Abe’s BBQ in Clarksdale, MS is a classic example of the Mississippi barbeque tradition. Opened in 1924 by Abraham Davis, a Lebanese immigrant, the restaurant has remained in the Davis family to this day. Though it may seem like an anomaly, many Lebanese moved to the Mississippi Delta from the late 1870’s to 1920’s, looking for work and refuge from their war-torn country. Many men became peddlers, travelling with dry goods and clothes to sharecropping communities, but Abraham decided to open a restaurant after his food stand on the street became popular.
Using a mix of techniques from around the south, Abe’s BBQ is best known for their barbequed pork, which starts out as a Boston butt slow cooked over hickory and pecan wood. The meat is then sliced thinly and grilled to order on a flattop as it’s chopped into big, meaty chunks and doused in the family’s secret BBQ sauce. Served with a roughly chopped slaw, the pork sandwich is a massive, porky tribute to southern food.
Barbeque is not the only thing on Abe’s menu, though, as the tamales and Lebanese specialties like stuffed grape leaves make a popular appearance. Abe’s also stands out because of its location—at the intersection where Robert Johnson made his legendary sale with the Devil, as well as it’s genuine welcoming attitude to people of all races and ethnicities even when segregation was still entrenched in Mississippi life.