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Feb 28, 2012 07:35 PM

"Supper" Barbecue?

In addition to some extended barbecue trips over the weekends while I'm in Austin next month, I'd also like to try some of the in-town barbecue places during the week. The thing is, most days I'll be working until 6:00-ish, so those "we close as soon as the barbecue runs out" places are probably out. Also, with SXSW in town, maybe staying away from the immediate area where that's going on would be a good thing, too (although I'll be there for a few weeks after SXSW is over, too).

So, which places have the best barbecue in the evening? Places that have enough turnover that I'll be getting "fresh(ish)" brisket, and not something that's been sitting in a steam tray all day. I'll be staying toward the south side of Round Rock and in the Arboretum area, but for good barbecue, I'll travel.

Thanks in advance...

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    1. Texas Rib Kings is open until 8 during the week and 9 on weekends; they usually have most of their meats available until closing, although the beef ribs have been known to run out.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ret3

        I had Texas Rib Kings last time I was down there - they were pretty good in the evening, and very convenient to where I was working. I had a very good brisket sandwich, and some decent - for that time of day - pork ribs ( full review of the trip here: ).

        Thanks for the suggestion.

        1. re: greghoffman

          I also like TRK, right down the street from there is Mann's Smokehouse too. I think Rib Kings has the edge between the two of them, but have had good stuff at Mann's.

          1. re: willtryanythingonce

            Mann's is good, too. The only disappointment I ever faced there was the Brunswick stew, and I think that's mostly because I had no idea what it was that I was ordering.

            1. re: ret3

              +1 for Mann's. I love their pork ribs and pulled pork. They even have the vineagar sauce to go with the pulled pork.

      2. +1 for Stiles Switch, I put their smoked beef ribs on par with the very best BBQ Austin has to offer and well above anything I've tried at Mann's and Texas Rib Kings - solid, just sort of baseline BBQ options akin to Rudy's, another solid, but IMHO overly salted, dinner choice. Rudy's baby backs usually please me enough but overeat them and you'll be salt swollen the next day. All these are relatively close to your stays.

        6 Replies
        1. re: slowcoooked

          I'm surprised to hear that about Rudy's because everything I have ever had there has been bland, bland, bland. Granted I have not had the baby backs though. I will have to give Stiles Switch a try, but for pork ribs I don't think you can do better anywhere than Texas Rib Kings.

          1. re: danny_w

            Update: I just ate lunch at Stiles Switch with a coworker. Unfortunately neither of us was impressed, especially for the price (major sticker shock). At least the service was friendly. I had the beef rib, original sausage, and beans. The beef rib was mostly all fat (and over $7 all by itself!); now I remember why I never order beef ribs. The sausage was very good, but overpriced. The beans were canned (or so they seemed). My friend had the pork ribs, brisket, and turkey; he stated that my sausage was much better than any of his. He also said that texas Rib Kings is far better for everything that he had.

            Too bad, I was excited about trying a new bbq place, but I don't think we will be going back there.

            1. re: danny_w

              Their prices are in ilne with most BBQ places. BBQ in Texas ain't cheap.

              1. re: Rptrane

                You're right of course about the places that charge by the pound or half pound, but I am more used to the places that have combo plates and/or "specials" like the Young-n-Old at TRK. I can usually get all I need at TRK for $5.49 plus tax, so over $13 today for half as much food (and not nearly as good to boot) seemed a little excessive.

              2. re: danny_w

                Yeah Danny I admit I only had that beef rib once but it was great, not overly fatty and nicely crusted. I was in heaven for that lunch. But the 'Switch has had some consistency problems I thought they'd ironed out, but maybe not. The pork ribs there to me are tasteless. The house sausage is made at a little shop in Taylor and I love it when it's on the drier side. I'm gonna have to give TRK a try. Sometimes if it looks huge and like a chain I run, but I'm perhaps being a bit snobbish.

                1. re: slowcoooked

                  I think you will like the pork ribs at TRK, as I am not the only one on this board that seems to like them a lot. That is the only thing that I get there, so I can't really comment on anything else.

          2. I've read a few things about Sam's BBQ - including the pants-meat scandal. How's the barbecue there?

            6 Replies
            1. re: greghoffman

              Overrated. It's more about the history at this point than the food. I've gone twice in the past year, pre pants-meat, and the brisket and ribs were both barely edible.

              1. re: greghoffman

                Sam's known for their mutton, which is superior. The rest of the menu is not going to curl your toes, but it's passable. Not to damn it with faint praise, but it's better than places like Stubb's or Pok-e-jo's.

                It's certainly a fun spot to eat late night - after midnight, you can feel the ghosts in that building.

                1. re: Alan Sudo

                  yeah, i was gonna say it's more about the hours than the history or the food at this point. is it the best BBQ? probably not. is it the best BBQ open that's still open after the bars close at 2am? maybe. Most of the time I've been there, the food has been pretty tasty, but i concede there may have been, *cough* mitigating circumstances afoot.

                  1. re: willtryanythingonce

                    wait, is Sam's still open? I haven't been by there in a while, but I thought they got shut down after that meat-theft scandal. What happened with that?

                2. re: greghoffman

                  You always get different answers with bbq. I get by Sam's every month and a half or so and always like the brisket. An old fashioned sandwich on white bread for 4.50 is a steal. They cook it to tender and smokiness, like about everywhere, differs. Atmosphere is amazing. I do try to park my car right in their doorway though....

                  1. re: BTAustin

                    As I have said on another topic the only thing that Rudy's has done in the 17 years I've worked 200 yards away on 183 is raise their prices. Their ribs are either bland or heavily salted. Which comes from them using the rub they sell. The sausage is very pedestrian. I can get a better link from Earl Campbell and not have to pay four bucks. The brisket is inconsistant and again overpriced. The only thing about Rudy's that is accurate is the sign that says Worst Barbeque in Texas. They're right. Freinds don't let freinds eat at Rudy's.

                3. While it's no Franklin BBQ, one of the places I've always stuck with as far as utility-anytime-you-want-it BBQ is Green Mesquite. Nothing there is gonna blow your mind, but I think it's tasty enough. You can order your brisket lean or fatty, and the sausage, ribs, sausage, turkey and chicken are all worth a taste. I especially love their potato salad.

                  Like I said, nothing that'll change your life or you'd call artisanal. It's just good sh*t that's tasty and isn't going to wreck your wallet or leave you disappointed. Plus, nice people work there and they have music outside on the patio, which is probably ramped up during SX.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: popvulture

                    Actually, their wings are my favorite. I personally think they're the best in town...a plus is that nice back patio, and schooners of Shiner.

                    1. re: amysuehere

                      Yeah I'd agree as far as actual BBQ restaurants where you can go any time of day and just have a nice meal. Franklin is fantastic, but I don't have any desire to get in line at 10:30AM. Mueller's sells out later, but I don't think they make it to dinner hours.

                      Other than that, you've got Artz (ok), Ironworks (I really think that place kinda sucks), Ruby's (can't say I've been, so can't comment), and the County Line, which is good but is a bit of a hike. I haven't been to Stiles Switch, but want to try it. Uncle Billy's kinda reminds me of high school cafeteria grade BBQ.

                      Of course there are always the farther out places (Salt Lick, Louie Mueller's, Cele Store, Lockhart spots), but I think GM is a great place if you're just looking for something friendly, easy and tasty right in town.