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Jun 24, 2004 02:30 PM

Austin BBQ

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Best friend just moved back to Texas from Seattle. He has moved to Austin and is in desperate need of a Texas BBQ fix. I'm not that familiar with Austin, but I remember reading in Texas Monthly that some of the finer Q joints in Texas are in that area.
Can anyone hook a brother up? If there are places that have live/good music and good Q- that would be awesome as well.

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  1. Unfortunately, first rate 'cue and music don't really mix here in Austin. I think the best barbecue in Austin is found at John Mueller's on Manor Road, maybe a mile (or less) east of campus. It's excellent in every way. Use it as a benchmark.

    Next, I like House Park Barbecue on 12th just east of Lamar. Excellent meats but remember it's weekday lunches only here.

    Bert's on MLK has the ever popular Turbo T-Man (like a Frito pie made out of 'cue) but since that's not purely barbecue, you'll have to judge for yourself. Still, with a pork rib chaser, the Turbo T-Man is a fine way to get a combo 'cue and junk food fix.

    If you're willing to make an hour drive out of town, I'd have to include Lockhart, Llano and Luling on the list but we can talk about that another time.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Greg Spence

      Virgin post!
      The best in Austin is John Mueller's. The meat is perfect, but the sides suck @ss. Salt lick is the opposite, wonderful sides and horrible meat.

      The best no one knows about is Southwest Market on Hunter Road in San Marcos. Everything I've had there is great...brisket, shoulder, homemade sausage, pork chops, and a great mustard/vinegar sauce that is a refreshing change from the tomato heavy variety.

      1. re: achtungpv

        the best bbq is definitely john mueller's...the pork ribs, the homemade beef sausage, the brisket, the turkey, the two different sauces...and the homemade potato salad. you won't find anything better in austin.

    2. Artz Rib House on S. Lamar, whole not exclusivly a BBQ joint, does have great live music.
      The link is not Artz, but has some good photos of his food.


      1. Of course, asking a bunch of Texans who has the best barbecue is like asking a bunch of Italians who has the best spaghetti sauce -- everyone's got their favorites and there's no consensus.

        But as for me, the only in-Austin BBQ joint that I personally ever recommend is BBQ World Headquarters, which is located on the grounds of the Farmer's Market. I've linked to it below.

        Other than that, I'd much rather spend the extra twenty minutes or so and drive to Lockhart. Which your friend really should consider anyway.


        1 Reply
        1. re: ChrissieH

          The link I posted to BBQ World Headquarters in the post above doesn't work. Sorry.

          But this one does:


        2. g
          George Angelo

          For really good Texas BBQ (typically beef brisket, sausage, ribs) drive to Black's BBQ or Smitty's Market in Lockhart (30 minutes SE on US 183), Cooper's in Llano (an hour west on SH 71), Louie Muellar's in Taylor (15 minutes east of Round Rock on US 79) or Southside Market in Elgin (15 minutes east on US 290). ALL of these places will be better than any BBQ in the Austin City Limits. Also, make sure and don't go to the "famous" Salt Lick, it is a tourist trap with below average meat, way above average prices AND a long wait to boot. Good luck!!!

          6 Replies
          1. re: George Angelo

            I don't understand all the Salt Lick bashing. I have been going out there for 25 - 30 years and have ALWAYS
            had good food and a great time. I will NEVER go back to Black's. Talk about an overpriced tourist attraction. Smitty's is still the place to go in Lockhart. Southside is not the same since it moved out to the highway. And come to think of it, why doesn't anyone ever mention the County Line. Most of you people out there are just plain food snobs!!! You know, there are some people who think that saving up to go out to Outback or Joe's Crab Shack, etc. is a real treat. Not everybody has money to burn.

            1. re: beercoop

              >>Most of you people out there are just plain food snobs!!! You know, there are some people who think that saving up to go out to Outback or Joe's Crab Shack, etc. is a real treat. Not everybody has money to burn.

              Well, duh! Why would anyone be on this site if they weren't a food snob? And by snob I mean discriminating. Believe me, if the people who frequented this site were fans of Joe's Crab Shack and Outback, I would not be asking for their recommendations.

              As far as Austin proper, John Muellers is my favorite, but plan on a lunch because they run out of food by 2 or 3 and then close for the day. In Lockhart I like Smitty's, and in Luling, City Market.

