Courtney Ray Goodson aims to bring people together with her family’s tried-and-true recipe for peanut brittle.
By Kaiti Neuman, Photos by Melissa Glynn
The first thing most people do when they have a bite of something delicious is turn to a friend and say, “You’ve got to try this!” Courtney Ray Goodson, founder of Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle, is well aware of this and firmly believes in the power of spreading love and togetherness through food. She hopes to encourage these same feelings in others through her great-uncle’s peanut-brittle recipe, which she believes was created as a way to spread happiness and liven up any conversation or gathering.
“He is Mr. Peanut Brittle himself,” Goodson says of her great-uncle.
Goodson launched Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle in November 2017. After a successful first holiday season, she decided it was time for the next step. Armed with hope, a vision and some seriously tasty brittle, Goodson approached various stores, knowing few, if any, would be interested in a product from such a tiny and new company. But then she caught the attention of Central Market, which featured her products in May for its Go Local event. She hopes to eventually expand by landing her product in as many stores as possible, but right now, Goodson is focusing on bringing her many flavor ideas to life. (Spice lovers be on the lookout!)
As far as product appearances go, Goodson sought to combine the old with the new. The brittle itself looks and tastes as though it could be fresh from your grandmother’s baking tray, except for maybe the bacon pecan brittle, which packs so much flavor that Goodson says it’s “the gift that keeps on giving.” Her brittle’s brown-paper packaging is simple and classic, with the slightest suggestions of modernity, giving the treat inside even more of the homey, old-fashioned feel that Austinites love. With a crunch that can be heard easily across a quiet room—something Goodson worked hard to achieve—this is a snack meant for laughter and lively conversation.
Goodson has not been alone on her journey of creation, receiving support from friends and family in pursuing this dream, especially from her mom, her mentor and Uncle Ray himself. She attributes much of her success throughout what she says sounds like “the most overwhelming I’m- probably-going-to-fail endeavor in the world” to the people she loves believing in her.
Goodson aims to pass on that support through the company’s Crunch for a Cause campaign, the goal of which is to raise awareness and funds every year for a different philanthropic cause. This year’s cause is cancer research and was developed in memory of Clayton Prawl, a longtime fan of Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle.
“The spirit of the brand, to me, is very hardworking, gumption and connection,” Goodson says. “And I feel like he was a person who had all of those things.”
After so much success in only a few months, Uncle Ray’s Peanut Brittle is just getting started. “It’s kind of been a whirlwind, but it’s been moving,” Goodson says proudly. “Now I’ve got to keep it moving.”