Friday, August 31, 2012

Fist meal at Woodpile BBQ (Austin, TX)

On our table on the opening day of Woodpile BBQ (Austin, TX):

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aurora benefit at Stiles Switch

Some pics from last Thursday evening's Aurora benefit at Stiles Switch BBQ. THANK YOU, Stiles Switch (venue, food), John Edward Baumann (music), Saint Arnold (beer), & everyone who attended and donated. The money has been sent to Aurora. Every little bit helps, and this bit of help is thanks to all of you. Cheers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Louie Mueller Barbecue Training Camp!

This past Sunday, Wayne Mueller was gracious enough to host my NFL fantasy league's live draft  at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX. Now, he's offering all of you something awesome: Louie Mueller Training Camp. With a couple of clicks on your computer, you're in the running for a day of hands-on training at Louie Mueller. The "Apprentice First Class" (contest winner) will work for one day in Louie Mueller's kitchen and learn the process of wood selection, fire maintenance, meat prep/cooking, and carving. For the finale, the "Apprentice" will serve his/her prepared cuts of authentic Texas BBQ to 10 folks of his/her choosing.

How do you enter? It's simple: You don't have to know anything about football. All you have to do is go to this survey page and chose which one of the 20 teams will win the Texas BBQ Fantasy League's first championship. Each entry must contain all requested information to be valid. Chose the correct team and your name will be placed into a drawing with all other contestants who chose correctly. From this team pool, one contestant will be chosen at random to be the grand prize winner of the Louie Mueller BBQ Training Camp. Complete contest rules can be found on LMB's Facebook pageAll fans can follow the league and their selected team here

HUGE thanks to Wayne and all at Louie Mueller for this contest. I wanna win it myself but am not eligible!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

October 5 BBQ Bus: LOCKHART!!!

Fresh on the heels of this past Saturday's BBQ bus, time to announce our next one! For this one, our 4th pre-set trip, we're keeping it simple and making it ALL ABOUT THE MEAT. 5 hours. 3 BBQ joints. 1 town. On Friday, October 5, we're leaving Austin at 10AM and heading to Lockhart, famously known as "The Barbecue Capital of Texas." We'll be hitting up Kreuz Market, Black's Barbecue, & Smitty's Market. Family-style spreads at each! Back in Austin at 3PM.

Thus far, all of our bus trips have taken place on a Saturday. But, in addition to avoiding a conflict with college football, we want to test the demand for a weekday trip. So, we will begin selling tickets but won't run the trip unless 15 people purchase. If we don't reach 15, we will refund all purchases.

Verdict: Scrapping this trip. Looks like we'll keep the pre-set trips on Saturdays!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pre-benefit dinner at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew (Austin, TX)

Before our Aurora benefit last Thursday night at Stiles Switch BBQ, I had a little dinner there: turkey, pork rib, & lemon-vinaigrette slaw. Aaaaaand then later in the night, I had some brisket & beef rib off a buddy's plate. And another pork rib.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Backyard BBQ: Brisket

Every weekend, our neighbor Mike smokes brisket in his driveway. Smoke billowing. Smells awesome. You slow down when you drive by, simply out of respect. Couple of weeks ago, I pulled into the driveway and took some pics of what he had going on in the smoker (Our 26th Backyard BBQ submission, for those of you keeping track.):

Saturday, August 25, 2012

BBQ bus or bust!

I'm up and at 'em, loading down coolers and packing goodies for the fine folks who are gonna spend 10 hours today on our bus trip to Llano & Spicewood. We'll be making 5 stops: 2 BBQ joints, 2 wineries, & 1 coffee roaster. I'll be tweeting throughout the trip via @texasqtours & @ManUpTexasBBQ. Follow along! Want us to put together a trip just for you? Let us know. Visit

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is there too much BBQ in Austin?

I love posting announcements of new BBQ joints opening in Austin. Had several recently, in fact. But I don't love posting announcements of closures, and I've posted several such announcements. Austin has dozens of BBQ joints. Are there too many? Is the market too saturated? Will I inevitably be posting more RIP announcements?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hill's BBQ Market opens in Austin!

