USA Today lauds Cozy Corner: a true Memphis barbecue 'joint'

ddcozy2.jpg Maybe because the peak tourist month of May is approaching, national travel writers seem to be flocking to Memphis in recent weeks. The latest is Larry Olmsted, who devotes his Great American Bites feature for USA Today to one of my two or three favorite barbecue spots in Memphis: Cozy Corner.

Like all the great Memphis barbecue places, Cozy Corner puts a few signature twists on the usual template, and Olmsted astutely points them out. First up, the Cornish hens:

I am not a huge fan of barbecue chicken, and at the end of the day a Cornish game hen is just a small chicken, but it was very good as BBQ chicken goes, and unlike the full-sized version, you get to eat the whole thing. Since the meat is never far from bone and pieces small, the interior stays juicy, with white and dark meat relatively indistinguishable. You simply dig in and devour the little bird in gloriously messy fashion.

Then, the little cup of barbecue spaghetti on the side:

At Cozy Corner it is the opposite of al dente, overcooked to the mushy consistency of Spaghetti O's, which causes the noodles to swell and coat with even more sauce. This works here because the sauce is so good - the pasta is more of a vehicle for sauce delivery than anything else.

And, finally, the choice of connoisseurs' (Get there early in the morning before they run out):

But what I loved above all else was the rib tips. Rib tips are to barbecue what hanger steak is to butchery, a chef's cut, lesser known to the public but beloved in the trade. In homes occupied by barbecue fanatics, rib tips are often a treat for the pitmaster and never reach the table. Basically if you take a whole rack of spareribs, which is trapezoidal, and cut down one side to make it more symmetrical, leaving the similarly shaped ribs known as "St. Louis" cut, the thin strip leftover is rib tips. Each bite-sized morsel has some fat, bone and cartilage in it, and they are smoked, tossed in sauce, and piled high on a plate - a plate of barbecue hog heaven.

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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.