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any early reviews of J. Mueller's new 'cue?

please those of you that have dined today, can you report back?

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  1. That's going to be a tall order considering he's not open. Trailer due for inspection on Thursday.
    If you do a cursory search for "John Mueller barbecue" or "JMueller BBQ" you can read reams of info on all the latest haps

      1. I went yesterday with my cohort for a second lunch, and we arrived just before 3:00. There was a parking space, the line was short, and St. Arnold was offering up free beer. Within about 15 minutes of waiting while having an Elissa IPA and a Lawnmower, respectively, we had our food: half a pound of fatty brisket, two pork ribs, coleslaw, and potato salad. I loved it. The brisket was hot, tender, and decadent with lots of melted fat throughout. The ribs were spoon-tender. Both were well-seasoned. The potato salad was the kind I really like, which is almost like mashed potatoes, quite savory, and without big pieces of potato, celery, onion. Those who like chunky and/or sweet or mustard-y potato salad might be disappointed in it, but I thought it was great. The coleslaw had a chipotle mayonnaise-based sauce which I also really liked. The only thing I wasn't overly impressed with was the barbecue sauce, which was thin, red, and (I think) cumin-y. It wasn't bad at all; I'm just not all that into sauce anyway unless it's something really special like the espresso sauce at Franklin.

        All in all a great experience. Service was friendly, too. I would definitely choose this over waiting an hour & a half at Franklin at least some of the time. But, who knows what the standard wait will be like at J. Mueller in a few weeks, or a few months.

        8 Replies
          1. re: hlk

            is that $7/half lb? Pretty pricey 'cue, almost as much as Franklin. How would this compare to the lockhart joints which are much more reasonably priced?

            1. re: chrisdds98

              Very competitive based on what I had, particularly if they can consistently produce brisket & ribs of that quality (I wish I'd had enough room to try the sausage). I love the whole Lockhart experience, but find the brisket, for instance, to be amazing at Smitty's on some days and merely decent on others.

              It was indeed $6.99 for a half pound. I don't know where that pricing comes from. It's an awfully convenient location for me, though.

              1. re: chrisdds98

                Blacks is $12/lb ( http://www.blacksbbq.com/restaurant/r...). Kreuz is $11.50/lb (http://www.kreuzmarket.com/onlinemenu...). Can't find Smitty's online menu but I thought they were more like $10.50/lb

              2. re: hlk

                Oops - you got my sauce in the beer picture :-) I hadn't quite finished cleanup yet. That was me hanging out and sharing my Q with Frank (St Arnold's) since he couldn't wait for his kickback.

                All the meats were fantastic except the pork loin, which I found hard and dryish, as if it missed the brine bucket. I didn't try the pork loin until later in the day so maybe it had dried out on the pit too much by then. Definitely a winner for brisket, though. The supermoist turkey was an unexpected surprise as well. The pork spares (St Louis cut) were almost too tender. I like mine to stick to the bone a little, with some tooth to them. But they were the most tender of all the meats (or at least right up there with the brisket). I didn't try any of the sides and barely tried that sauce (as you can see).

                1. re: sqwertz

                  I wish I'd known it was you!

                  My compadre also thought the ribs were a bit too tender, although he's not really a fan of ribs in general.

                  1. re: hlk

                    Sorry, I should have been wearing my Chow T-Shirt and Chow Name Tag. But just add 20 years and <mumble> pounds onto that picture at the left and - what - it wasn't obvious? ;-) I don't think there was many people there from the online food forums Chow and Yelp. Less than 7. A couple austin.food veterans, though (Frank and I).

                    1. re: sqwertz

                      Sorry, I should have been wearing my Chow T-Shirt and Chow Name Tag

                      Where do I get my Chow T, don't care about the name tag, I know my name.

                      Thanks, Uh,uh,Joe

            2. My friend and I went by there today. We got there at 11:30 and there were maybe 7 people in line in front of us. It moved pretty quickly. At its peak, there were only a max of 10 people in line, and hardly anyone by 12:30 when we left. The parking lot was a bit chaotic though - this will be a problem once the crowds pick up.

              And my guess is that they will, because it's really good, Mueller has the name recognition, and people who don't want to wait 2 hours at Franklin's can head over here and eat some great bbq too.

              The brisket, which is of course the way to measure any pitmaster, was excellent. We got the moist brisket, and it lived up to its billing - incredibly tender and flavorful. The bark wasn't quite as thick and the seasoning maybe not as vibrant as Franklin. But when it's this good, the reviewer who makes such comparisons is basically splitting hairs.