Welcome to Austin, Hill's BBQ Market! Located next to Lowe's at 3301 Steck AVE, Hill's is brought to us by 5 Austin friends whose mission "is to provide the best All Natural 'Never Never' BBQ that you've never had." The "Never Never" means their meat was never given any antibiotics and never given any growth hormones. The restaurant got some awesome exposure today via Thrillist Austin. Stay up to date with them via Twitter (@HillsBBQMarket). Anyone been? I'll be making my first visit next week!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First in line for Woodpile BBQ opening!

Yesterday, I posted a pic of Levi Smith, Woodpile BBQ pitmaster, taken before he opened his trailer window for the first time. Before I post pics of my meal, might as well keep it chronological and post a video from before the trailer opened. It's none other than Man Upper Jacob Reach, who was first in line for the opening. It was Jacob's 4th time to be first in line for the opening of an Austin BBQ joint. So, a little Q&A before lunch...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Levi Smith, pitmaster of Woodpile BBQ (Austin, TX)

Levi Smith is the latest addition to Austin's burgeoning BBQ scene. His Woodpile BBQ trailer is open on Saturdays, and 2 Saturdays ago, I stopped by for his opening (pics to come). While Levi was looking good for the camera, his lovely wife Rachel was in the trailer prepping for customers! Typical man, right, ladies? Looking good in the front of the house, while the lady holds down the fort in the back of the house. Just kidding, I asked Levi to pause for a pic. He was manning the pit and running around getting everything ready, sweating up a storm. Anyway, the money shots:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Live NFL Fantasy Draft & All-You-Can-Eat Buffet this Sunday at Louie Mueller!

I announced last week that, inspired by the FX show The League, I'm starting an NFL fantasy league. Well, I really am, and I've partnered with Louie Mueller Barbecue's Wayne Mueller, who knows exponentially more than I about fantasy football. Wayne is actually participating in the league, too, and is gracious enough to host the draft. AND WE WANT YOU THERE! Here's the skinny:

What: Texas BBQ Fantasy Live Draft
When: Sunday, August 26, 2012, 
Where: Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, TX)
Why: Because it's an amazing idea. Wayne will set up an all-you-can-eat buffet of brisket, baby-back ribs, slaw, beans, pickles, onions, bread, and tea. Just $25 + tax. AGAIN, AYCE buffet from start to close. Food will be served around 12:30 (no later than 1) and run thru 7PM. Draft starts no later than 2PM, and doors close at 2:30. One hundred (100) public seats are available. LMB kindly asks attendees to RSVP. BYOB. AND door prizes, both from Man Up Texas BBQ and from Louie Mueller. Speaking of prizes, one very lucky attendee or even non-attendee will win the grand prize: Louie Mueller Barbecue BOOT CAMP!!! How?

After the conclusion of the live draft but no later than Tuesday, Sept 4 at 10 PM CST, fans can submit their choice (method of submission TBD) for eventual league champion. All fans correctly choosing the championship team will be placed into a random drawing. One winner will be selected. The winner of the random drawing will receive the right to attend a Louie Mueller BBQ Boot Camp, a oneday training session at Louie Mueller Barbecue with Pitmaster and Texas BBQ expert Wayne Mueller and his crew. The 'Apprentice First Class' will build and maintain fires, trim, rub and cook meats and serve his/her final products to (10) special guests of their choosing.

Team owners (or relatives) in the Texas BBQ Fantasy League are not eligible to participate. Commercial BBQ persons / Circuit BBQ competitors are not eligible to participate. Winner will be required to consent to nondisclosure and noncompete agreements and liability waivers with Louie Mueller Barbecue. Date of Louie Mueller BBQ Boot Camp TBD. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Backyard BBQ: Pork Butt

Our 25th Backyard BBQ submission is a pork butt from Brian Graham (@BrianGraham15), of Atlanta, GA. He topped it with homemade peach BBQ sauce. How'd it turn out, Brian?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Backyard BBQ: Brisket

Our 24th Backyard BBQ submission: brisket from Matt Wilson (@matt_5prc):

Friday, August 17, 2012

Texas BBQ Fantasy Football!!!

