atlanta barbecue Good for Groups Restaurant Reviews

Memphis BBQ: Interview with Founder, Melissa Cookston


Memphis Barbecue Co. is owned by Melissa Cookston, a barbecue champion and owner of three restaurants.

They started us off with and order of the cheese balls.  Though I wouldn’t have ordered these, I’m glad they sent them our way. More than the 4 cheeses used, it is the honey dijon dipping sauce that sets it apart from other dishes.

Though there are fish, chicken and shrimp n grits on the menu, the award winning barbecue is the way to go. They smoke their barbecue for 16 hours a day over pecan wood, resulting in the pink “smoke-ring” look. My recommendation is to order one of their MBC Platters. We got the Grand Champion (pictured below) which comes with chicken, brisket, sausage, and pulled pork, baby back and spare ribs. Granted there were two of us, but I think this platter could feed about six people. It’s an excellent value at $50.

This gigantic platter is served in a garbage can lid. How cute is that? How do you choose a favorite, with so many delicious meats, right? It was difficult but the baby-back ribs were tops followed by the amazing brisket. Visit Memphis BBQ Co. and decide for yourself which is your favorite. (Disclosure: My visit to Memphis BBQ Co. was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own).

Interview with Melissa Cookston

Melissa Cookston, has had a fondness for barbecue for quite some time. Her talent and success has lead to the title of the Winningest Woman in Barbecue, a book deal and three restaurants. We caught up with her at her Atlanta location of Memphis Barbecue Co.


Memphis BBQ Co, owner, Melissa, Cookston

How did you start your barbecue competitions? I’ve been around the restaurant business all my life. I love barbecue and started competing in 2009. Winning the competitions lead to my opening my restaurants and writing my book.

How is your barbecue different or better than others? Memphis style barbecue is smoked longer than other kinds of barbecue, and ours is pulled when you order it. A benefit of the barbecue being cooked longer (besides the better taste) is that it is healthier.

Do you locally source meat? I go through about 4 tons of meat per week, so I cannot source locally. I have my own vendors that I’ve personally vetted to supply quality meat.


Cheese Balls, a popular menu item at Memphis BBQ Co., have been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network

What one item would you recommend that each new guest to Memphis BBQ Co. must try? The Cheese Balls. They are made with four cheeses and served with a honey-dijon sauce. They were featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Will you open more restaurants? Yes, I absolutely want to. But I haven’t identified any specific locations.  I always open them in the suburbs as they always do well there.

What’s next? I’m working on my second book now. Plus, Big Green Egg just called me to ask me if they could send me an Egg. So, I may start experimenting with cooking on that.


The Memphis BBQ Grand Champion platter comes with chicken, brisket, sausage, and pulled pork, baby back and spare ribs.

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!