85-Year-Old Pitmaster Becomes First Black Woman Inducted Into Barbecue Hall of Fame

85-Year-Old Pitmaster Becomes First Black Woman Inducted Into Barbecue Hall of Fame

This woman is still barbecuing it up at 85.

Desiree Robinson is the matriarch of the long-standing family-owned restaurant Cozy Corner in North Memphis, and has become the first Black woman to be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame.

According to Fox13, Robinson also marked a historic recognition as the first living Black person to receive the honor, as the other three inductees were deceased.

“I wish I could describe it to you,” Robinson said. “You just can’t imagine how good it makes me feel. I’m blessed because I know it’s all about how it got started and maintained.”

Robinson co-founded Cozy Corner with her late husband, Raymond, who she acknowledged as the mastermind behind the success of the restaurant.

“My husband was an awesome cook, and I’m good, but not nearly as good as he was,” Robinson said. “I’m telling you it blew my mind. It started with him. He built it for us.”

“He never met a person that didn’t fall in love with him. He was the most likeable person I have ever met in my life. And, he had the personality. Oh my goodness, everybody loved him. People just liked him and he liked people,” she added.

The couple opened the doors for business back in 1977, and Robinson took on the mantle after Raymond passed in 2001, becoming pitmaster of Cozy Corner in 2020. The restaurant, which is now four generations in, is run with the help of the entire family, including the children, who Robinson says picks up any age appropriate duties.

Cozy Corner stands by its tradition of greeting every customer that walks through the Cozy Corner doors.

“If you work there, you better greet whoever walks through that door,” Robinson said.

“Because I want them to know that they are at home. I want them to know that they are welcomed and I want them to know that I want them to come back. So they’re going to eat good and they’re going to be treated right,” she added.

According to sources, Cozy Corner is listed as one of the top 10 barbecue restaurants in Memphis.

“I’m blessed,” Robinson said. “I’ve got a wonderful family, I really do. Four generations of family. We work together in harmony and I just thank God for that.”