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Cozy Corner

745 North Parkway, Memphis, TN - (901) 527-9158
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/26/2014 9:54:00 AM
If you have time for just one barbecue meal in Memphis (or anywhere on earth), go to Cozy Corner. It is a hazy storefront shop with a self-service counter, a smoker in the vestibule and blues music playing in the small dining room to the side. Presiding over this small, sweet-smelling empire is Desiree Robinson, widow of the founder, Raymond Robinson, who had been the city’s supreme pitmaster for more than two decades until his passing in 2001. Mrs. Robinson and her children are maintaining the Cozy Corner as it was when Raymond was boss, and it remains THE place to go for unsurpassed barbecue in a city that is full of great barbecue parlors.

Virtually everything you can order off the wall-mounted menu is ecstatically wonderful, but we like the sliced pork shoulder best of all. Blanketed with spice, it develops a devilish blackened crust that seals in the meat’s juices, yielding nuggets that are lip-tingling hot and downright voluptuous. Spare ribs are roasted over charcoal until tender enough to eat with pleasure (but not too tender the way mass-cooked baby back ribs can be). The rib meat is lush and peppery, infused with flavor and yet surprisingly lean. The house specialty is barbecued Cornish hen – a small bird with burnished skin and dripping-moist meat inside. The best-selling dish in the house is barbecued boloney. Baloney is big in Memphis, and it’s on virtually every good smokehouse menu, even though most tourists bypass it for ribs or pulled pork shoulder. Understand that this is no paper-thin slice of pre-cut baloney like you buy in a pack from the cold cut rack of the supermarket. It is a thick slab that gets dry-rubbed with pepper and spice, charcoal-cooked, then sauced and put into a bun with cole slaw: a delicious, piggy mess.

One surprise winner when the 2013 Roadfood eating tour passed through Memphis was Cozy Corner's smoked beef sausage. It is juicy and radiant with spice.

Among the not-to-be-missed side dishes is barbecued spaghetti: soft noodles bathed in Cozy Corner’s lip-tingling-hot barbecue sauce.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
barbecued cornish game hen
baloney
pork shoulder
Sausage Sandwich
ribs
barbecued spaghetti
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

You won't find better ribs anywhere than those served by Cozy Corner.
"You won't find better ribs anywhere than those served by Cozy Corner."
Michael Stern





One of the unusual Memphis side dishes for barbecued meat is barbecued spaghetti: noodles dressed with soulful sweet/tangy sauce totally unlike marinara or bolognese.
"One of the unusual Memphis side dishes for barbecued meat is barbecued spaghetti: noodles dressed with soulful sweet/tangy sauce totally unlike marinara or bolognese."
Michael Stern


When it's properly barbecued, as it is in many Memphis smoke houses, baloney transcends its status as
"When it's properly barbecued, as it is in many Memphis smoke houses, baloney transcends its status as "lunchmeat" and becomes a whole other category of food. Here it is served in typical local style, with cole slaw piled in the bun. The slaw and sauce pool together on the plate to make a wonderful sweet 'n' hot gravy."
Michael Stern


Excellent, saucy ribs
"Excellent, saucy ribs"
Ben Weiner


Owner Desiree Robinson; Cozy Corner is very much a family business.
"Owner Desiree Robinson; Cozy Corner is very much a family business."
Cliff Strutz


The late Raymond Robinson, one of Memphis's all-time great pitmasters, sits in the glow of his cooker overlooking the order counter. This photograph was taken in the mid-1990s. Today, his descendants carry on the tradition of excellence.
"The late Raymond Robinson, one of Memphis's all-time great pitmasters, sits in the glow of his cooker overlooking the order counter. This photograph was taken in the mid-1990s. Today, his descendants carry on the tradition of excellence. "
Michael Stern


Place your order in the vestibule where the smoker is, then dine in the dining room to the right. That's Desiree Robinson, widow of founder Raymond Robinson, behind the counter.
"Place your order in the vestibule where the smoker is, then dine in the dining room to the right. That's Desiree Robinson, widow of founder Raymond Robinson, behind the counter."
Michael Stern


Pork is the favorite meat to barbecue in Memphis, but Cozy Corner's Cornish game hen is an essential smokehouse meal.
"Pork is the favorite meat to barbecue in Memphis, but Cozy Corner's Cornish game hen is an essential smokehouse meal. "
Michael Stern


In a city full of first-rate barbecue, the Cozy Corner rules!
"In a city full of first-rate barbecue, the Cozy Corner rules!"
Michael Stern



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