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Abe's

616 N State St, Clarksdale, MS - (662) 624-9947
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/18/2014 10:31:00 AM
Abe's has been sung about in blues songs and written about in Faulknerian novels set in the Mississippi Delta; and to the traveling foodie, it is a must-eat destination. Its legend goes back to 1924 when Abe Davis opened a snack stall on the street in Clarksdale. Today at the famous crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, Abe’s grandson Pat Davis maintains the name and the high-quality cooking, which includes thin-sliced, crisp-edged barbecued pork as well as that delicious Delta specialty, the hot tamale.

Abe's barbecue is Boston Butt that is first cooked in the haze of pecan wood smoke, allowed to cool overnight, then sliced and heated again on the griddle when it is ordered. While the pork is getting heated, it gets hacked into a rugged hash. The process results in meat with lots of juicy buzz in its pale inside fibers and plenty of crusty parts where it has fried on the hot iron of the grill. You can have it on a platter or in a sandwich, which is available in two sizes – normal and “Big Abe.” We love the latter, which is twice the amount of pork heaped into a double-decker bun. This is close enough to Memphis that it is served city-style, i.e. with the slaw inside the bun.

One of the things that makes these sandwiches so especially delicious is the sauce, which is dark red, tangy, with the resonance of pepper and spice, a sublime companion for the meat. Pat Davis told us that it is made from the original recipe his grandfather developed, except for one top-secret ingredient, which he swears he doesn’t use any more. "It is sort of addictive, isn’t it?" Pat Said. "We once had guys order a case shipped to Oklahoma. They called to tell me they were drinking it in shot glasses."

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
barbecue
tamales
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The jumbo double-decker pork sandwich, known as a Big Abe, is made like pig sandwiches in Memphis: filled with slaw as well as meat.
"The jumbo double-decker pork sandwich, known as a Big Abe, is made like pig sandwiches in Memphis: filled with slaw as well as meat."
Michael Stern





The surest way to spot a good barbecue throughout the south is to look for images of happy pigs.  This one is painted on the wall, serenading Abe's dining room.
"The surest way to spot a good barbecue throughout the south is to look for images of happy pigs. This one is painted on the wall, serenading Abe's dining room."
Michael Stern


Abe's is located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49, the legendary crossroads where it is said bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for mastery of the slide guitar.
"Abe's is located at the intersection of Highways 61 and 49, the legendary crossroads where it is said bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for mastery of the slide guitar."
Michael Stern


Throughout the Mississippi Delta, tamales are a favorite meal and/or snack. Abe's are made with pork and beef and steamed in natural corn husks. Cole slaw and barbecue beans fill out the other sections of the partitioned plate.
"Throughout the Mississippi Delta, tamales are a favorite meal and/or snack. Abe's are made with pork and beef and steamed in natural corn husks. Cole slaw and barbecue beans fill out the other sections of the partitioned plate."
Michael Stern


Like so many of the South's excellent barbecue parlors, Abe's is a modest-looking place.
"Like so many of the South's excellent barbecue parlors, Abe's is a modest-looking place."
Michael Stern


When Abe's opened, Highway 61 was a dusty two-lane through the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. Today it's a busy thoroughfare. But the recipe for barbecue is the same one that Abe Davis used in 1924.
"When Abe's opened, Highway 61 was a dusty two-lane through the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. Today it's a busy thoroughfare. But the recipe for barbecue is the same one that Abe Davis used in 1924."
Michael Stern



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