in Austin (it is), and second I wondered how in the world you could make barbecue in an airport. It smelled good, so I walked up to the counter and asked exactly that: how *do* you make barbecue in an airport?

    The guy at the counter answered that the briskets are actually smoked at the restaurant down in Austin each day and brought up to DFW for the franchise. That sounded okay to me, so I gave it a shot and it was really pretty good. I bet it’s better still at the actual restaurant (I haven’t been), but really it was surprisingly good for airport food.

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