Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SXSW 2011 BBQ Guide

I can't believe it's been a year since my first SXSW BBQ guide. Disbelief notwithstanding, it's time for Round 2. Sooo, let's do this! (dramatic pause) Would a man go to Cuba and not smoke a cigar? Would a middle-school girl go to a Justin Bieber concert and not scream bloody murder? Would a cow not chew cud? Don't think so. So, don't come to the BBQ haven that is Central Texas and not partake of succulent, smoked meats. Overwhelmed by how many places you could try? Let me help you navigate the smoke (listed by distance from city center).
  • Blue Ribbon Barbecue (Austin): Located on the ground floor of downtown's Frost Bank building, BRB is the most central BBQ joint in Austin. If you're downtown, you're within striking distance. They start the day with breakfast tacos and then move on to BBQ for lunch. Save room for banana pudding. Recommended order: pork ribs & turkey
  • Franklin Barbecue (Austin): Only been open for a tad more than a year and already has a cult following that lines up for brisket before the gates opens. Get there early, or you're out of luck. Our pick & our Readers' Choice pick for Best Brisket of 2010 - and our Best Overall of 2010. Recommended order: brisket - lots of it - & pulled pork
  • BBQ trailers: Depending on what part of town you're in, you might find any number of BBQ trailers. Keep an eye out for Bar-B-Que-T & Smokilicious (South Congress), Bar-B-Q Heaven (7th & Red River), The Salt Lick & The Sugar Shack (UT campus), The Shed BBQ's Rolling Joint (Mohawk, 9th & Red River), & Old School BBQ & Grill (the yellow school bus at 6th & Waller).
  • Rudy's "Country Store" & Bar-B-Q (Austin): With a diverse menu, a staff that takes it time serving samples to "rookies' to help them with their orders, and the option of ordering as much or as little of any meat you want, Rudy's is a great way to ease into Texas BBQ.Recommended order:extra-moist brisket, turkey, & creamed corn (unless you don't like creamed corn that is so rich & sweet that it's suitable for dessert)
  • Cele Store (Manor, 21 miles NE of Austin): A watering hole for farmers during the week, Cele Store serves family-style BBQ on Friday nights, with live music twice per month from their house band (March 11 & 25). Call ahead to reserve a table. You might recognize it from scenes in Secondhand Lions, A Perfect World and Texas Chainsaw Massacre I, II and III. Recommended order: Just go family style, & be sure to make a chopped-beef sandwich with your white bread, cheese, onions, pickles, & sauce
  • Milt's Pit BBQ (Kyle, 21 miles from Austin straight down I-35, Exit 213): Milt, born in Fort Worth but California resident by age 3, knows how to cook brisket. If you're wanna start your meal with a bang, get the Haystack: sausage, brisket, jalapenos, onions, beans, and cheese, all atop a bed of Fritos. Recommended order: brisket
  • The Salt Lick (Driftwood, 24 miles SW of Austin): With a rustic ambiance and a picture-perfect pit behind the cash register, TSL is a great spot to enjoy smoked meat away from the sounds of the city. BYOB. Cash only (but ATM on site). Recommended order: all-you-can-eat family style
  • Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa (25 miles E of Austin, straight out Hwy. 71): Believe it or not, the lush HLPR&S deep in the pine trees serves pecan-smoked BBQ. St. Louis-style ribs. Pork-belly and pulled-pork sliders on homemade brioche buns. Sliced brisket on Texas toast. Grilled sausage and homemade sauerkraut on a pretzel roll. And the unique sides are paired so well with the entrees. Recommended order: Any of the above
  • Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse (Elgin, 25 miles East-ish of Austin): Famous for its sausage, Elgin is an easy drive from A-town. The Meyer family will treat you right. Ask nicely, and you might just get to see the vaccum tumbler. Recommended order: beef ribs & sausage
  • Smitty's Market/Kreuz Market/Black's Barbecue (Lockhart, 29 miles South of Austin): Lockhart, dubbed by the Texas Legislature as "The Barbecue Capital of Texas," attracts Central Texas tourists like Lebron draws Cleveland vitriol, but it's a worthwhile Texas BBQ rite of passage. They were our Best Pork Ribs, Best Sausage, & Best Service of 2010, respectively. Recommended orders: pork ribs and sausage (Smitty's), pork ribs and ham (Kreuz), beef ribs and turkey (Black's)
  • Opie's Barbecue (Spicewood, 34 miles West of Austin): An easy drive West out Hwy. 71. Their sides and desserts are the best we've had (taking our top honors in each for 2010 - they won Best Pork of 2010, too). Recommended order: sweet-and-spicy ribs, pulled pork (weekends), spicy corn, tater-tot casserole, and banana pudding
  • Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, 39 miles NE of Austin): Get ready for the unmistakable smell of BBQ-pit smoke as you walk in - and check out what the smoke has done to the walls of this school-gymnasium-turned-restaurant. Our pick for Best Beef Ribs of 2010. Recommended order: beef ribs, sausage, and turkey
  • Snow's BBQ (Lexington, 52 miles ENE of Austin) & City Meat Market (Giddings, 55 miles East of Austin): Only open on Saturday from 8 AM until they run out there's no better bet for BBQ for breakfast than Snow's. Be sure to eat outside by the pits. Recommended order: pork shoulder, brisket, & chicken. When you're done, head 17 miles down Highway 77 to the sleep town of Giddings for a no-frills meal at City Meat Market, our Readers' Choice pick for Best Overall of 2010. Recommended order: pork shoulder
  • Miscellaneous recommendations: wild-boar ribs, brisket, & pulled pork at Lamberts (Austin); beef ribs at The County Line (Austin); chicken-thigh sandwich at Buster's (Lakeway); pork chop and half chicken at Cooper's (New Braunfels, 48 miles South on I-35, Exit 189)


Angie said...

If I can hit all these places within one visit, do I get a metal or something?!? Woohoo! I can't wait to pig out! (no pun.) ... (ok, yes a pun. couldn't help myself.)

Drew Thornley said...

If you hit all these places in 1 week, I'll create a MUTB Hall of Fame, with you as the first inductee!

Jacob said...

I have been to all these place, can I be second?

Jacob said...

Oh wait, I have not been to Hyatt Lost Pines... but that can be easily fixed.

RL Reeves Jr said...

Here's my sxsw guide for outside of Austin barbecue

schlik1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
schlik1 said...

I didn't see Green Mesquite or Schultz's on your list. Both are located in central Austin and have good (not great bbq) at a reasonable price.

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