Chicken Philly from Elwood’s Shack – Memphis, TN

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This sandwich is causing an existential crisis for me. I thought the Chicken Philly from Memphis Mojo cafe was totally my favorite, but this one is giving me doubts. They’re both so good I actually think I want both. I might have to orchestrate some kind of convoluted to-go order where I manage to get someone to pick up one sandwich and I pick up the other and we meet in the middle and compare them, you know, for science.

Anyway, Elwood’s has good everything, I learned this on my first visit. This time we needed some stuff from the Lowe’s on Perkins. I mean I drove past like four other home improvement stores to get to the one on Perkins, but I insisted on going to the one on Perkins, for no reason in particular.

Since I was already at the Lowe’s on Perkins, hey, I’m right next to Elwood’s, might as well get dinner there!

Elwood’s seems like a perfect allegory for Memphis. It’s weird and a little rough looking at first glance, but then you realize how delicious it is and you can’t imagine living without it. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Elwood’s is pretty literally a shack in the parking lot of a Lowe’s home improvement store. Since I’m looking for any excuse I can to use my Insta360, I took some pictures.

But the food that comes out of this place is seriously mind-blowing. Daisy and Ava shared a large BBQ. Daisy insists that Elwood’s has the best BBQ in Memphis. That’s a pretty bold claim for a city so known for it’s BBQ, but you can totally make a case for it. The pulled pork BBQ from Elwood’s is like the platonic ideal of Memphis style BBQ. Heavy on the smoke, light on the sauce. You really taste the smoke and the meat over everything else. The slaw is really well done too, and I don’t even like slaw.

One of the only downsides to Elwood’s is that nothing comes with any kind of sides. We rectified this by getting an order of their pasta salad. It’s also excellent. Spiral pasta, olives, peppers, and feta cheese.

As you might have guessed, I got the chicken philly. It’s a toasted soft roll with smoked chicken, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, provolone and cheddar. It actually comes with mayonnaise too, but I hate mayonnaise so I got it without. This is a serious sandwich. For me, it had just the right ratio of everything. Enough peppers and onions that you get that in every bite without overpowering the chicken, enough cheese to hold everything together and add some fat since the chicken breast is pretty lean, chicken that actually tastes like smoked chicken and not just a generic flavorless protein, and bread with just the right amount of buttery crunch.

Gun to my head, I would have a super hard time choosing between this and Memphis Mojo’s chicken philly. I’m just gonna go with whichever one I’m closest to at the time.