              We got the St Louis style pork ribs, and frankly they were nothing to write home about. Kinda tough, and a rub that didn't taste like much. Maybe the beef ribs were better - they were the first thing to sell out.

              The sausage was excellent, top tier stuff. It's a very plump beef sausage link for $2.25, incredibly moist and delicious.

              As someone else noted, the sauce is pretty thin. It's a decent compliment on the brisket, but nothing you'd write home about.

              All in all, a very good experience. I'd recommend going in the next week or two, and particularly for weekday lunch, before the crowds descend and madness ensues.

              1 Reply
              1. re: heyzeus212

                I went today also. The line was 20 deep but moved really quick. The moist was top notch as was the sausage. The sauce is more like a sop, which I grew up on, so I like it a lot. I feel little need to wait two hours when I can pull up and eat within 15 minutes. I would personally park in the hood until the building is done. Quite a bit of parking will free up when that happens.

              2. Today's visit (1:30 PM) revealed OK brisket and good sausage. BBQ is an erratic science and I'm a fan of Mueller's art so I'll try at least twice more before making a formal assessment.

                1. My two UT lunchmates and I hit it last week and all agree that the moist brisket, if you can get a good bit of crust on your slabs and the sausage is top notch. and I really enjoyed the garlicky zippy slaw too. the ribs were a bit less delish but still good, and the sauce is yes, more like a mop, but as I remembered it 5 years ago from John's place. welcome back! We are pleased.

                  1. I just picked up some Mueller's on a whim as I was driving by... I'm so surprised I haven't made it sooner, since I live probably a quarter mile away. I arrived at around 4:00, so I was expecting them to be sold out... turns out it was just a weak day due to the gross, overcast weather.

                    I've gotta say– I'm very pleased and impressed. The moist brisket is great, as is the sausage. Granted I got it late in the afternoon, I'm sure it would have been even better had I gotten it when it was fresh. The potato salad is a little different than what you might usually find around here, as somebody said earlier. I like it a bit more mustardy, but this is pretty damn tasty. Also, the cole slaw is great. As for the sauce it's loose but still very good. I'm happy this place popped up... Sure, Franklin BBQ is better, but I'm just not a fan of busting my ass to go get lunch at 11AM.

                    Welcome back, Johnny.

                    1. We went a couple of weekends ago. There were about 20 people in line. We sat there for about 5 minutes and the line didn't move at all and we left. This is the exact reason my husband refuses to go to Franklins. I'm afraid I'm doomed to Live Oak (good meats, not so much on the sides or sauce).

                      Please, PLEASE hear us and do something about the long waits...Ruday's can do it. Why can't Franklins and Mueller's?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: amysuehere

                        If the demand holds up, I'm sure Mueller will pick up more help. On the positive side, I'm really enjoying Live Oak; really not a bad plan B!

                        1. re: tom in austin

                          If I can smuggle in some mustard for the potato salad and a different sauce for the meat, I'd go more often...

                          My husband thinks it's right below Franklin, but absolutely refuses to wait in the eternal line at Franklin's. It's a real bummer for me.

                          1. re: amysuehere

                            I know Aaron and Stacy Franklin through a mutual friend... from what I understand, they're trying as hard as they can to get more smokers and therefore be able to serve food longer (gasp, maybe even all day!). Obviously there's just so much buzz about them right now that people are going nuts and doing ludicrous things like getting in line at 10:30 AM for lunch. Hopefully the mania will subside, they'll get more smokers, and they'll just become a nice local institution that won't be such a chore to visit.

                            Also, I'd imagine Aaron's going to have to find some kind of assistant pitmaster. Dude gets up at 3AM every day to make BBQ. Sheesh. I couldn't do that.

                      2. I finally made it yesterday and ditto what the others are saying. Great sausage and almost great brisket. At 12:30 on a beautiful Thursday there were two people in line--and a fair crowd finishing up lunch. Welcome back, ShelessJoe. We look forward to a brick and mortar.

                        We are living in a Austin barbecue renaissance and should all feel blessed by this.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Carter B.

                          That building there at the back of the lot is supposed to become their brick and mortar restaurant. Somehow...


                          1. re: sqwertz

                            Overheard that the building is leased until the spring so it'd probably be summer at the earliest before a move to the building would happen.

                        2. I went yesterday, so here's my report.
                          I got there at 12:30, with about 10 or so ahead of me in line. The line moved relatively quickly, and John was greeting everyone in line. About half the menu was crossed out at that point, but my game plan was to order a pound of brisket...and something else. Something else turned out to be the bone-in pork loin, which was cooked nicely, moist and not over-seasoned. I got the potato salad as a side-though I noticed they had chips as well, and I love chips with BBQ-and as it was pretty muggy already, I thought some cool potato salad would be nice. I didn't care for it, I tend to like chunky, tart potato salad and this was, umm, not-chunky and not-tart.
                          Oh, and Big Red in a can. You know it. But who goes to BBQ places for sides?

