Cotten’s Catering

15013 N.W. Blvd., Suite 111
Corpus Christi, TX 78410

Phone: (361) 933-0143
Hours: M-Sat 10-9
Website: cottensbbq.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CottensBarbecue

Opened 2012
Method Gas-fired Rotisserie with Mesquite

TMBBQ Rating: 2.5

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Comments from our joint finder app.
Tasty but just slightly above average. Brisket flavorful but no bark or visible smoke ring. Chopped pork moist but a little bland. Out of baked potatoes at 6pm on a Tuesday? Huh. Glad we stopped but won't be planning return expeditions.
Ed Dravecky @ Big Jake’s Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-02 23:43:12
Beef so tender it's difficult to keep in the fork
Bill coons @ Mumphord’s Place, 2014-09-02 18:09:44
Plenty of food!! Ribs are great, brisket was a little on the dry side. Sausage had a heavy pork flavor that I liked but may not be for everyone!
Caleb Barnett @ Loco Coyote Café, 2014-09-02 12:19:49
Brisket is really good and tender! Has great smoky flavor. This place also has a butcher!
Nathaniel Cox @ Vincek’s Smokehouse, 2014-08-31 18:30:40
The hunt for the best barbecue continues with the second joint today. This is a small victory as I have always wanted to hit more than one restaurant on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ establishments in a single day. Billy's Old Fashion Barbecue happens to be number 9. I have a hair less than four years to visit the other 41 before the list is updated. I have my work cut out for me as these places are as far at 500 miles from home. I wasn't hungry when we rolled into Jasper, but I was here to eat barbecue. I knew I wanted brisket and when we found the dilapidated restaurant, I knew we were going to experience some magic. I chose the sliced brisket sandwich. I wasn't expecting this monstrosity as it was quite large. Topped with pickles and onions, this sauce soaked sandwich was perfect. I only wish I had ordered the sauce on the side. The sauce was decent, but I came for the meat. The sliced brisket was very nice. It was juicy and the fat was rendered beautifully. It was a bit toothsome, but it certainly wasn't tough. I had forgotten to ask for untrimmed meat, so I was pleased when I saw that the crusty bark was intact. The meat had a mild flavor. Not too much smoke, and it wasn't overpowered with seasoning. It was a simple, beefy masterpiece. At only 2 1/2 hours from home, I can see myself loading up the family for a nice meaty adventure. This is easily a 4.0/5.0. Well done, Texas Monthly. This BBQ doesn't disappoint.
Theodore Luoma @ Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ, 2014-08-31 01:12:51
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:06
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:05
Third in line pound of lean got two ends and a sausage PERFECTION worth the drive ft worth good food good folks
doug_wallace @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2014-08-30 15:38:00
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Review

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September 10, 2013

This is the first in a dual review. It’s rare to find two barbecue joints with food so similar to one another, but Cotten’s Catering in Calallen and Cotten’s Barbecue in San Antonio are nearly dead ringers. It all goes back to 1947 when Joe Cotten starting selling barbecue in Robstown just south of Corpus Christi. The joint was host to presidents and celebrities and was one of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 barbecue joints in 1997. All of that history came to a dramatic close when a fire erupted on March 2, 2011 and destroyed the much heralded Joe Cotten’s. Its burned out remains stuck around for months while owner Cecil Cotten hoped that it would be rebuilt as did his brother and Joe Cotten’s manager Kenneth. The cause of the fire was never determined, and the rebuild never happened. The building was leveled in early 2012, but the empty lot and the lonely sign still remain along US Highway 77.

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The sign at the original location in Robstown

It was longtime Joe Cotten’s employee Jesse Pena who first got back into the local barbecue game. He opened Mr. G’s BBQ in Corpus Christi in late 2011 using the same cooking methods and the famous Cotten sausage recipe. Then last year, Joe Cotten’s grandsons Michael Cotten and Chris Knaus started a take out only operation in Calallen just west of Corpus Christi. It was an instant hit for long-time fans, and they even got a chance to cater for country singer Josh Abbott and football star Johnny Manziel. The name of this new joint wasn’t a hit with their great uncle Cecil Cotten. He owns the naming rights to “Joe Cotten’s Barbecue” and “Cotten’s Barbecue” and asked his nephews to change the name almost a year after they opened. The “BBQ” portion of the sign is still ghosted on the header over the door, but the methods are all the same. They’ve also since added an attached dining room.

The menu is simple. Order meat by the pound, a sandwich or a plate. The plates come with one, two or three meats for the same price. The rest of the order is filled out with some Joe Cotten signatures – a pickle spear, a slice of onion, a slice of tomato, a half jalapeño, white bread and their famous sauce and beans. The sauce is thick and tomatoey. With the onions and peppers and very little sweetness, it’s more like a ranchero sauce than a typical barbecue sauce. The pintos are covered in a rich broth studded with spices. A side of mashed potato salad was a great complement to cool things off. It was all well executed and so neatly packaged. Each item had its own bag or container, and each of the meats was wrapped in wax paper. It all came neatly stacked in a cake box like a personal picnic.

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As I unwrapped each meat it was obvious the ribs were going to be good. The well-formed crust was deeply colored. The smokiness of the mesquite was very apparent. The texture was also perfect, but what was missing from this well smoked rib was some seasoning. They didn’t hold back on the salt in the sausage. The pork casing snapped and juice squirted a bit. The link was smoky, salty and juicy. There isn’t much more you can ask for in a good sausage. The brisket easily brought up the rear here. The flavors of the smoke and seasoning were washed out. The texture was also a bit off like it had been cooked to quickly. Holding the meat in foil under the heat lamps didn’t help.

I never got to eat at the original Joe Cotten’s, but even some nostalgic friends admit that the sliced brisket wasn’t great. Maybe this location is just true to the original. That’s really the point anyway. This is a continuation of a family legacy and regional barbecue tradition. That doesn’t often happen into the third generation, so we should be thankful. A great plate of ribs and sausage isn’t that easy to come by either.

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