Thursday, August 30, 2012

Willy Ray's Bar-B-Que Co.

BEAUMONT: Willy Ray's Bar-B-Que Co.
6685 Eastex Frwy
Beaumont, TX 77706
Open M-Sat 11-9, Sun 11-3 

Update: Thanks to alert FCGBBQ reader @GoBearsGo95 I learned that Willy Ray's is no longer. They haven't so much CLOSED as rebranded when they widened their menu and hours last month to become Jackk's Diner. The same ownership remains.

2012: "Museum" was printed on a small sign above what looked like a closet door at the back of Willy Ray's. After seeing the sign we couldn't resist, but wondered how many hadn't even noticed the unceremonial entry. Inside the door was a long glass case and a narrow walkway along its length. Inside was a series of impressive carvings of important religious buildings in history. Along the front of the case was a series of dioramas telling the stories of the Bible. We learned from the the current owners of Willy Ray's that they all were carved and painted by a former owner of the building, and they've been preserved as the building changed hands. It was without a doubt the oddest display I'd ever seen inside a barbecue joint, but trumped a collection of old hats or license plates any day.

Unfortunatey, the diorama collection was the most memorable thing about the joint. Texas Monthly had put this place in the 2008 Top 50 BBQ Joints issue, but they must have had a different experience. The carrot souffle they loved in their review was still on the menu. It was good, and sweet enough to be considered dessert. Good thing considering the poor quality banana pudding with it's fake yellow hue and artificial banana flavoring that came out at the end of the meal.

The meats were equally inoffensive and boring. Chicken had some smoke but little other flavor. Ribs had a rub that was way too thick that hindered any development of a smoky crust. Lean brisket slices were trimmed of all fat. A good looking crust and smokering was false advertising. The meat was dry with little flavor and barely a hint of smoke. It was nothing more than mediocre roast beef, and not really worth returning for, unless of course that's the price of admission to their museum.

Rating **


Mike Avery said...

I lived in Beaumont about 15 years ago. Willie Ray's was lame then. Not surprised it's still lame. When I saw that Texas Monthly liked it, I was flabbergasted.

The carrot souffle was the star attraction for our pre-teen son. Enough so that I had to duplicate the dish when we moved away.

Way back then, the best Q' in town was made by the owner of Munro's cleaners. He owned the dry cleaners to live, but he lived to barbeque. Sadly, he never sold his Q as far as I know. He catered some events he supported, like some Rotary Club events. I DO miss his Q. Willey Ray's, not so much.

Unknown said...

I lived in the Beaumont area for over 30 years before moving away after I got married. Willie Ray's BBQ was very hit and miss. There were 6 different occasions that I ate there and only 2 times was the meat worth the trip. The only thing that was always a hit was their carrot souffle. Everything else was pretty well hit and miss as well. The best place I had the pleasure of eating at in the whole area was West Texas BBQ in Silsbee, or Boomtown BBQ Company on Calder and in that order.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.