Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018
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Fat Mac’s Smokehouse, Beaumont, Texas

Smoked Perfection

Various barbecued meats on platter from Fat Mac's

Man seasoning meat over briskets

Liberally seasoning the meat with Fat Mac’s secret dry rub and slow cooking is the secret to great ‘que says smoke master Weldon as he prepares several briskets for the smoker.

A terrific place to go for bar-be-que in Beaumont, Texas — and we think one of the best ‘que places in the country — is Fat Mac’s. There are plenty of BBQ styles and Fat Mac’s smokes his meat with a secret dry rub recipe and then serves a mild and hot homemade sauce on the side.

They offer brisket, pulled pork, turkey, sausages pork ribs, and chicken — all smoked to perfection in two giant wood-fired smokers fueled. They also serve Boudain, a silky textured sausage made with rice, meat, and spices. “Slow cooking is the secret to great BBQ,” says General Manager Michelle Wollschleger. “Take your time with it. Don’t rush.”

And at Fat Mac’s they take their sweet time and it shows in meats that are moist, smoky pink with just the right char on the outside, yet not overly smoked. Out back in the pit room, Weldon , the night manager and master smoker, liberally rubs big slabs of brisket with Fat Mac’s prized dry rub.

Despite an open double door, the pit room’s heat is searing. Walden doesn’t seem to notice. Every so often, he stops to toss another red oak log into the fire box that fuels the big, black barrel smokers. “These smokers can hold eight half cows,” he says, turning the brisquet on its side to make sure every part of the meat is slathered with the spices. “Our brisket takes 12 hours to cook. When it doesn’t bleed anymore, we know it’s done.”

Fat Mac’s is a casual kind of place where you order your que at the counter, serve, serve your food in paper containers, and wipe your hands on the rolls of paper towels. It’s the kind of place guys in from the local energy company feel comfortable coming in for lunch in their big boots and bright orange coveralls.

Man checking on briskets in large pit

Weldon checks briskets in the giant pit room smokers. Beef brisket takes a full 12 hours to smoke.

Mac’s offers traditional BBQ sides — green salad, creamed 
corn (called corn pudding), potato salad, kidney beans, and dirty rice, a traditional Cajun dish made with white rice cooked with chicken livers and giblets that color the rice a “dirty” brown. The green salad, that is offered with both commercial bottled dressings and a delectable, house-made ranch dressing, is romaine chock full of tomatoes and two kinds of shredded cheese. The beans, are brown sugar sweet and tasty and the dirty rice has a rich, meaty flavor without being too strong. The other sides are less successful, but, not matter, customer come her for the meat and it’s good, really good.

While this reviewer isn’t usually fond of uncooked BBQ sauce, Fat Mac’s is the exception. The regular sauce is slightly sweet. The hotter, thicker version, is redolent with a deep complex flavor with vinegary notes and a lovely kick of heat that stays on the tongue. Both sauces can be purchased for home use at the restaurant.

If you’re in the Beaumont area, Fat Mac’s Smoked BBQ is worth a stop. If you’re not in the area, it’s worth the drive. —BH

Fat Mac’s Smokehouse
555 Calder Ave
Beaumont, TX
(409) 892-8600

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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.