I recently began watching the FX show The League, and it inspired me to form an NFL fantasy league via Twitter. We've already filled 10 of the 20 available spots. Who wants in? Need some incentive? league is having a live draft at Louie Mueller Barbecue! Oh, yeah, forgot to tell you. LMB's Wayne Mueller is in the league. So, if you want in, email me or contact me via Twitter. First come, first served.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aurora benefit 1 week from today!

One week from today, we're throwing a benefit for the victims of the tragedy in Aurora, CO. The event will start at 5:30 at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. We will take donations at the door (100% of which will go to Aurora.), but even if you don't wanna donate money at the door, just have dinner, grab a drink, and listen to the music. Stiles Switch is graciously donating a portion of all dinner sales. The picture below was sent to me this morning via Twitter. It's from today's Austin-American Statesman, to which we are so grateful for the coverage. Hope to see you next Thursday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reader Review: Buck's Steaks & Bar-B-Q (Sweetwater, TX)

Reviewed by: Rachel Short (Austin, TX) 

The trip from Austin to Plainview and back is quite the trek for one weekend, even for five UT college girls. After several hours in the car, our stomachs began growling and even Josh Abbot tunes couldn’t distract the hunger pangs. Finally, we stopped in Sweetwater, and the thought occurred to me: barbecue. As a previous student and current twitter-follower of Drew Thornley, I decided to put my “ManUpBarbecue” thinking cap on and attempt to be a bbq connoisseur. We had two options: Big Boys Barbecue or Buck’s Steaks & Bar-B-Q. Unfortunately, our Sunday drive ruled out Urban Spoon’s more popular choice, Big Boys: closed Sundays. So Buck’s Steaks & Bar-B-Q it was! An extensive menu didn’t stop us from all ordering the same thing: chopped brisket sandwiches. What can I say? Girls will be girls. Never fear! Some would say critiquing is what we do best.

The brisket was a tad dry and slightly overcooked. However, the barbecue sauce did gain a few points. The flavorful sauce was a bit spicy with a sweet, tangy flavor. A side of potato salad had a good onion taste but nothing to brag about. Other side options included macaroni and cheese, baked beans, cole slaw and corn bread. The macaroni and cheese had an interesting texture of mayonnaise that wasn’t to my liking. And not one of us finished our baked beans or cole slaw, which were both mediocre. The portions were generous and buffet-style options gave you the choice to go back for seconds. But would you? Possibly for some more bbq sauce or an extra roll. Choose the roll over the cornbread for your bread option. The cornbread lacked a certain moistness that the rolls more than made up for. Literally, the rolls melted in your mouth! Peach cobbler for dessert was a free friendly gesture by our waitress. The cobbler had a thick, flaky crust but the peaches were a little too syrupy. The sweetness overruled the tartness, which in my opinion, a good balance between sweet and tart is a necessity for cobbler.

After a few more swigs of iced tea (not brewed to its fullest potential), my first bbq critiquing experience with the help of four friends came to an end. Note to self: Next time when road-tripping through Sweetwater and want barbecue, make sure it’s not Sunday and choose Big Boys Barbecue over Buck’s Steak & Bar-B-Q.

Buck's Steaks & Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Barbeque Mercantile opens in Austin!

On Saturday, I stopped by the grand opening of Barbeque Mercantile, a grill/smoker shop at 5003 Burnet Road in Austin. Owners Kathy & Ed Bousquet were gracious, friendly hosts. Previously, they and the shop were in Colorado Springs. But Kathy, a Texas native, and her husband, Ed (Where are you from, Ed?), have returned home to continue their work. Back to the grand music, jerky, all kinds of meat samples, and a pristine shop of grills, smokers, grilling/smoking accessories, sauces, rubs, etc. Here are the pics I took: