Best Barbecue Only You Know About...
Preferably within 90 or so miles of Austin.
I'm looking for the tarpaper shack style barbecue joints.
I've been to the ones that are relentlessly celebrated and they are good.
But it's time to branch out....down the county roads....near the railroad tracks....under the overpass....out by the quarry.....only open on Sunday....sideyard of a mobile home court....from a converted steel drum.......you get the picture.
Bad part of town?Not a problem.No telephone?Couldn't care less.Cash only?Perfect.
Just point me in the general direction.Give me a vague idea of what to expect and I'm racing out there and will report back with great haste.
On our way back from Austin going to Houston, we stumbled upon Peter's Bar-B-Q. It was on Hwy 71 (301 Hwy 71, Ellinger, Tx) and we stopped because it said Jerky, but it was just that Oma's brand, which we aren't crazy about. But they had a buffet lunch for $6.95, and if you wanted it with Bar-B-Q it was $7.95. I am still kicking myself in the rear for not spending the extra dollar for the bbq option. Someone else got that and gave me a couple nibbles, and it was really good. The buffet had an odd assortment of thing, like fajita meat, that was delicious, but no tortillas, enchiladas, some of the freshest tomatoes (no seasoning on them at all) I have ever had, but it was in July, many other offerings, and sweet rice! Good old cooking. The man behind the counter, Peter maybe, was a grump and seemed very unhappy even being there, but a couple of the cooks came out to refill trays, and they were on the old side and sweet as pie. I have no idea the hours, but it was packed with locals. Call 979-378-9115. If you look at reviews, and there aren't many, you will not get a good feeling about this place, but I would go back in a heartbeat. And it is pretty much a shack type place.
Well, I'm not the only one who knows about it; plus, it's more than 90 miles from Austin. But I'll still recommend Austin's BBQ in Eagle Lake.
The brisket's good; they raise their own "cabrito" (which is an occasional special on the menu, though they always sell live goats); and their sausage is just lovely. Even the sides and desserts are tasty, which is more than you can expect from most barbecue joints. I've been going there for years—though less often, now that I'm living in Austin. I'd say the chow's just as good as ever.
By the way, they seem to have a website now (http://www.elc.net/austins/Menu.htm ), but don't hold it against them! I'm guessing that you'll enjoy the drive, the converted-gas-station ambience, and the delicious sausage.
There is a Cooper's in Mason north of Fredricksberg. I don't know if it is the same as the one in llano but it is good. You wait outside at the pit to make your order. The guy opens the giant grill and you pick out your meat, they also have cabrito. Then he goes in the room, cuts the meat and weighs it. You pay inside where he cuts the meat and the room is the size of a medium sized walk-in closet. They have a couple tables outside and might have some inside seating but I didn't see it. It was good but the exprience was fun. I think the pork and the chicken are supposed to be good. I had brisket that was good the sauce was interesting.
I like The Smokehouse in San Antonio for a decent place without driving to lulling. Their brisket sandwich is good but not awesome. It's not really a dive, but it looks like a dive that grew a bit. It is across from Ruben's Tamales on Rigsby.
Be sure and go to the one in Driftwood. We used to live in San Antonio and went about once a month. I am from North Carolina and grew up on Eastern North Carolina BBQ. When we lived in Texas I missed North Carolina BBQ. Now that we are back in NC, I am missing Salt Lick BBQ. We are planning to move to the Austin area in 2009. I am looking forward to being able to go back to The Salt Lick.
I'm very partial to Spyke's BBQ in Kingsland. It's about 15 miles west of Marble Falls on FM 141, just before you cross the river into Llano county. Daily specials (ribs on Wednesday, 4 ribs/2 sides for $6.95) pork tenderloin on Fridays. We live in Marble Falls and it's the only BBQ we ever eat any more.