Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poll #3: Where is the best BBQ in Texas?

Thus far, Man Up has been limited to South Central Texas and the Hill Country. Some would argue that that's all we need. Are they right? Or is there BBQ as good or better in other parts of the state? Weigh in with a vote in our poll (right side of the page) and/or with a comment to this post.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Coming up this week...

1. Man Up's 2009 third poll

2. Man Up's 2009 overall rankings

3. Man Up's review of our first visit to The Pit (Austin)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009: Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, Texas)

Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, was our Man Up’s most decorated BBQ joint in 2008, so we were excited to make our first trip in 2009. Our party of 10 was Man Up’s biggest LMB trip yet, and it was no letdown after such fantastic visits in ’08. In fact, this was the most memorable visit yet, as we got to sit down and visit with Wayne Mueller, the owner. Quite simply, Wayne could not be kinder or more hospitable. He was such a pleasure to chat with. He’s a hard worker, and he certainly honors his late father’s legacy.

Lacey joined us for the first time, so her thoughts first. Brisket: Very nice flavor, but a little bit too tough for my weak mouth; Sausage: loved how it just crumbled in my mouth and the flavor was topnotch; Pork ribs: A little too much pepper; Turkey: I thought it would be hard to get over the Thanksgiving turkey hump, but this might be the moistest most flavorful turkey I have had the pleasure of eating; Cheese: What can I say? I love was the perfect flavor and amount.”

Bo absolutely brings the review:

“If you ever find yourself approximately 20 minutes northeast of Austin on a Texas Friday night in the fall, and are looking for some entertainment, stop by to watch the Hutto Hippos take on the Taylor Ducks. If you are in the same area and get hungry, stop by Louie Mueller Barbecue for a taste of food that epitomizes everything that is Texas BBQ. The gravel parking lot outside the restaurant sets the mood for the old rustic building which is conveniently decorated inside from floor to ceiling in smoke from the pits. It works out just fine because usually there is a line out the door and the aromas surrounding you from the smoke floating around lets you carry on in constant debate about exactly what, and how much you are going to order. Just when you don’t think you can take the wait any longer you realize you can walk to the side bar and order a Shiner Bock served in a frosted Mason Jar! This is Texas BBQ down and dirty. Upon your much anticipated arrival to the meat cutting station a tray is waiting for you with a succulent slice of brisket. It’s just enough to halt your hunger pains from standing in line and make you drop all of your defenses for not completely ordering way too much. Which everyone inevitably does. This Man-Up trip Russell, Travis and I split Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs, Brisket, Turkey, Jalapeno Sausage, and Chipotle Sausage, then finished it off with homemade peach cobbler.

Beef Ribs: Stegosaurus size. They were amazing. Not too many people serve beef ribs but Louie Mueller’s does a great job of flavoring with nothing more than pepper and a little salt. Pork ribs: I think my problem with the pork ribs is I had forgotten about them until I had already chowed down on everything else. Good pepper flavor though. Brisket: I knew this day would come. Someday, somewhere I would find the perfect brisket. It’s here, at Louie Mueller. For some reason I think brisket is one of the hardest meats to cook correctly. Louie Mueller’s brisket had the perfect combination of spice that compliments the tender smoky meat flavor very well. The brisket is perfectly marbleized to provide taste but the fat doesn’t take over at all. Turkey: I am a closet turkey BBQ fan but after tasting the peppery flavor of Louie Mueller’s I have come completely out. Jalapeno/Chipotle sausage: Both are made in-house and are, I believe, 100% beef. The flavors added a nice kick to the traditional sausage. Peach cobbler: You could tell this peach cobbler was made in the South. Plenty of cream and butter, just the way it should be. Top it off with bluebell ice cream, you won’t regret it. Overall experience: The only reason Louie Mueller Barbecue didn’t get a 10 was because I was having an extremely difficult time staying awake on the drive home. Luckily those in the back seat requested to stop every other exit and I could stay loaded on caffeine. But, I don’t think it gets any better than this. I know I haven’t been to every BBQ place in Texas but it doesn’t matter. The owner spent every minute he could in between bussing his own tables to talk to us and make us feel at home. Louie Mueller’s has something truly special going on. I look forward to visiting this place time and time again for years to come.

