Austin BBQ Armageddon, Part 2

AUSTIN, TX – My friend Lewis has been talking about returning to Central Texas, ever since we attempted to conquer most of the notable barbecue houses last year. Over the course of three days in October of 2012, we hit eight different places, including some non-barbecue restaurants and even a doughnut shop. After I posted a pretty comprehensive video about the trip, some of the comments I received included “you missed Black’s in Lockhart,” and “what about Cooper’s in Llano?” This past weekend, we rectified all that.


To take on the entire cycle of what most experts figure are the 10 beloved barbecue joints in Texas, is no easy feat. Sure, it’s fun to talk about and plan and take pictures, but just try keeping pace, making sure to sample a bit from each restaurant. In Chicago, we’re accustomed to seeing pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket and a sausage link or two. In Texas, you can add ham, pork chops, Flintstone-sized beef short ribs, prime rib and usually two types of sausage – a jalapeño or a jalapeño-cheddar. Smoque’s Barry Sorkin provided us with this map last year, just for reference:


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Last year, we hit Franklin (twice), Smitty’s, Kreuz, J. Mueller’s, Snow’s, Stiles Switch, Rudy’s and Southside Market. The two places missing from this map include Black’s (in Lockhart, just a few blocks from Smitty’s) and Cooper’s, in the upper right corner, in the town of Llano. We hit those, plus a little gem on Austin’s East Side called Kerlin, as well La Barbecue (owned by a descendant of the Mueller clan). Speaking of which, the drive to the legendary Louie Mueller in Taylor, TX was the highlight. Getting a chance to talk to 3rd generation owner Wayne Mueller was eye-opening, and I learned more about vertical vs. horizontal smokers and why his brisket is so much better than anything I’ve had, anywhere else. It was a hell of a weekend, and I’m swearing off beef for at least the next week or two. Props to Lewis Love and Dan Fullick for sticking it out with me. You boys are troopers. Next year in KC or Lexington?

1 Comment

  1. Dan Fullick

    April 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Lexington. I am in!

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