Thursday, April 19, 2012

Gas Station Ribs - Cousin's Express

Ribs can turn up anywhere in the Mid-south. When I stopped for gas yesterday at the Cousin's Express gas station on U.S. Highway 57 in Piperton, TN, (AKA Poplar Avenue just east of Collierville) I noticed a sign in front of the store promising "hickory smoked ribs."

I'd already had lunch, but I still decided to go in and check things out. I noticed they offered a "rib sandwich" for just $4.99, so just like when I ended up in in the same situation at Ron's B-B-Q in Jackson, I ordered one without the bread. I'm still not sure what the intended point of a "rib sandwich" is, but it is a good way to get a small sample of ribs. And I small sample was the best way to approach ribs that were sitting in a glass display case by the cash register next to the fried chicken that is a common sight at gas stations throughout the south.  

The sauces offered over at the tables were pretty good. The hot was genuinely fiery and even the mild had a nice kick to it. The slaw was disgusting. Eating it felt like what it is probably like to eat mayonnaise straight out of a jar. I tried a few small bites and threw the rest away.

The ribs were juicy despite sitting under a heat lamp. In fact the meat completely fell off the bone. They also had little flavor and no indication of the hickory smoke promised by the sign outside. I'm pretty sure they were just boiled then charred on a grill for a few minutes. I wasn't surprised at all, since I wasn't expecting a serious barbecue pit to be included in a prefab gas station. Like most gas station chow, this was aimed at people who just want to grab a quick bite and aren't feeling all that picky.   

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