Top 5 Central Texas BBQ Items That Aren’t Brisket

Beef short rib at JMueller in Austin. So much more than just brisket, y’all.

In case you missed it, I headed south about a week ago, engaging in a food trip for the ages we affectionately referred to as Austin BBQ Armageddon. We tackled nine places in three days – hitting one of them twice – with a doughnut shop and a modern Mexican stop to boot. There’s no question they love brisket in Texas; everyone serves it, typically with a rub as simple as salt and coarsely-ground black pepper. But there were plenty of other slow-smoked goodies to love – turkey, short ribs, hams, etc. and I felt it was my duty to recall some of the highlights for you.


Best damn turkey anywhere, from Franklin BBQ in Austin

1. Turkey from Franklin BBQ, Austin.

We couldn’t figure out why the turkey was so impossibly moist here. Did they brine it? Did they inject it? We had to return for a second visit to get to the bottom of it: they not only baste it in butter near the end of smoking, they also dip the slices into butter just before serving. Praise the Lord.


Prime rib (foreground) at Smitty’s, in Lockhart

2. Prime Rib at Smitty’s Market, Lockhart

We saw a couple of prime ribs along the route (JMueller’s was noteworthy), but this version from the legendary Smitty’s (one of my favorites in terms of atmosphere) was a Fred Flintstone-worthy cut that I could have finished all by myself.


Sausages smoking at Luling City Market

3. Sausages at Luling City Market, Luling

My eyes were watering as I stepped through the door to the register and the dual smokers. The sealed area keeps the entire dining room from smelling like a forest fire. These sausages were just magical – great ratio of beef and pork to fat, and outstanding smoke rings on the inside of the thick, coarse links.


Smoked ham with sides at Kreuz Market in Lockhart

4. Smoked ham at Kreuz Market, Lockhart

Note the sauerkraut in the foreground of the picture here. The German influence at Kreuz is obvious, and it goes well beyond the potato salad. I didn’t love everything here, but the smoked ham (center, pictured above) was a thing of beauty: moist, meaty and smoky; a pinkish, juicy treat I could eat no matter how full I am.


pork, ribs and chicken at Snow’s

5. Chicken at Snow’s, Lexington

They’re only open on Saturdays, and the line forms around 7:30 a.m., but the smoking here starts the night before, around 10 p.m. The beans are free and the ladies slice the pork and beef inside with electric knives (efficient!), but the chicken was the dark horse here. Glistening skin, juicy meat and a mouthful of smoky bird tasted even better with the crunchy pickles. Well worth the hour-plus drive from Austin.

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