Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009: Mann's Smokehouse (Austin, Texas)

Even after a year of BBQ outings, there are still plenty of BBQ joints in the Austin area we haven’t hit up yet. Mann’s Smokehouse, one of only two Austin restaurants to make Texas Monthly’s Top 50 list in June 2008, was one of them, until 10 of us manned up on it for a rainy Saturday lunch.

The brisket was pretty good, and the chicken wasn’t bad, but my sides of green beans and turnip greens were definitely not the ticket. The decor was kitschy, and the mood was subdued (perhaps because of the dreary weather). Housed in a former KFC and located underneath a major highway, the atmosphere isn’t a major selling point. Maybe my hopes were too high, but Mann’s wasn’t as solid as I thought it would be. Several better choices in Austin. But let’s hear from the others…

Dave was impressed: “In general the food was...delicious! The meat was tender and fairly moist along with a good amount of flavor, but not too much. The sauce definitely contained a good amount of vinegar, which combined well with the meat, in particular the saltier than usual pork ribs. Another fact that shown through was the decor, a lot of old school advertisements and memorabilia that is fun to give a look, although since I've recently started watching quite a bit of the show Madmen about an advertising firm in the 60's its easily possible that my interest in the decor had been set up a bit before arriving at Mann's.”

Mark writes: “Brisket: I had the middle cut - kinda moist but kinda lean. Not bad at all, but not great. Better without the sauce. Sauce: probably my least favorite sauce so far. Might go with Chinese food better than BBQ. Chicken: too dry and not very tender. But still better without the sauce. Slaw: not bad, but not good enough to finish all of it after eating all the brisket. Big Red: saved the day. Service: good cutlery and nice enough servers. A little stiff for a down-home BBQ joint, though. Atmosphere: great wall signs. Not the clientele you'd typically see at a Salt Lick or even Rudy's - very reserved and looked at us funny sometimes when we actually talked to each other. Overall: for me, this place will get lost in the mix of all the other mediocre BBQ joints I've been to. Serviceable enough BBQ, but nothing memorable, and probably not worth the drive from South Austin.”

Dana wraps up her thoughts succinctly: “What can I say, I'm a tough critic, but it is decent BBQ for inside the Austin city limits!”

Dave’s scores – Brisket: 8.5; Pork ribs: 8; Jalapeno sausage: 9; Fried okra: 8; Roll: 10; Sauce: 9; Atmosphere: 9.5; Overall experience: 9

Mark’s scores – Brisket: 8.85; Chicken: 7.2; Sauce: 4; Slaw: 7.5; Big Red: 10; Service: 8; Atmosphere: 9; Overall experience: 7.6

Dana’s scores – Brisket: 8.7; Chicken: 7; Sides: 7.5; Atmosphere: 9; Overall experience: 8.5

Drew’s scores – Brisket: 8.4; Chicken: 7.5; Sides: 5; Atmosphere: 5; Overall experience: 7

Brad’s scores – Brisket: 8.25; Sides: 4; Atmosphere: 6; Overall experience: 7.35

Overall Man-Up Score: 7.89

Mann's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon


RP said...

Had to go man up on Mann's for myself today to confirm that TX Monthly may have had this one all wrong. I agree with our group's general sentiment: While I enjoyed meeting Mr. Mann and thought the atmosphere was hip and cool...it's not a good sign when fruit salad is the best looking and tasting item at a Tx bbq jt ;)

Anonymous said...

I love Mann's, can't beat the free brownies and homemade ice cream during the week. And out of the 16 different sides, it's way to hard to choose. During the week is the time to go to give Mann's a fair chance, especially when Mr. and Mrs. Mann are running the line for lunch. I think you might want to give this place one more shot....

Unknown said...

Hey y'all,
I would love for you to give Mann's another chance! You have to come in and meet Mr. and Mrs. Mann and since it's been about two years since your review there are some new specials that are worth giving this place another shot. Check out the website at www.mannnsbbq.com. Thanks for the time and I hope y'all will give us another shot during the week!

Drew Thornley said...

Kat: Would love to! Email me, so we can set up a good time to come in!