                          On to the show. The brisket was a slam-dunk, moist, marbled, with an amazing crust. My question was not whether it would match Franklin's, but would it match Louie's, and the answer is a resounding yes. Whenever the question has come up with guests as to whether we should visit Lockhart or Elgin, my answer has always been Taylor, the pater familias of Texas BBQ for this guy.

                          And this is where it gets really interesting in terms of comparisons-the BBQ sauce was OUTSTANDING. Now BBQ sauce is of course controversial, but I'm from the Deep South, and we love sauce. It seems kind of ridiculous to me to heavily season meat, smoke it for hours, and then talk about the sanctity of the flavor of the meat. But I digress. Sorry for being Yelp-y. JMueller's sauce is of the spicy tomato-based family, with chunks of peppers in it, and it is wonderful. Given Louie's treatment of the sauce as a mere after-thought, this was an amazing surprise.

                          So here's how it stands for me after one visit.
                          Louie Mueller 1A
                          JMueller & AFranklin 1B

                          1. I'm stunned by the positive reviews of this place. Our experience was disastrous. Maybe we were there on an off day. But if a day can be this compltely off, I won't try again. I certainly wouldn't waste a calorie or craving for cue on the crap this guy served us.

                            Here is my review from another site to provide the details.

                            What a disappointing experience. We arrived about 10:45 yesterday (Friday) eager to try the BBQ that we had repeatedly heard compared to Franklin. The line wasn't too long and moved quickly and before we knew it it was our turn to order. That is when things started to go bad. The man taking our order and slapping our food on a tray seemed to have put on his b@#chy britches that morning. He started out complaining that he had to go out to the smoker to get our prime rib, and his snippiness continued throughout our interaction with him. That's okay. I'll put up with a b@#ch who can cook, but then came the food.

                            But then we got to the food. The pork ribs were awful! Horribly tough and dry. The flavor was good, but the ribs were so tough they were more like jerky than ribs.

                            The brisket was much better. It was moist, had a nice smoke ring, had good flavor. The only problem was the quality of the meat. It was super fatty. I like moist brisket, but where there is just as much fat as there is meat, and the fat is still intact and hasn't melted, that is just nasty. We ate it,, because it was the only really edible thing on the plate. But I will slap anyone who compares this crap to Franklin's fabulous brisket.

                            Next was the prime rib. Again, poor quality of the meat. Again just as much fat as meat and the fat was still very much intact. And the meat was far from tender. In fact it was so tough that we couldn't come close to cutting it with the plastic knives provided and we had a hard time even knawing through it. It went into the garbage.

                            Last we had the sausage. It was good, not great. One of the better things on a tray now filled with inedible (literally could not chew them) ribs, and big strips of fat from the brisket and prime rib. Couldn't save the day though.

                            The sides were good. If you are a vegetarian, I could see coming here and could even see how J Mueller could get favorable reviews when compared to Franklin. Other than that, there is no saving grace about this place.

                            1. I stopped by for a 1:45 lunch on Friday, There was one guy in line ahead of me so no wait at all.

                              I am thoroughly impressed. I ordered the moist brisket and a sausage link. During my very brief wait, the server gave me a piece of bark to sample and I was very grateful and hopeful of things to come. My order was to go and I had to be in Cedar Park so that was a long time to wait with that aroma in the car.

                              The wait was really worth it. I sampled the brisket first and it was very delicious, melt in your mouth and the right amount of seasoning and smoke. LOVE this brisket. I can't wait to take friends. The sausage was quite good and had some heat, cooked crisp and tender inside. I'd be happy to have it again but may not be able to give up the brisket for it.

                              I know it's only one visit and there are variables but, based on my experience, I'd say it's up there with the best.

                              1. New hours, now open Tues-Sun from 10:30-6 (or he sells out). If you don't want to wait, he also takes call-in orders. I'm not sure how this escaped so many people - it's right on the website and on signs at the trailer.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: brentwood

                                  I just saw it in the Facebook feed. It was only announced yesterday. And again today.


                                  1. re: sqwertz

                                    I meant the call-in orders, but thanks.

                                2. We've moved a discussion of John Mueller's departure from JMueller BBQ to the thread at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875857 If you want to discuss that news story, please weigh in there. If you want to discuss the food at JMueller BBQ (and any changes resulting from this recent development), this is the place to do it. Thanks!