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Pork BBQ in Austin

Hello all ! Just moved to Austin a couple of months back from Virginia, and while I am loving the Texas BBQ (new to me) I am having a really hard time finding good pulled pork BBQ. Maybe you all could help me out with some local places you recommend. I have tried a few places around, some ok, some really bad.

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  1. Franklin bbq has pulled pork which is ok, but their pork ribs are amazing... and the brisket is pretty damn good too

    1. Here's a list of a few places that I can think of right now. I grew up in Georgia and every so often get a craving for some pulled pork. All of these are serviceable but none as good as I remember from home.

      1) Lambert's: 'fancy' bbq downtown. I generally like everything here except the bbq. I really like the half price bar menu for happy hour. http://www.lambertsaustin.com/

      2) Mann's smokehouse - 183 and Ohlen: Not bad and they even have brunswick stew. http://www.mannsbbq.com/

      3) Busters BBQ in Lakeway: I've only made it here once and it was ok. http://www.busterslakeway.com/

      4) Johnny T's Round Rock BBQ - on 620 near Round Rock high school: It's been a while since I've been but is was probably the best that I've had in town.

      5) Franklin - as mentioned already. Pretty good pulled pork but really long lines.

      6) Dickey's - a chain and not very good the day I tried it.

      7) Curleys Perfect Pig - a food truck downtown. I haven't been yet but looks like it has potential. https://www.facebook.com/CurlysPerfec...

      3 Replies
      1. re: ssouth

        We're good at ribs don't see much pulled pork. I've had it in Arkansas,Tennessee and Mississippi though, good stuff. We had a Red Hot and Blue for a while and I liked it alot. Seems like Whole Foods' pulled pork is okay. I go to the Gateway store but I'm sure they have it at the flagship too.It's quite easy to obtain anyway. Have you had it ssouth?

        1. re: BTAustin

          I always forget about the BBQ place at Whole Foods. I'll make a note to grab some the next time I'm in there.

          1. re: ssouth

            The pork butt BBQ at is not very good. I've only twice a couple years ago but there was no reason a try it again. Each time asked for lots of bark and all I got was oven roast pork with very little smoke flavor. Also, you have to pull it yourself as they just rip chunks off of it.

            I smoke a lot of pork butts at home and nothing in Austin can top that. Brisket, OTOH...


      2. My favorite sauce for PP is really vinegary SC style, and I guess the closest thing we have to that in town is Franklin. I love their vinegar-based sauces, but they're a little different than what you'd find in SC. Plus you have to go at 10:30 AM.

        I'm originally from Mississippi, and recently got a hankering for a good PP sandwich. I went to Green Mesquite, whose PP is better than most places I've been in town. I got a side of slaw and put it on the sandwich like they do back home. It wasn't perfect, but it did the trick.

        4 Replies
        1. re: popvulture

          Also, to clarify, I should've just said Carolina or just general Southeast BBQ instead of just SC. When I lived in Brooklyn, there was this guy who ran a shop called Pies n' Thighs- I think it's still around. He was this hilarious dude from Georgia who played/plays in the metal sludge band Harvey Milk. His sauce was SUPER vinegary, like face puckering... I wish somebody would do that kind of thing here, because it was damn good.

          1. re: popvulture

            I'm a fan of the Carolina style also. That's whats so intriguing about Curley's Perfect Pig. However, I have the worst luck catching food carts open and this one is not really close to my house.

            Lately, I've been getting my pork with vinegar sauce fix from Coopers. Their big chop and sauce is a nice combination. I'm not a huge fan of their brisket, but I'll drive out that way for the chop and the beans.

            1. re: ssouth

              Another friend of mine said he and his wife went to Curly's the other day and spoke very highly of it. They have both North And South Carolina style. SC being with the mustard based and vinegar sauces. Definitely gonna try and get there this week and report back.

              1. re: KevinCooks

                Ah, so up around Toy Joy. I tried to look at their site, but it looks like their domain reg has lapsed. I'll definitely go check it out, too. I love brisket and all, but there have been days here when I would've paid like 30 bucks for a great pulled pork sandwich. Good to know.

        2. I'll second the Whole Foods pulled pork recommendation. It's my favorite in town. I haven't had it from Gateway, but I love the stuff at the flagship store downtown. For whatever it's worth, Mike Sutter (former Statesman food critic) also sang its praises.

          1. Okay folks I tried Curly's on 29th near campus on Friday and must say I'm pretty impressed. I lived in eastern NC as a kid and know good eastern style NC pork (e.g. the style of Parker's on 301 in Wilson is my all-time favorite pork anyhow anywhere). Curly's is more than serviceable, it's really good. His sauce of vinegar and red pepper flakes is authentic and his pork is slightly smokey, tender, and moist. I think it's 11 bucks a pound and that'll make three or four nice sized sammies with cole slaw on board too. This isn't as good as Parker's, but it's the best / only NC style pork this town has to offer. It's also just as good reheated up in a pan with a smidgen of water / vinegar sauce the next day or two.