Who knows, maybe if we are lucky enough Texas really will secede from the Union, Chuck Norris will run for President, and Louie Mueller Barbecue will be served at the new White House.”

Russell: “My closest score to that elusive perfect 10 yet--this continues to be the ultimate Man-Up dining experience. Beef ribs: Huge, like rhino ribs yet very tender, peppery and tasty; continues to be my recommended dish at Mueller's. Moist brisket: Possibly the best brisket ever! Sausage: Has a nice beefy texture that falls apart when you cut into it; it’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth. Pork ribs: Nice and moist, but a bit too peppery and not quite as flavorful as the beef items. Turkey: I'm not much of a bird-eater by nature, but there's was probably about as flavorful and moist as it gets. Peach cobbler: I’m not much of a desert eater at BBQ places…as I like to fill up on the BBQ itself, but this was some pretty incredible cobbler. My friends, Wayne Mueller is doing a great job carrying on this Taylor tradition of great Mueller BBQ. Louie Mueller's legendary BBQ establishment continues to rank as the best TX BBQ joint in my mind. Just cannot beat the authentic Texas atmosphere, the cold Shiner Bock in Mason jar mugs, the picnic table style bench seating, the breeze blowing that smoky brisket smell all throughout the place. This is old-fashioned Texas BBQ still at its best. Stay hungry my friends.”

Lacey's scores – Brisket: 9.25; Sausage: 9.75; Pork ribs: 9.25; Turkey: 10; Cheese: 10; Overall experience: 9.65

Bo’s scores – Beef ribs: 9.8; Pork ribs: 9.3; Brisket: 10; Turkey: 9.8; Jalapeno/Chipotle sausage: 9.8; Peach cobbler: 9.9; Overall experience: 9.9

Russell’s scores – Brisket: 10; Beef ribs: 10; Sausage: 9.99 (Jalapeno) & 9.95 (Chipotle); Pork ribs: 9.25; Turkey: 9.75; Peach cobbler: 9.65; Overall experience: 9.99

Jason’s scores – Brisket: 9.8; Turkey: 9.9; Beef rib: 9.4; Peach cobbler: 8.9; Beer in Mason jar: 10; Overall experience: 9.5

Drew’s scores – Brisket: 9; Pork ribs: 9.1; Turkey: 9.8; Pork loin: 9; Atmosphere: 9.8; Service: 10; Overall experience: 9.85

Overall Man-Up Score: 9.778

Louie Mueller's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stranded in Chi-town

Coming to you live from Chicago. Due to mechanical failure, I didn't make it home from D.C. today, so my home for the nite is the Wyndham O'Hare, courtesy of United Airlines. Too bad I didn't get stranded here earlier, so I could head into the city and enjoy my former hometown. At any rate, I got to enjoy D.C.'s brand of Texas BBQ, while I was in town. Not bad at all. Coming up: Review of Louie Mueller...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Russell: Man. Myth. Legend.

Okay, folks. This post will certainly not come close to adequately portraying the awesomeness that was Russell's chronological summary of his BBQ-filled Easter weekend. His review, with pictures, will be posted in the days ahead, but I captured his recounting last nite and must share. This firmly cements Russell's place among Texas legends, past and present, including Sam Houston, Davey Crockett, Emmitt Smith, David Robinson, Lyle Lovett, and Kinky Friedman. Again, words can't really capture it. Even so, here's what you should be wrapping your heads around: A dry-erase board and a Marriott Hotels & Resort pen. Descriptive hand motions. Multiple football references, including a couple of well-placed "Back on backers!" The turning around (twice) of a baseball cap, a la Sly Stallone in Over the Top. And, last but not least, profuse sweating.

Pre-elevated blood pressure, Russell sets the stage for us: Kreuz and Smitty's in Lockhart, Snow's in Lexington, and leftovers for the remainder of the weekend.

Here, Russell illustrates how, like the finessing of a fine pool shot, he delicately dominated three of the Central Texas' most renowned BBQ joints.

Here, Russell tells that it didn't just take charisma but brawn, as well, explaining to us that he was able to pull this off because he's so manly.

Near the end, Russell discusses the superiority of Texas's brand of BBQ...and the possibility of Texas' seceding from the Union.

All at the same time, Russell had us in a trance, completely captivated, and utterly perplexed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009