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Aug 6, 2007 05:55 PM


Hi all:

I'll be traveling to Austin for the Austin City Limits festival in September with my 11 year old son....we are staying downtown(6th St vicinity) and would like y'all's recommendation on the best down home, finger lickin', lip smackin' BBQ in the area.......


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  1. My favorite is County Line BBQ, though some will tell you Salt Lick or various other places. I haven't been to any bad ones, that I can recall. Even Rudy's, which is a local chain and more fast-foodish, is still quite good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: qgroff

      I like County Line best, too, even better than Kruez (BLASPHEMY!). I get the Big Daddy (beef ribs), have them wrap half of it to go before it even gets to the table (two meals for $17), ask for a big bag of dog bones from the kitchen (for my dogs--really), and leave a generous tip for all the extra work. My husband likes pork ribs, but pork cannot take the all-day cooking. They are never as good at a restaurant as they are from my backyard grill. Beef ribs. The Big Daddy. That's the ticket.

    2. Oh man, here comes 10 pages of replies and recommendations...not that it's a bad thing. There are so many good ones, but I would recommend Artz rib house, Po-ke Joe's, The County Line, Salt Lick and Bert's B Que. Everyone has there favorites.

      Where are you from and what are you looking to try? Brisket, Ribs (pork or beef), sausage, chicken or all of the above? Some of these places have better items than others, but I really don't think that you could go wrong with any of these.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Centexraider

        from S Fla....I definitely like brisket and ribs the best....looking for a "non-chain" experience right in downtown....both of you as previous posters recommend County Line or Salt Lick? this the place to go?.....where is it located with reference to 6th St? thanks!!!

        1. re: alex613

          Neither County Line or Salt Lick are close.

          House Park BBQ is close to downtown, but is only open on weekdays for lunch. Iron works is downtown also. They are good, but they are pretty expensive. Ruby's BBQ, just north of campus, has very good brisket, but I can't expound on other options.

          There are some East Austin options that I will let other posters expand on.

          1. re: alex613

            I'll throw in Ben's Longbranch and Sam's on the east side, though, if you have time, no place in Austin beats the cue thirty minutes down the road in Lockhart ( ).

            Ben's Long Branch Barbecue
            900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702

            Sam's Bar-B-Cue
            2000 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702

            1. re: Twill

              Agreed, Lockhart is the place to go. Downtown Austin 'cue is surprisingly mediocre considering the reputation of Texas. If Kruez's in Lockhart will be too far to go, I'd recommend Ben's. They have a family style atmosphere in a extremely small crude setting. There is also a new joint in town located on Barton Springs Road, .5 miles from the festival entrance, called Uncle Billy's Brew and Que. It definitely has more of a commercial feel, but I've been there once and was very surprised to find a place with such nice finish out to serve good barbecue. Good luck and welcome to Texas!

              1. re: foodme

                Check out uncle Billy's on Monday for happy hour for free BBQ, chicken and brisket...the beer sampler is good for two folks...CHEAP

                1. re: foodme

                  Brought the family to Austin for the first time yesterday afternoon. Had some average pizza at Frank & Angies (perfect for the kids) and then watched the bats. Today we're going to Lockhart for Kruez's and Smitty's. Going to eat more BBQ than a human should.... Can't wait!

                  1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                    If you're wanting to be in that area, Joe's is just a block away (toward the river) and they've got very good food and bocci ball.

              2. re: alex613

                Brisket ??? Ya gotta go to House Park BBQ. 900 W. 12th Street @ Lamar, m-f lunch/cash only 11-2:30...Pork Ribs ??? 2 styles available @ the quintessential SoAustin Artz Rib House. Will be MOBBED during ACL. Try off hours. Live music nightly.For a great Eastside Austin rib experience, don't miss Sam's (Mutton ribs to DIE for) or a recent find of mine (care of "The Fearless Critic").Seek out Lewis BBQ, Waaaay East MLK, super tender/smoky pork ribs, ask'em for sauce-on-the-side.Happy Q Huntin' !

                1. re: alex613

                  Neither are anywhere close to downtown. The Salt Lick is in Driftwood Tx. and the County Line has a couple of restaurants, one on the hill and one on the lake. Try Stubb's BBQ on Red River near 8th or The Green Mesquite on Barton Springs. Both are also live music venues so you might catch a local act at the latter or national acts at Stubb's. Both are reasonably priced & have indoor and outdoor seating. They aren't the best BBQ joints in the area but neither one is at all bad and they aren't the ordeal of driving to Cooper's in Llano, Opie's in Spicewood or any of the many great spots like Kruez's (pronounced Krites), Black's & others in Lockhart (the undisputed BBQ Capital of Texas).

                2. re: Centexraider

                  ugh, pokejo had a place up where mopac used to end. my mom lived there and she liked it...I was ALWAYS disappointed
                  ...put me down for the Baby back ribs at ARTZ...for the last ten years or so...THE BEST...
                  I went to uncle billy's on Barton springs expecting to be disappointed...but the brisket was great...happy hour on Mondays...and the beer is great too

                3. Twill speaks the truth. You must go to Lockhart, specifically Kreuz Market. No sauce, no plates, no forks but great brisket, sausage, spare ribs, chops and more. Minimal sides. In town, if you want ribs I'd recommend Iron Works on Cesar Chavez a few blocks south of Sixth St. County Line also quite good but definitely less rustic than Kreuz/IW. Enjoy.

                  1. Just a quick note about County LIne. We went there (the one on 2222) Saturday at around 6:00. It was PACKED with kids. Moms and dads too.........but it was like eating at a daycare.

                    Please don't blast me and call me a kid hater. We just prefer to eat in a semi kidless environment. See what happens when you eat too early!!!

                    Neither of these are close to downtown sooooo.....this post was absolutely no help to alex613.


                    The best bbq I've ever had was the pulled pork kind. Southern style BBQ? I think texas is known for bbq beef.

                    1. We did a family tasting of Austin BBQ last Labor Day and the winner, by far, was Sam's. No ambience, very divy. But the brisket was smoky, tasty, tender and moist, with crusty edges. Amazing. Not far from downtown -- you probably want to take it back to your hotel or picnic somewhere nearby.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nosh

                        And Sam's is open very late (2 or 3 am) which may be helpful during ACL. Love the ladies that work behind the counter! So much fun.

                        1. re: Honey Bee

                          For many hints about places to eat around ACL, and also how to navigate the festival, see this thread: