Editor’s Note: The Dining Duo are a couple of foodies who enjoy eating out and sampling the local cuisine in the tri-state area. To ensure reviews are unbiased and that the duo remain anonymous, their identities are masked behind their favorite comic book heroes.

Uncle Bubba’s Barbecue & Smokehouse

2353 Hwy. 51 S

Hernando

4 POWs out of 5

When you think of barbecue, Mississippi normally doesn’t come to mind. Memphis with its famous dry rub, Kansas City, North Carolina and Texas brisket all claim to be the best.

But if you ever find yourself heading down Highway 51 and get a hankering for some southern barbecue, you can’t go wrong with Uncle Bubba’s Barbecue & Smokehouse.

I’ve tried a lot of barbecue over the years in and around Memphis, but I must say that this roadside eatery in downtown Hernando is as good as any barbecue you will find in Memphis.

I found myself down in Hernando recently on business and apprehended “Poison Ivy” to come with me. I gave her no choice in the matter really.

I floated a few ideas of places we could eat while we were down here but when she left the choice to me, it wasn’t hard. I went for the barbecue.

Uncle Bubba’s is not someplace that “Poison Ivy” would normally pick. But I thought that since she likes fried catfish that maybe they would have some on the menu or she would find a burger or something to her liking.

We were both a bit surprised to find that they did not have catfish on the menu. A lot of barbecue joints I have eaten at often have a catfish plate in addition to barbecue.

“The menu is pretty limited,” Poison Ivy said. “If you don’t like barbecue, there’s not much else.”

That might be a bit of an overstatement on her part because Uncle Bubba’s does have burgers and other sandwiches to choose from if you’re not looking for barbecue.

I was surprised when Poison Ivy ordered a pulled pork sandwich with slaw on top and a side of baked bean. I decided to try something else on the menu to see how they do, so I went with a pastrami sandwich and a side of cheesy grits.

I was very surprised when our server brought us out a basket of seasoned pork rinds, which I thought was a nice touch. I knew Poison Ivy wasn’t going to like them though. She’s the most un-Southern southerner that I have ever met.

“I just don’t eat skin,” Poison Ivy said.

She agreed though that it was a nice touch.

“I’ve never seen a BBQ restaurant that brought you pork rinds,” she said.

The food turned out to be excellent. Ivy’s pulled pork sandwich ($9.95) was heaped with meat and topped with slaw. 

“It’s good,” Ivy said. “I never eat slaw unless it is on the sandwich, it brings out the taste of the barbecue. And there is no fat in the meat. Sometimes it is fatty and can be over-cooked. This was cooked well.”

She tried all three sauces on the table - Memphis sweet, Carolina tangy, and Sweet heat- before deciding to go with the Memphis sweet sauce.

It’s got a little bit of sweet and a little bit of tangy,” Ivy said. “It just needs a little bit of smoke to be just right.”

Ivy also approved of the baked beans, which were thick and had a nice brown sugar taste to them.

“ I like them,” she said. “I think they’re just about right.”

I give a thumbs up to the pastrami too. According to the menu, it’s their own seasoned and house smoked beef. The sandwich ($13.95) was stacked with pastrami and melted provolone cheese and comes served on a buttery brioche roll. The meat wasn’t as peppery as some that I have had and was on the salty side, but was thin sliced and I think any New Yorker would have to agree that it is definitely deli-style quality and the kind you would find in Brooklyn or other ethnic cities famous for their pastrami.

For my side, I ordered cheesy grits, which was an odd choice for me because I did not grow up eating grits and I’m not a fanatic about Mac n’ cheese like most southerners are. I do like shrimp and grits, however. These grits were, well, cheesy! They tasted like Mac n’ cheese, just as I expected, although next time I will probably try their hash browns or turnip greens.

Ivy and I were stuffed and she admitted that she was wrong for turning her nose up when I picked the place.

“I don’t think I would have picked this place,” Ivy said. “But it was good. I expected there to be a little more on the menu along the lines of bar food, but to be fair, it does say Uncle Bubba’s Barbecue and Smokehouse. I am stuffed to the max.”

Uncle Bubba’s turned out to be an excellent choice for lunch for us first timers and we both agree we would definitely come back. Ivy said she would like to try the brisket and stay for the live music next time. As for me, I think I will try the ribs.

For the amount of food you get and the quality, Uncle Bubba’s is very reasonably priced and I don’t think you will go away hungry. The service was good and the barbecue is every bit comparable to Memphis and is worth the drive.

We give it a very enthusiastic 4 POWs.

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