            1. Made it to Curly's today for lunch and I have to say it is authentic NC pulled pork. Got a chance to talk to the owner for a minute. They are from Raleigh,NC. He was nice enough to give me a few samples of everything . The vinegar / red pepper sauce was fantastic , the pork was smokey, moist and very tasty ! It's definitely in some of the tops that I've had, and the best so far here in Austin . Also they had South Carolina style mustard based sauce. Which was tangy and really unique. Something I've never had. The one this that got me as well was their hush puppies ! These little gems are great! Carolina pulled pork topped with slaw, just the way it was meant to be !

              6 Replies
              1. re: KevinCooks

                Well, I'll be damned ! I'll get there as soon as I can !

                1. re: KevinCooks

                  I am thrilled about this. Gonna check 'em out. Went to college in Greenville NC, and have always missed good ol' pulled pork. And Parkers! Yes! That stuff was amazing...

                  1. re: KevinCooks

                    Yep! I'll echo what others have said. Went to Curly's today for lunch. $5.50 for a heaping sammich of pulled pork and great slaw. Wonderful sauces, awesome hush puppies. His pork is smoked over hickory for 15 hours. He's a nice guy named Jay. Just moved here 8 months ago from Raleigh and loves it. His wife took a job here and he followed. So glad this guy is here. He says maybe next weekend he'll try smoking a Turkey just for fun. Get out to him and try that pulled pork sammich! :)

                    1. re: blueclaw666

                      I'm unfamiliar with the regional variation, so can't compare on authenticity (whatever that means), but I went and really enjoyed my pork sandwich and slaw. I love vinegar-y tastes and liked that sauce, but gotta say the mustard sauce was just not my thing. It has an odd, almost-off flavor (and I really like mustard) that seemed to clash with the meat. Might just be a personal pref thing, and I'll still be back and just stick with the vinegar.

                    2. re: KevinCooks

                      We drove through NC this summer and most of the joints we came across are not smoking their meat anymore, they're using some electric contraption. It's missing the smoke flavor. Curly's beat out the stuff we had in NC - at least what we could find in the western part of the state. They're about to move to Round Rock, unfortunately.

                      1. re: addlepated

                        All the pork I tasted in SC lacked ANY smoke flavor. I went to 7 different places in 3 months and I only found one with any smoke (Henry's Smokehouse - Greenville). The rest was just roasted pork form the oven.

                        As far as I could tell, SC "BBQ" is a joke. And I'm not rushing out to try anything in NC, either.


                    3. johnny t's in round rock is a good choice too.

                      1. Also in downtown Round Rock is the Round Rock Cafe. I love their pulled pork sandwich. The chef is related to the Hudson's on the Bend family. He worked there and has been in Round Rock for about 2 years.(This is from memory which is shaky at best.) Anyway, they have great soups, salads and sandwiches. The only disappointment has been the brisket sandwich. Lastly, I concur that Johnny T's has good pulled pork.

                        1. Went back again yesterday to Curly's to give it another try. This timeI had the pulled pork on top of cornbread. Holy Crap this was good!!! Who would have though about having it on top? But it was really good stuff. here are some of the places I have tried the pork.
                          Ruby's-- horrible, it was tossed in red sauce, like that stuff you get in a container at the grocery store.
                          Iron Works- which was basically a pot roast
                          Whole foods- not bad at all. Pretty decent actually. But still a little over seasoned and was very chunky. Has to break it up myself.
                          Curly's- so far the best. The vinegar and slaw are superb with it. And now with cornbread. Something else I haven't seen much of here.

                          I want to get out to Round Rock now to try Johnny T's, hopefully this week.
                          Someone told me that you can call in to Franklins a day or 2 early and place an order. So need to give them a try as well.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: KevinCooks

                            Good cornbread is hard to find. Wonder if Curleys ever makes cracklin cornbread?

                            1. re: ssouth

                              Stuffed makes really good jalapeno cornbread.

                              1. re: ssouth

                                Well, since I have been getting some good information from this site I thought I should at least register and pass whatever good information that I learned to you. On a whim (after reading this thread) I stopped into curlys yesterday during my lunch and and gave it a shot. Quite honestly, I was a bit surprised. I didn't really expect too much coming in and I was really blown away!

                                I ordered the plate of pork on top of the cornbread which came with some fried hush puppies (awesome) and slaw. The pork was light, and flavorful without being over-smoked and over-seasoned, the mustard sauce was spot on and the slaw was delicious. I would go back again.

                            2. where is curly's located,like johhny t's alot.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nytexan

                                It was just one bock off of Guadalupe, on rio grande street. I used the Austin food trailers app on my iPhone after reading about it here, and it took me right there. Well, it gave me a map anyways.

                                1. re: DaFatMan

                                  Yeah it's at the light across from texas french bread and Breed and Co. on the south side of 29th street in between Lamar and Guadalupe. It's situated next to a Juice truck and a po-boy / New Orleans cuisine truck, neither of which I've tried yet but people seem to be happy with them.