Featured image: Shawn Feaster has prepared barbecue at Joe Cobb Bar-B-Q in Bossier City for 23 years.
In 1952, Joe Cobb began selling barbecue out of the back of his brother Herschel’s meat market in downtown Bossier City. In the ensuing 65 years, Bossier City has changed all around it, but Joe Cobb Bar-B-Q is still standing at 203 McCormick Street. For lots of locals, a quick, inexpensive chopped beef sandwich ($2.50) from this historic eatery is a family tradition that’s been passed down through generations. Pitmaster Shawn Feaster, a 23-year veteran of the kitchen at Cobb’s, feels a responsibility to preserve the traditional taste of what he calls “Bossier City barbecue.”
“They’ve seen me grow up in here,” Feaster says. “When I fix it and someone comes in and says ‘it tastes just like it did when I was in high school,’ that makes my day, right there.”
Cobb’s uses a gigantic old rotisserie smoker manufactured in Mesquite, Texas, smoking beef shoulder clod and pork ribs at a high temperature over red oak wood. Feaster says that red oak has a subtler smoke flavor that doesn’t overpower the character of Cobb’s dry rub and barbecue sauce. The most popular side at the restaurant is the tart, tangy potato salad. When asked if that potato salad recipe has been intact for 65 years, Feaster will only say, with a laugh: “We don’t talk about the potato salad recipe.”
If I am being completely honest, I had not found my way into the cult of Cobb’s until recently. As someone whose go-to barbecue order is a plate of smoky, fatty brisket slices, I hadn’t connected with the restaurant’s popular chopped beef sandwiches. Recently, however, I figured out my order at Cobb’s: the Super Sue sandwich ($7), a two-meat po’ boy packed with sliced beef, ham and coleslaw, is like an un-dressed version of the famous Darrell’s Special po’ boy in Lake Charles, Louisiana. It’s also enormous.
Another reason to visit Cobb’s is simply to take in the ambiance of what is truly a dying breed of roadside barbecue joints. The wood paneling. The photos and artwork depicting airmen from Barksdale Air Force Base, championship football teams from decades ago, advertisements promoting chopped beef sandwiches at a price of five for a dollar.
Heavy construction on the streets surrounding Cobb’s has been a challenge, but they’d like to assure customers that they remain open for business. For those who love no-frills local eats, now would be a great time to stop in for a Super Sue and a Coke.
If you enjoy this kind of local food story, please download our local food guide, Eat Here.
There’s also a five-year archive of food reviews from 20×49.com that we’d love for you to explore.