Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas
Fri, 11/8/13 2:50 PM
Next up on the tour was my long-time favorite Memphis bbq parlor Cozy Corner. On the short drive from Gus's, Michael Stern explained that they use the aquarium style bbq cooker, which are so popular on Chicago's Southside. Unfortunately, despite this reminder, I failed to get a decent photo of it, even though it sits right out in the open. Maybe I was mesmerized by the incredible smell of slow cooked meats that wafts through the air and hit us as soon as we got off the bus. BBQ parlors can come in all shapes and sizes, but you always want to see smoke pouring out of the chimney, like they have at Cozy Corner. When ChiTownDiner, Cousin Johnny and I travel together, we take turns paying, figuring over the course of a trip, it will all even out. But we always send CTD up to the counter to do the ordering. And he never lets us down. Here is one of the menu boards that he had to choose from. Johnny and I grabbed the table closest to the counter and we heard someone ask if they could join us. We were thrilled to see it was Jane Stern, who was driving her own car and meeting us at all of the restaurants. She arrived ahead of us and already had her food. She had a single rib, a side of bbq spaghetti, plus plenty of sauce and white bread. She generously offered some of the plate and I ripped the bread in half and dipped it into the sauce. Immediately, I knew I was in trouble. Cozy Corner has both a mild and a hot sauce and this was obviously the hot, which to my mild palate was absolutely scorching! It took a good ten minutes before I could even think about eating anything else. By this time, CTD arrived at the table with our food. First up was the bologna sandwich, which was thick cut, covered in plenty of cole slaw and sauce on a soft toasted bun. Excellent! The pork bbq sandwich surprised us by coming in a hoagie roll, but that just meant there was more to eat. It is a beautiful tangle of dark and light/inside and outside meat that is both crunchy and soft at the same time. Cover this with the slaw and this is a great pork bbq sandwich. It hurts me to say this but Payne's was still a little bit better. The reason we send the CTD up to do the ordering is that we will often comeback with an unexpectedly great item and he did it again with the sausage sandwich. These were big, incredibly juicy links that exploded flavor in your mouth. Add more of that slaw and sauce and you have the sleeper hit of the day! As for the sides, there was baked beans, which I heard were quite good, but who cares when there is bbq spaghetti to eat! Obviously, the better the sauce, the better the bbq spaghetti. And the thick, slightly sweet, with the right amount of spicy zing sauce here makes for an excellent barbecue spaghetti. Not only did I eat our bbq spaghetti, I ate Jane Stern's, too! It wasn't going to waste with me around. Despite all of this food, we barely sampled the ribs and had none of maybe their most famous dish, barbecued Cornish hen. Other tour participants were walking around and sharing their dishes, which is typical of these tours and most everybody got to sample anything they wanted. While we were sitting around eating, owner Desiree Robinson (here posing with Michael Stern) was walking around, chatting up customers and just beaming with pride. She is the widow of Ray Robinson, one of the city's great pit masters and his photo hangs prominently on the wall. She has done a magnificent job of running Cozy Corner, so much that there are four generations now working here. We were told that one daughter just comes in to make the banana pudding (and maybe one other item, my memory fails me here) and that kids get started at the age of two. What could they possibly do at the age of two? They greet customers at the door and say: "Welcome to Cozy Corner"! It's that kind of place. By the way, the banana pudding here is also really good, but someone's (not naming names) wandering fork attacked it before I could get a photo! Going back to that photo of Desiree Robinson, anyone notice that she is carrying? Here is better look. No, she is not the typical great-grandmother! Cozy Corner 745 North Parkway Memphis, TN 901-527-9158 For the second time in only two stops, everyone boarding the bus was murmuring about the incredible food. Okay, Payne's might have a slightly better pork barbecue sandwich, but overall, Cozy Corner is still number one!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 11/8/13 2:56 PM>