Thursday, July 1, 2010

Winners of Texas BBQ Giveaway #4

Our 4th Texas BBQ Giveaway was courtesy of our friends at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, and it was a good one. LMB was kind enough to give enough prizes for 4 separate giveaways. Here they are, with the winner for each:

1. (t-shirt) What year was Louie Mueller Barbecue established, and when did it move to its present location? ANSWER: 1949 & 1959. WINNER: Stanley May (Little River Academy, Texas)

2. ($50 gift certificate) Who created Louie Mueller Barbecue's all-beef sausage recipe, and in what year was it introduced? ANSWER: Bobby Mueller, 1967. WINNER: Cody Hedgpeth (San Antonio, Texas)

3. (plaque with wood-floor plank) Louie Mueller Barbecue is the only barbecue restaurant in Texas to be honored by this international culinary organization. What is the name of the organization, and what was the award received? ANSWER: The James Beard Foundation's America's Classics Award. WINNER: Stephan Segraves (Houston, Texas)

4. Grand prize (all 3 previous prizes): Tell us about your most memorable visit to Louie Mueller Barbecue, and we'll pick our favorite entry. This was no easy task. It was a treat reading all of the stories (Wayne, I'll email them to you.), each memorable in its own right. In the end, however, the combination of it being his birthday, his vivid use of imagery, and the video he attached of his "doin' the bull dance" around the restaurant tipped the scales in the favor of Max Appling (Austin, Texas). Here's a pic of Max, his entry, and the aforementioned bull-dancing video:

Dear 'Man Up' folks,

A good friend of mine turned me on to your website after a recent visit to Franklin's BBQ in Austin. It has become sort of a mission of ours at the office to try to experience the best in Central Texas BBQ, and the past few months have taken us to Franklin's, Mann's, and Salt Lick Round Rock, among others. In December, a few of us made the drive to Taylor for my birthday for an extended lunch and to see what all the fuss surrounding Louie Mueller's was all about.

As we pulled into Taylor, we all got a good vibe that this was going to be one lunch to remember. We parked right across the street from Louie Mueller's and immediately felt the weight and stress of our jobs just melt away. In a short 35-40 minute drive it felt like we had gone back in time, to a time and place where Blackberrys, IPhones, and "Working Lunches" simply did not exist. When the door closed on us upon entering the smokey, sweet-smelling dining room of Louie Mueller's, we quickly realized that the majority of the folks eating there that day more than likely felt the same way. The only difference was that they probably didn't know there WAS any other way. Without a doubt we were the only patrons of Louie Mueller's that day wearing anything resembling "Business Attire." However, we quickly blended into the extensive line and filled our Styro-foam cups with tea, happily chatting and waiting for our turn at the counter. The whole while we all marveled at the ambiance of the place, from the smokey haze that permeated the old building, to the friendly, down-home conversation that abounded, to the memorabilia that adorned the old brick walls of Louie Mueller's. After a short (But mouth-watering) wait, we were up (Picture attached).

I knew I was doing Sausage for sure, as that's my go-to for any new BBQ experience. For my second meat, however, it was really a toss-up between the Brisket (Moist) and Ribs (Beef). Since it was my birthday, I figured what the heck...I'll do both. Some coleslaw, pinto beans, and bread, and I was ready to go. What a meal it was. The Sausage (I went with Original recipe) more than passed the test, and I don't think I have ever had a more peppery Rib. Very unique recipe with the rub, and VERY good. The brisket, as promised, was nice and moist, and had a great flavor. The cole slaw was also some of the best I have ever had. A perfect amount of vinegar (Which, for me, is probably a little more than most would like) and extremely fresh-tasting. Similar sentiments were heard throughout our table of 10, and everyone finished the meal more-than-satisfied. Now, I've been holding back on the best part, but here's where the story really gets good:

I came back from a trip to the bathroom to find a delicious-looking chocolate cake waiting for me at the table, candles and all. One of the girls that had made the trip decided to surprise me by having a cake made at the HEB by our office, and brought it all the way out to Taylor for us to enjoy. They serenaded me with the usual "Happy Birthday," and we devoured the majority of the cake in a matter of minutes. It was at this point that one of my co-workers informed me that, as Louie Mueller tradition would have it, I was now to finish my birthday celebration by "Doing the Bull-dance" around the dining room. I don't know if it was the BBQ or just the adrenaline that built up after the whole table started chanting my name (Probably a combination of both), but without hesitation, I got up from the table and gave the entire restaurant a story to tell at dinner that night. In case you are not familiar with what it means to "Do the Bull-dance," I have attached a short video of my ride at Louie Mueller's. Our table, as well as the rest of the dining room, could not stop laughing.

After a few minutes, Wayne Mueller came up to our table and presented me with a handshake and some various pieces of Louie Mueller's swag (Koozies, Postcards, etc.) as keepsakes from our first (And definitely not LAST) experience at his restaurant. He thanked us for coming all the way out there and for giving him and the rest of the patrons that day a story to remember. He then retreated to his post behind the counter, tending to the delicious Sausage, Ribs, Brisket, and Yard-birds that drew us, and so many others, to make the short drive back in time to Taylor and to Louie Mueller's Barbecue.

Max Appling

True to form, Brad and I had a good time pulling the winners' names outta our Man-Up trucker's hat:

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