              1. re: beercoop

                This has to be the first time I've ever heard Black's referred to as a tourist attraction! With the Kreuz barn down the street practically jammed with tour buses all week, I don't know how you came to that conclusion. In any event, I was at Black's yesterday, and once again enjoyed the finest brisket in the state, and some tasty sausage as well. I hit City Market in Luling on Monday, and had great brisket and ribs as well.

                I haven't been to Salt Lick, but with Lockhart so close, why bother?

                1. re: TommyBoy

                  On the way back from Rockport a couple of months ago, 2 buddies and me tried to stop at Chisolm Trail in Lockhart. The line was out the door, so we headed over to Blacks (Smittys was closed). There were maybe 10 other people in there and the food was just ok. I seem to remember that the ribs were pretty good, but for what we paid it was not worth it. I have lived in Austin my whole 52 years and always knew that the locals never went to Blacks but did go to the old Kreuz's.

                  1. re: beercoop

                    There's a Chisholm Trail BBQ on McNeil and 183 - is that any relation to the one out there?

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      No. I live close by and stopped in there to watch some March Madness and asked them. Haven't tried the cue, but the beer was cold.

            2. Salt Lick - not really overpriced, not all that great, but really fun if you have a group of 10 people who drink a lot, and you've just come from a swimming hole. Usually, when I'm drunk, I'm not as snobby about BBQ and it tastes great.

              County Line - overpriced, but if you have a client in town that doesn't know any better, and you are on an expense account, and you want a nice view, then its just wonderful. Food is mediocre to OK. Good for people who can't handle a rustic place.

              Artz - If you like baby back bbq pork ribs, then get a whole slab here and listen to sometimes good bluegrass and cheap shiner bock and you are on S. Congress. Avoid the back "country style" ribs. Sides suck. Don't take a shower before you go, but you may need one afterwards. i love this place.

              Green Mesquite - I only go here after swimming in Barton Springs. It reminds me of college. A friend of mine and I, trying to maximize the few $ that we had back then, once ordered a whole BBQ chicken, no sides and 2 beers. It was pretty ugly. The food is pretty good, there's all kind of things to order, but the BBQ is simply passable. But I usually order chicken and sausage here to be safe. Best peach cobbler in the world last time I had it. Different sides than some places. Couple of hot waitresses there. My personal favorite BBQ sauce in town.

              Mueller's on Manor - getting to the BBQ dork type atmosphere. Here's the deal: gruffy men behind the counter make you feel stupid because you should just order meat by weight and no sides and eat with your hands like Bangladeshi peasants. Patrons "in the know" will sneer if you order a plate. Since I already knew that, I was cool and was able to sneer at my friends. Absolutely wonderful brisket - the criteria are 1) char 2) smoke ring depth 3) smoke flavor 4) moisture. Great on 1, 3, and 4. Ribs were the same. Nice pepper char, slow cooked and pink inside.

              Cooper's in Round Rock - I've never had anything decent there but the pork loin clod thing, which was excellent, but I can do that at home pretty easily in an achiote orange etc. marinade, which is better. Brisket dry on several occasions. Good dry cooked sausage.

              'Bout Time BBQ on McNeil Road. Scary place in a strip mall. Mediocre sides. EXCELLENT BBQ! I was shocked. The brisket, although it looked dry when they were slicing, was very moist. A thin but flavorful smoke ring. The char had a nice, but light spice to it. Ribs were similar, it looked like they had been slow smoked for a long time. I didn't ask what type of sausage they were serving, but it was full of cracked pepper and was good quality. Drove around back to find a huge industrial smoker. Sides OK but not memorable, order the corn cob. Sauce could use a lift.

              BBQ World HQs on Burnet Rd - On several occasions, some of the best brisket I've had. The last time, it was just OK. Interesting sides.

              There is ad nauseum discussion of the lockhart/luling places etc. filling up half of this board below. These are veteran smoke markets that do wonderful jobs, but you can't always drive out there every time you want BBQ. Plus, you don't want to get spoiled. Try to have a good time wherever you go.

              Never go to a bbq restaurant late in the evening. Find out when their first briskets come off the line.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rudeboy

                FYI, BBQ world HQ just changed hands. Any Idea how it is under new ownership?

                1. re: Greg Spence

                  Hmmm - I wonder when that happened? I did notice the last time I went there, it wasn't quite the same. That was about a month ago. I chalked it up to a bad day, or a substandard happens with BBQ.

                  I know that the previous owners were passionate about their brisket.....