Sunday, August 10, 2014

Billy's Old Fashion BBQ - Jasper

Billy's Old Fashion BBQ has been on my To Do list for quite a while but it is that type of place that would require a special trip to check out.  Once they were named to Texas Monthly's Top 50, I knew a special trip would be justified.

THE MEATS

We arrived a little after noon as the only guests and were greeted with by Mrs. Mahathay (Billy's wife) with a big East Texas smile and a friendly voice.  I opted for a three meat plate, wanting to try the brisket and pork ribs along with the homemade link.  Mrs. Mahathay warned that the link might be a little spicy.  I assured her that I could handle it.  A short while later, my meat was delivered...slathered in a Thick layer of unrequested sauce.
Brisket, Pork Ribs and Sausage covered in Billy's BBQ Sauce

We were off to a bad, but in retrospect, a completely predictable start.  The dark sauce was very thick and carried a strong, sweet and smoky flavor profile that I did not like.  The thick sauce completely engulfed most of the meat and there was not a piece that was spared from the stuff. 

You could tell that the ribs were prepared well but they were marred by the sticky sweet sauce.  Even if you like this sauce, or sauce in general, I think that the ribs would have stood well on their own.

I fished some brisket from the sludge in the bottom of the container.  The brisket had a good texture but had soaked up the sauce to the point where no other flavor was detectable.  It basically tasted like BBQ sauce disguised as meat.

The homemade link was probably the highlight for me, maybe simply because there was meat inside the casing that was spared from the sauce.  This link was most similar to boudin. It did not have the snap you expect from Texas Sausage, but rather the soft squeeze you'd equate to eating boudin.  There was a bit of spice to the peppery link, but not enough to warrant a disclaimer from the proprietor.

THE REST

Mrs. Mahathay insisted that they put their money into their pride: their meat, and not in their building.  That is evident from looking around the restaurant furnished with three small diner booths, an old TV showing a cooking show, a counter filled with pictures of friends and notable athletes/politicians and a basic refrigerator filled with sodas. It's not much but they don't care, and neither do their customers. While I waited for my food, three regulars came in and were greeted by the woman, picked up their usual order and paid their anticipated amount. From the moment I entered, there wasn't a second that wasn't filled with the woman's friendly conversation. It's clear that Billy and his wife live to work hard to serve their community with smiles.

There were two jars of brightly colored liquids underneath signs advertising "Kool-Aid Pickles" to accompany your meal.  Unfortunately the jars contained no pickles during our visit so I went home without a sample.

THE VERDICT

It really is a shame that a place so highly regarded with such likeable owners would spoil their meat with a sickening amount of syrupy sauce.  You cannot ever let your guard down in East Texas, no matter how highly rated a joint is.

I saw nothing at Billy's to warrant another special trip just to try the meat sauce-free.  Therefore my memories of the meat are going to be stuck in that thick sauce.


Address: 1601 N. Main, Jasper, TX 75951
Phone: 409-384-8384
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11AM - 6PM

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*All Grades Are Based Solely on the Quality of Texas BBQ Offered at the Joint. We Aren't Looking for Burgers or Catfish!

My Grading Scale:


A = This is some of the finest BBQ you'll find anywhere. It is worth a roadtrip in itself along with any required wait.
B = This is very good BBQ, even if it is over an hour away, consider making the drive.
C = This is just average BBQ but it's worth a stop in a pinch.
D = This is a poor example of Texas BBQ. Even if it's the only place around, skip it. Apologize to any non-Texans that have eaten here.
F = This is not only a bad Texas BBQ, it is probably not suitable for human consumption.

 
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