Shoot, that's good barbecue
Memphis gun range restaurant takes smoking seriously
There is a rock star—who can’t be named for reasons which will become clear in a moment—whose dossier includes wrecking hotel rooms, drunkenly totaling trucks, and slugging fellow artists. We know these things because the performer hasn’t been shy about bringing them up in interviews.
But what this performer apparently won’t discuss publicly is his patronage of Ferguson’s BBQ in Memphis.
According to those familiar with the three-year-old restaurant, the wood-fired barbecue pit has emerged as a favorite of musicians clued into the tenderness of its chicken and smokiness of its ribs by local roadies who work their shows. Yet they never shout out Ferguson’s on social media or leave behind an autographed picture for Ferguson’s to post on its plank-paneled walls.
Why not? Because its location, inside a shooting range, couldn’t be less politically correct. At least, that’s the theory of Ferguson’s owner, Ben Ferguson.
Top Gun bills itself as “the best automatic machine gun range in the Mid-South.”
“We’ve never had a writeup by anyone, ever, and we’ve been told it’s because of being in the gun range,” said owner Ben Ferguson, a native Memphian. “We went to The Commercial Appeal when we opened, and were like, ‘Hey, just give it a review.’ They wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.”
Plenty of people who value compassion, peace, and understanding are fond of saying that food brings people together. But Ferguson’s BBQ—where the coveted seats are at a counter affixed to bulletproof glass between the dining room and lanes on which shooters blast through the hearts of illustrated squirrels—shows that even the best food sometimes can bring only like-minded people together.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The Food Section to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.