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Long Horns VS UCLA Game

Hello All,

10 of me and my friends are flying down from NYC to see the game vs UCLA. We will be staying near the downtown area with no car and want to try out some serious texas BBQ. Any suggestion for something in walking distance or a short cab ride? We will be in town from Sept 24-26 and we are all in our late 20's. Thanks in advance.

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  1. If you want to walk, the only real options downtown are Lamberts or Iron Works. If you want something closer to the top of the scale, take the short cab ride to Franklin BBQ. Get there when they open or you might not get any brisket. The other top notch places you always hear about in central Texas are NOT a short cab ride away. The places i mentioned all have web sites for you to check out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PappyAustin

      I second Lambert's, and agree you should get there at about 10:45.

    2. I really like Franklin, but the wait has gotten nearly untenable. There are times it feels like I could have driven to Lockhart in the amount of time I've stood in line. I don't know what it'll be like on game day.

      In East Austin, near MLK and Airport (about 5 minutes east of the stadium depending on traffic) is Danny's BBQ. A small outdoor outfit who took over for one of Austin's greats, Lewis BBQ, Danny's turns out good brisket and might be worth a trip.

      The area between campus and the Capitol building is filled with state offices, and on gameday they open the parking lots and garages to tailgaters. If you're polite, most people will be open and very friendly, even to opposing fans, and there are usually some very very good home cooks smoking briskets, making fajitas, etc. Just don't mention 66-3 and we'll be fine.

      Hook 'em!

      1 Reply
      1. re: brentwood

        yeah, the last time I went I queued up and was just at the end of the tent and still waited 45+ minutes. I was thinking I could be at Coopers in this time...

        Have you tried Old School BBQ? I would think they'd be at their Manor location on game day. I haven't tried them, so I can't say whether they're good or not.

      2. Sorry, Rippin, but the serious Texas BBQ isn't in the cities, but in the more rural areas. You should resist the temptation to go to either Stubbs or Iron Works downtown, as they are not representative of what you want. Lambert's is good food (I would particularly recommend their Sunday brunch), but it's a fancy restaurant that just happens to serve barbecue.
        If you're here early enough on Friday, you might consider catching a cab to House Park. Be aware that they are only open M-F from 11 to 2:30, so if you get in after 1:00 or so, you'll be out of luck. Alternately, you might also consider Sam's on the E. 12th. Open until 3 am or so on weekends. Neither of these places are top-notch, but they're probably your best bets given your circumstances.

        4 Replies
        1. re: gilintx

          agreed

          1. re: gilintx

            I think that's a bit harsh. There's no place within city limits that approaches the best barbecue in Taylor, Lockhart, Luling, or Llano. But when you're coming from NYC, where Hill Country and Blue Smoke are dishing out inferior brisket and clod for $20/lb, there are plenty of places inside city limits (including the Iron Works) that might be worth a trip.

            Eating while traveling is tough, and can involve weighing budget, time, transportation, familiarity with the area, other commitments. We recently took a trip and the Chowhound advice was occasionally useful, but just as often frustrating, especially when it came to regional specialties.

            1. re: brentwood

              The OP asked for "serious Texas BBQ." Should that be dumbed-down because they're not from around here, or should I give them their best options given their logistical limits? I believe I did the latter.
              I would hate to send someone to a so-so joint by telling them it's great when I'm well aware it's not. Iron Works may well be better than the two places you mention in NY, but that's not really the point. I'd much rather extend our best welcome than offer up a sub-par interpretation of the chow that Texas is best known for.

            2. re: gilintx

              Sam's BBQ on E. 12th is a treat and a short cab ride. Brisket, sausage and pork ribs are hard to beat. The BBQ sauce is a tad sweet for my taste, so I always order it on the side. It seems like every movie or TV show shot in Austin features a glimpse of Sam's. There's also a great short video called Sam's BBQ on YouTube that captures the essence of the place. It's also open after-hours, till 3 or 4am. I think the NYC folks will have something to talk about for a while.

            3. Although not necessarily hard core bbq, and not really a short cab ride away (though not that far either), I really like pokejoes and rudys. The sausage at rudys is heavenly, as are the creamed corn and new potatoes. Poekejoes has really good brisket, and all of there sides are good, too. Hook em horns!!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: shalom9

                I've actually been munching on Rudy's recently, and would agree that it's a pretty decent approximation of the real deal, especially if you eat there. The beans are a little weird, but the potato salad is passable, the moist brisket is actually pretty good, and the St. Louis ribs are also not too shabby. They even have hunks of cheddar cheese, just like the country markets (not sure who eats cheddar cheese with their BBQ, but apparently it's a thing). Not sure if there's a Rudy's w/in a 30 minute drive of downtown, though.
                When I lived in the neighborhood, I would occasionally go to the Pok-E-Jo's on 5th. I thought the sides were pretty decent, but the meats themselves seemed not quite right. Meat was overly peppered, and though there seemed to be a lot of bark, there was not that much of a smoke ring. The sauce only made it worse (though in fairness, a Texan should never have to sauce their 'cue). Perhaps it was just that location, but I often found myself going there and eating like a (gasp!) vegetarian.

              2. I would rarely suggest Salt Lick for their BBQ, but if there's 10 of you it might make sense. No, it's not at all walking or cab distance, but if you can work up some group transport out there (we'd often get a party bus) you can take a pony keg or cooler out there on Friday night and have a very Texas experience. It's BYOB only (dry county).

                If you want to stick downtown Ironworks is "fine." It's not down and dirty Texas BBQ, but if you're a group of 20 somethings I personally would suggest Lamberts. I'll likely head there while in town for the game.

                Also, you might want to work in some Tex-Mex. If you're from NYC (I live there too) it'll be a vast improvement. If you're from California originally (like me) you might scoff, but you just need the right mindset and you just might actually enjoy it. Many places are good for groups. At the very least you can load up on margaritas and make fun of queso dip.

                See you at the game. Go Bruins!

                1. A long walk down the drag or short cab ride.
                  Ruby's (not Rudy's) has some pretty good BBQ, and better sides than most BBQ spots. Also, cold beer, and a pretty good Austin vibe.
                  Anthony Bourdain liked it, FWIW.
                  Maybe it's not as good as the best of Lockhart, but it's pretty darn good, and you don't have to wait in line and they probably won't run out of meat.

                  1. After such a terrible game, I hope y'all at least found some good cue.

                    \m/

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: DoobieWah

                      Terrible game? I thought it was great!
                      Hit Lockhart as soon as we landed, went to Smitty's, Blacks & Kreuz's. Black's brisket won, hands down, in our opinion. Thought it was so good we went back before we jumped on the plane. Great weekend.

                      1. re: otisdog

                        Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree about the game!

                        Glad you found some good meat though. I would hate to live *that* far away from Central Texas Barbecue; especially if I had to wait until the, "next time" we invite the Bruins back to Austin.

                        Could be a while...

                        \\m//

                        1. re: DoobieWah

                          Well, my brother-in-law just had his 40th birthday, and flew out meat from Blacks- it traveled very well! Plus, I got to take home a half of brisket (he bought alot!). Since UT will never invite UCLA back for football, it's good to know that I'll be able to get my fix without flying to Austin.