Houston's settlers built their city on a barbecue bayou, and for decades their city sunk 2 feet a year into the smoky, tangy quagmire until they found a solution: drain the swamps of the sauce and slather it on their ribs. Eat your way out of a hungermire with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of fare and drinks at Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que. Founder Willie whips up Louisiana-style fare, inviting diners to don bibs, goggles, scuba gear before diving mouth-first into a smoky molasses marsh. Pitmasters slow-smoke succulent ribs, beef, chicken, and homemade hotlinks in the restaurant's backyard, and then partition them into fresh-off-the-spit dishes such as the baby back ribs ($14.95). Unlike the bathtub, Willie's is a great place to bring a crowd, serving family-size meals such as the #3, a pound each of pork ribs, hotlinks, beans, and potato salad, a full chicken, and a side of bread ($48.80).
- Definitely go, and go hungry. The family combinations for two to six people … include enough good food (barbecue, two sides and cornbread) to leave your body — and your soul — satisfied. – Lynn Jacobson, Seattle Times
- But it's what's out back that made me drool in anticipation: stacks of wood and real barbecue cookers, the kind that look as if they're made out of old oil drums. Turner, who grew up in Tallulah, La., slow-cooks brisket, ribs, chicken, hot links and pork shoulder on those grills. The smoky quality doesn't come on too strong, but you can taste it. – Leslie Kelly, Post-Intelligencer
Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que
Smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. If that's the case, then Willie Turner must be in a constant state of reverie. Willie grew up in Tallulah, Louisiana—and it was there that he fell in love with slow-smoked brisket, pork shoulder, and other smokey barbecue staples. When he moved to Seattle, he brought that same passion, along with authentic recipes for made-from-scratch soul food, with him. Willie's Taste of Soul Bar-B-Que stands as a slow-smoked tribute to the southern cuisine of its proprietor's youth.
Naturally, Louisiana-style barbecue anchors the menu, much like brontosaurus ribs anchored prehistoric ships. First, Willie covers brisket, ribs, chicken, links, and other meats in his signature rub. Then, he slow smokes them for hours on end, creating impossibly tender entrees. Finally, the dishes get some home-made sauce, resulting in barbecue that The Stranger praised as being "worth the trip down south to Beacon Hill."
Not everything emerges from the smoker, however. Willie and his team also fry chicken (which pairs nicely with waffles at breakfast), and they cook classic soul food sides from scratch, including biscuits and greens. Their tour de Louisiana cuisine ends on a dulcet note with plates of cobbler. As for drinks, just look to a cooler filled with Faygo and Jones Soda.