Your Guide to Authentic Regional Eats
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums Eating Tours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

Coursey's

Highway 65, St. Joe, AR - (870) 439-2503
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/24/2008 1:46:00 PM
Coursey’s is a fifty-five-year-old ham house in the Ozarks of North Arkansas. Mrs. Paula Hale, whose father started the business, told us that it began as a dirt-floored cabin (which is still standing outside the new, modern display room). “My father hung each ham from a nail in the wall and wrapped it in a dry-goods box,” she recalled.

Coursey’s meats are now smoked in stainless steel facilities and the old wooden cabin out front is only a reminder of days gone by. Now run by a third generation of the same family, the roadside shop maintains its country charm. We spent an educational half-hour consulting with Mrs. Hale and her kids about how to best get a ham and a couple of pounds of bacon shipped to us during a summer heat wave (we finally decided to wait until cooler weather), and we discussed the fine points of making tasty red-eye gravy. Mrs. Hale clued us in to the joy of a good ham hock, which should never be thrown away once the ham has been eaten: It makes the perfect pot-companion for long-cooked greens or beans. And she reminded us that when we fried Coursey’s delicious bacon – made from corn-fed hogs and slow-cured over burning green hickory logs – we should save the delicious drippings to season our hominy or cabbage.

Primarily a mail-order and take-out business, with scarlet hams hanging on a rack in cloth bags flavoring the air with their hickory perfume, an assortment of jerkies in jars, and shelves of interesting local jellies, sorghum and honey for sale, Coursey’s has a small counter in back where you can have a sandwich made of ham, turkey, or peppered beef. There is nothing fancy here: just meat (cheese optional) on supermarket bread. But oh, what good meat! It is lean, sweet, and tender, with an alluring wood-smoke bouquet but none of the pungency of salt-cured country ham.

18 out of 18 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

No Yes

Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Rate this place

Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The sweet smoked meat elevates this ham sandwich into something special.
"The sweet smoked meat elevates this ham sandwich into something special."
Cliff Strutz





Of all the good smoked meat Coursey's makes, it's the ham that has won it loyal fans over the last half century.
"Of all the good smoked meat Coursey's makes, it's the ham that has won it loyal fans over the last half century."
Michael Stern


Rashers of smoked bacon give the interior of Coursey's a most provocative perfume.
"Rashers of smoked bacon give the interior of Coursey's a most provocative perfume."
Michael Stern


For those who want something to munch on while driving, baggies full of smoked turkey and cheese are available.  At a $1.50 a bag, they are a real bargain.
"For those who want something to munch on while driving, baggies full of smoked turkey and cheese are available. At a $1.50 a bag, they are a real bargain."
Cliff Strutz


While there were some smoked hams hanging around, there weren't as many as I had hoped.
"While there were some smoked hams hanging around, there weren't as many as I had hoped."
Cliff Strutz


Smoked ham or turkey sandwiches are all you will find on the menu board at Coursey's.
"Smoked ham or turkey sandwiches are all you will find on the menu board at Coursey's. "
Cliff Strutz


Although it is the only eating accommodations Coursey's provides, these shaded picnic tables are a pleasant place to enjoy your sandwich.
"Although it is the only eating accommodations Coursey's provides, these shaded picnic tables are a pleasant place to enjoy your sandwich. "
Cliff Strutz


Mr. Coursey began smoking hams in this old cabin just after World War II.
"Mr. Coursey began smoking hams in this old cabin just after World War II."
Michael Stern


The old weather-beaten sign draws in passing motorists on busy Highway 65.
"The old weather-beaten sign draws in passing motorists on busy Highway 65."
Cliff Strutz



What is Roadfood?  |   Submit Content  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright - Roadfood.com