By Hal Humphreys
In an age of chain eateries and food courts, barbecue – also known in Tennessee as Bar-B-Q or BBQ – is still often served up in small, family-owned restaurants, with a secret recipe sauce and a clientele that can span generations.
Take Bozo’s, for instance, a roadside eatery located in the sleepy town of Mason, Tennessee, located near Memphis. “Your Grandmom,” my dad once said, “couldn’t drive through Mason without eating a white pig sandwich.”
Since 1923, the folks at Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q have slow-cooked their pork over hickory, the way barbecue should be cooked. The last time my wife and I visited Bozo’s, we arrived just in time for the Saturday-night special: pit-fired BBQ ribs. (They’re also offered on Fridays, too.)
The order came with a couple slices of white bread and sauce, neither of which is technically necessary. I held the bone in my hand, stripped the meat off easily with a fork, and constructed my own beautiful, seared-on-the-outside, succulent-on-the-inside, pulled pork sandwich. Bozo’s sweet vinegar slaw and baked beans complemented the pork perfectly.
Owner John Papageorgeon opens Bozo’s during the week from 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. In addition to classic BBQ menu items such as pulled pork, white pig, beans, and sweet or vinegar slaw, Bozo’s also serves up blackened chicken, blackened fish, soups and chilis in the winter, sandwiches, nachos and cheese fries.
If you find yourself cruising down Highway 70 between Brownsville and Memphis, pay a visit to Bozo’s, a low-slung brick affair on Highway 70, smack in the middle of Mason. I say go for the ribs, or pulled pork.
As always, please remember that hours of operation do change, so call ahead before driving long distances (and this BBQ joint is most definitely off the beaten path). You can reach Papageorgeon at Bozo’s Hot Pit Bar-B-Q by calling (901) 294-3400. The restaurant is located at 42 Highway 70 W., Mason, TN 38049.