Joe Cotton's Barbecue in Robstown
By Greg Fieg
For more than 40 years, the late Joe Cotton's avuncular, slow Texas drawl could be heard across the checkered tableclothes at his renowned Texas barbecue stand as he asked the familiar question: "Did ya get enough to eat?"
The answer came back most frequently as "no," and with a wave of his hand, Cotton summoned a waiter with an additional serving of choice barbecue brisket, sumptuous barbecue beef or pork ribs, and delectable sausages, hand-made in Joe's kitchen with real pork casings.
Just as it was in 1947, Joe Cotton's barbecue is served the same old-fashioned way today, with fresh bread, crisp sweet onions, a side of beans, and jalapeno peppers, all on a double sheet of waxed butcher paper. And while most barbecue joints these days get their sauce out of the jar, the sauce at Joe Cotton's Barbecue is also made the old-fashioned way: Cotton's secret, patented recipe featuring tomatoes and natural sweeteners is made from scratch, simmered all day in a 30-gallon stainless steel kettle, then slow-cooked for more hours as the baste for the meats.
Though Joe has passed away, his son Cecil maintains the same classic Texas barbecue standards that his father did at Joe's original location on US 77 in Robstown. It's the heralded stop of the gentrified and the commoner alike, and is frequented by everyone from mayors, congressmen and senators to entertainers such as Willie Nelson.
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