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Jan 1, 2007 02:22 PM



I've eaten a lot more bbq in the two years since living in AUstin than I care to admit - certainly more than is likely that healthy. I have been to most of the BBQ joints within 40 miles of here and have made it a personal endeavor to hit every one in Austin - regardless of reputation - to form my own opinions. I have read with great interest and enjoyment the BBQ threads on Chowhound and have occasionally chimed in. This time, I have to comment on a couple recent experiences.

The BAD - I have been enamored with Black's Jalapeno sausage and they recently started adding cheese. Bad call for my taste buds.

The FANTASTIC - The prime rib at Smitty's in Lockhart is worth a day trip - and fortunately is but 30 min. from Austin. Folks, get to Smitty's and fill up on prime rib that's something like 7 or 8 bucks a pound. Ridiculously good, nicely seasoned, smoked top notch beef. Seriously, it's a sublime piece of BBQ from one of our state's best pits. In my opinion, nothing at Kreuz comes even close. My second favorite beef in the area was the brisket from the now closed AUstin's John Mueller's - and better than his relatives in Taylor. Now he's in Bastrop. Good sausage too. But I dream of that prime rib.

I had the JERK smoked pork ribs at Hoover's downtown Austin (Manor) and was very impressed. They were sort of blackened, not charred, not too fatty - and fell tender off the bone with wonderful smoky hints of allspice and a touch of heat (could have been much more habanero laced for my jerk tastes though). Great ribs!

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  1. I believe John Mueller's in Bastrop is closed now also unless he's reopened in the past month. His brisket and pork ribs were top notch.

    1. I am also a fan of the prime rib at Smitty's. It can be approximated with a home smoker, by the way, but you have to raise the cooking temperature close to 350 to be able to get the crispy exterior.

      1. I had prime rib at Kreuz and Smitty's this past Friday and Saturday, respectively. I had had Kreuz's prime rib before, and the experience at that location was similar to last time: Great flavor, but overcooked. Prime rib should be no more than medium rare.

        Smitty's, on the other hand, was fantastic. Perfect medium rare, good smoke penetration and great crust.

        I still prefer the brisket and sausage at Kreuz, however.


        1. Check out Cooper's in Llano. It's excellent - try the cabrito, awesome pork chops, brisket, and surprisingly good chicken.

          Their sauce is my all-time fave, too.

          This past weekend I had GREAT ribs from Peete Mesquite in Marble falls, right on 281.

          1. i am debating whether to go there for a weekday late lunch, or pick up saturday morning--any suggestions on when's the better time? (i.e. is the flavor better the earlier i go there?)


            4 Replies
            1. re: cervisiam

              Generally, the best time to hit a bbq joint is between 11:30am and noon. If you go too late (say, after 1pm), there's more of a chance that your food has been sitting around drying out.

              1. re: Brian Lindauer

                My experience exactly. We didn't get to Kreuz until about 2:00PM on Friday, and the brisket, while flavorful, was only warm in temperature and pretty dry. Thankfully, the sausage was a good as ever (but again, not hot). I've learned my lesson: If you can't make it before noon, expect a diminished experience.

                1. re: bsnelson

                  thanks for the replies--now another question! :) how does the meat travel? i am thinking of going early saturday monring, definitely going to smitty's, maybe kreuz's (although that's cutting it close on a return back to the airport).

                  at smitty's, i'd like to get a box of cold sausage, brisket and prime rib--but should i just bring a huge tupperware? or even a cooler?

                  1. re: cervisiam

                    I once brought a fully cooked brisket from Salt Lick back to my family in Colorado in a cooler bag (provided at the airport location). We reheated, per directions, on a gas grill and it was great! I'm know the fresh-off-the-pit version is better and there is some degradation relative to that, but when you're going someplace that doesn't have a remotely comparable pit, this method works fabulously!!