Alexander's Barbecue,Cedar Creek Tx
Sometimes you stroke one out of the park.
After a long,meander out through the East Travis County countryside I find myself in Bastrop county and faced with the choice of rolling through downtown Bastrop or hitting Hwy 21 and god knows what.
I take the latter option and head West towards San Marcos.A few miles later I spot smoke rolling over the highway and decide to investigate,"could it be a pit fire?"
I see a small shack off the side of the road with some chickens scratching around and what appears to be a small business tucked away.
It's barbecue;Alexander's Barbecue to be precise.I approach the humble structure and peer inside through a screen window.A pot belly stove sits within,a cutting board is off to one side and some ancient photographs are tacked on the walls.
I start getting excited.A gentleman approaches and asks if I'm hungy.Inspite of the fact I have a belly stuffed full of Willies Smoked Chicken I answer yes and begin looking at the menu.
It's the classic Texas Barbecue Menu with Brisket,Ribs,Mutton etc.I ask for a pound of fatty,charred Brisket and a link of Sausage.The pit boss fills the order and we adjourn to the "patio",a couple picnic tables off to the side within spitting distance of the pit which is rolling blue smoke and good smells all over the place.
I begin my feed as Tom Alexander elucidates on what brought him to Bastrop county.His Great Great Grandfather was a slave in Tennessee and got sold to some Christian folks who'd started a church down the road and needed a cook.He rode in a horse drawn wagon to Bastrop County to begin his new life in this strange land.A hundred plus years later Tom fills me in on the history of the ancient stove in the cook shack[his Grandmother bought it on a payment plan of a dollar a month...some months she could only pay 50 cents but the company was kind enough to not repossess this treasure].The road near where we sat was where Tom and his brothers used to race each other as young boys....laying on it in the dead of night and feeling the heat of the day in their bones as they stared at the stars.
We talk about Austin and how when he was a young man he'd come into town to buy some new threads and compete in "Biggest Afro" contests.We talk about Catfish Station and how 6th Street used to be strictly for the rough and tumble set before the frat boys took it over.
I'll treasure his words for many a moon.
The Brisket is delicious.Not fork tender but filled with smoke and this man's good soul.The Sausage is nice and fatty with the skin popping rightly before the juice flows.This is fine,fine Texas barbecue in a picture perfect setting.
At the end of my meal we shake hands and Tom explains to me a good shortcut back to Austin.The late afternoon sun is all manners of purple and orange as I follow his directions, his tales echoing in my skull as I motor back up North to the big city.
Thanks for another great report. I was down that road a couple of years ago on a sausage run form Elgin down thru Lockhart and Luling and East Bernard and Eagle Lake on the way back to Houston but didn't notice Alexander's. I've gotten somewhat jaded about the big name places in Central Texas and passed them all up completely on my last trip up that way, but my interest in trying the less well known purveyors has increased.
Ever been to Eurestes Grocery in Waelder? I was there once several years go. Thru the swinging doors in the back of the grocery you enter a brightly painted dining area, then through a low passageway, the pit room. All he had ready at the time I was there were some links (mostly beef, a little pork included he said). Similar to Black's - not as good as Black's but very delicious on plain white bread to soak up the juices. I remember he said he did mutton - that was only the 2nd place I'd ever encountered that did mutton. Always intended to get back but never have.
No. There's a small store on one side of the road and right across is the V & V factory. A sign said 'Retail Sales' so I walked right in, startling the two women in the office. I guess they probably don't get much walk-in traffic and maybe that's for grocery store reps? Anyway, we had a nice chat and they sold me some sausages 'right off the line.' That's the best V & V I've had. It's served at Pizzitola's in Houston and is about the only reason I'd go to that Q joint; it was available for a while at one of the huge HEB's near me but I haven't seen it on my last visits there (don't go to that one very often).
I found both V&V and Eurestes several years ago when I was just starting to get interested in Texas sausage makers. I'm not sure where I'd rank either of them compared to my other finds.
I'd assume the store in Cistern sells V&V but I didn't check.
Keep up the good work.
Calvin Trillin would be butttons bustin' proud of you. I have friends in CC but they have never mentioned this place. Probably afraid I would visit too much if they did.