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Jan 30, 2006 03:36 PM

Visiting Austin -1st time

  • c

Fortunately I am coming in to visit with natives, so the only placeI know we'll go to is the SaltLick. Where are good sushi, authentic Mexican (from sit down to taquerias) and maybe Thai places? And the best brunch? Thanks.

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  1. s
    Steve in Austin

    If you want REALLY good BBQ, see if you can get the group over to Lockhart to Smitty's, Blacks or Kreuz Market. All those places sell much higher quality brisket, sausage and ribs than Salt Lick BY FAR.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Steve in Austin

      Although I am a dyed in the wool Bostonian, I have made the pilgrimage to Lockhart and have to agree that all three are superior to Salt Lick. Wasn't crazy about Kreuz (too big a place) but loved the other two with Smitty's maybe edging Black's by a small nose...

      1. re: Northender
        Steve in Austin

        You've got a great taste for Central Texas BBQ my man. Smittys and Kreuz buy the EXACT same cuts of meat from the same provider, thus the ONLY differences are in seasoning and smoking. For some reason, the old brick pits at Smittys just impart a better flavor to the meats than the new stainless steel pits Kruez uses. I agree that Kreuz is the worst of the three as their meat also appears saltier. Blacks is my favorite in the state for brisket and sausage and Smittys is great for prime rib, pork chops and sausage.

        1. re: Steve in Austin

          Thanks for the boost. My cousin and I are flying in again next week and we are going straight from the airport to Lockhart. The first time we visited Lockhart, we tried all three on the same day. This time it will be either Smitty's or Black's and then back to Austin.

          1. re: Northender
            Steve in Austin

            Here's a tip that you might use for buying some of Black's brisket "To Go". Ask the meat guy to bring out a "new brisket" and cut you "a hunk" out of the middle, maybe two pounds or so which will be about 8 inches wide.

            DO NOT have them cut it in slices for you. Have them wrap the thing in foil and refrigerate until you need some. Carve off your slices and reheat in oven or microwave. This will last at least a week in the fridge.

            Both Blacks and Smittys sausage can be frozen and Smittys sell some GREAT homemade weiners already frozen. These can be found in the front meat market section of Smittys.

            1. re: Steve in Austin


              Thanks for the tip! 2 days and I'm there. Already salivating.

          2. re: Steve in Austin

            Um, the new Kreuz is using brick pits. That said, I prefer Smitty's after a bad Kreuz experience a couple of weeks ago.

            1. re: Greg Spence

              For pictures of Kreuz's and Smitty's pits, see the link below. The photos are from Pacific NW Chowhound ExtraMSG's recent trip to Central Texas. I don't think he's posted a written report of the trip yet.

              As for the pits, Kreuz's do have steel plates instead of brick on the firebox end. But, in style, construction, and function, they're very similar to Smitty's. (Though, per Robb Walsh, Kreuz Market uses gas-powered pits to do most of the cooking on its sausage rings.)



              1. re: Scott

                That explains the really poor (kind of mushy, if you will) texture of the sausage on my last visit. Really disappointing. I was such a Kreuz man.

                1. re: Greg Spence
                  Jim Washburn

                  Kreuz Market sausage ain't what it used to be. I've been eating it since 1970. City Market in Luling still makes great sausage.


      2. Natives ought to know better than to try and find good barbecue at the Salt Lick. In town, try lunch at House Park Barbecue at 12th and Lamar. For Mexican, try Las Manitas between 2nd and 3rd on Congress and Curra's on Oltorf. For Sushi, Mushashino at Greystone and MoPac is excellent. Hands down top Thai is Madam Mam's on Guadalupe at Dean Keeton. For a great interior Mexican brunch, try Fonda San Miguel.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Greg Spence
          Steve in Austin

          I tried House Park for the first time about a year ago and can say I was very unimpressed. Brisket had that "mushy" feel of being leftover and reheated. I can't imagine with the short hours they are open that they do enough business to keep the briskets "fresh".

          1. re: Steve in Austin

            I had a sliced beef sandwich there today and it was excellent. I would think extended hours would result in "held" meats. The meat in my sandwich was straight off the pit and the place was crowded. You may want to give it another try.

        2. d
          Dallas Alice

          Although I agree with the other posters that you can get better bbq in Lockhart and Luling, the Salt Lick's locale and ambience make it worth a visit -- and, if you're not as obsessive about bbq as Texans, you'll really enjoy the food, too.