EatsBBQ Just another WordPress site Sat, 31 May 2014 03:43:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Micklewait Craft Meats Sat, 31 May 2014 03:22:35 +0000 My buddy Eric, whom I’ve gone with to eat most of the BBQ I’ve written about, told me that I needed to go try Micklewait Craft Meats.  His claim was that it was one of the best briskets that he had eaten.  So I invited a friend from work and met Eric there a few Saturday’s ago to give it a try.

Micklewait’s isn’t much to see.  It’s essentially two trailers, one an old former RV and the other a BBQ pit mounted on wheels with an enclosed screen around it.  Not unlike the early Franklin BBQ setup when they were on Concordia and I35 in Austin.  Micklewait’s is nestled in a small food truck court at 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702.  They’ve got some large trees to shade half of the wooden picnic tables that are scattered around.


Photos by Ray Pierce

I got there about 15 minutes before they opened and was completely shocked that there wasn’t a line waiting for them place to open.  If this place was supposed to be as awesome as I was led to believe I just imagined that it would have a line draped around the block.  Close to 11am, there was an influx of families and other bbq goers show up.  We didn’t rush to get in the newly formed line, and ended up waiting about 15 minutes once it did.

They had a pretty typical offering of meats, brisket, sausage, beef ribs, pork ribs, half chicken, etc.  Something that did catch my eye was the “housemade bread”.  The phrasing of it called my attention to it.  Their sides were potato salad, cole slaw, beans, and jalapeno cheese grits.  And I do love me some jalapeno cheese grits.  They also offered pecan pie, buttermilk pie, and homemade moon pies. I ordered the 2 meat plate with brisket and pork ribs, with potato salad and obviously jalapeno cheese grits, I finished with a slice of pecan pie.  The jalapeno cheese grits were as awesome as I thought they would be, in fact I dove into those first.  The mustard based potato salad is more or less your normal offering with chunky potatoes.

Some nice touches I thought were the “housemade bread” and the homemade pickles, both of which were very good. The brisket was very moist and tender.  It had a good flavor on the outside of the cut.  I had hoped for a bit more flavor in the meat itself, but it was still outstanding.  The pork ribs weren’t quite as tender as some places I’ve been, but they were far from tough.  You just had to work at it a bit to get all the meat.  The BBQ sauce was a thin vinegar based sauce that worked well for dipping.  I finished off the meal with a very tasty slice of pecan pie.

All in all, this was a really great spot.  I’d recommend going there.


Micklethwait Craft Meats on Urbanspoon

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Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew Sun, 02 Sep 2012 04:05:02 +0000 Drove to “Northish” Austin today with Eric to try Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew.  We had both heard good things about it and that the pit master had come from Louie Mueller’s.  That’s a pretty awesome place to learn your craft, so we were understandable excited to get some good BBQ today.

Photos by Ray Pierce

The location is South of 183 on Lamar just past Airport Blvd.  The exterior has a good looking sign, but is pretty unassuming.  When you walk in, you can tell that they put some thought into the design.  Low lighting, large tinted windows looking out, and distressed brick for the walls.  Lots of Austin, Music and Car pictures on the walls.  Several LCD TV’s on the walls showing the game (it was a College Football Saturday).  It even looked like they stained the beams in the ceiling.

I ordered a beef rib (gotta have one to judge against JMueller’s and Louise Mueller’s), 1/4 lb fatty brisket, 1/4 lbs of turkey.  I tried a bite of the jalapeno cheese sausage from my buddy as well.  The turkey was pretty good.  It was moist when I got it, but over the course of the meal it lost a lot of that moistness.  Not enough to say that it was dry though.  The brisket was tender, had a good smoke ring on it, and tasted good.  You could tell that at some point during the day it was awesome, but it was dried out like the brisket had been cut for a while.  I think if we had shown up a bit earlier or gotten there for a freshly cut brisket it would have been different.  I tried a bit of the jalapeno and cheese sausage thanks to Eric.  Like i’ve said in previous posts, jalapeno sausage just really isn’t my thing.  This one had a good grind to it, but it felt a bit greasy and overpowering smoke taste mixed into that grease.  If that’s your thing, then by all means try it.    The beef rib was what I really came for though.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  It had a very nice crust on the outside of it.  It was moist on the inside, had a great smoke rings and flavor.  It was tender enough that you could use your fingers to pinch off pieces of the meat.

Stiles is open for dinner, so if you are wanting a Beef Rib you don’t have to get one for lunch like you do at Louie Mueller’s or JMueller’s.  Or wait in line like those places either.  They also had 6 (local) beers on tap, and fridge with a large selection of bottled beer as well as fountain drinks (with Big Red) and sweet and unsweet tea.  One of the other things I noticed is that their BBQ sauce is much like Louie Mueller’s and JMueller’s, thick and chunky.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew on Urbanspoon

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Chief’s BBQ Fri, 29 Jun 2012 18:28:22 +0000 I tried Chief’s BBQ today since it’s close to my office. I’ve heard people talk about it and in general had good things to say about it.

I tried the two meat plate with Brisket and Pork ribs. The plate also cam with 3 sides, I chose Frid Okra, Potato Salad, and Corn on the Cob. when the plate came out it also had a couple of slices of Texas Toast, a cup of BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions. Not a bad quantity of food.

The brisket and the ribs both had a really tasty bark on them. The smoke ring penetrated pretty deep as well. The problem was that the meat was dry on both the ribs and brisket. It wasn’t tough per se, but it wasn’t tender either. It had a great smoke flavor though. The sides weren’t really anything to write home about either. They were all decent, but nothing outstanding. The BBQ sauce was good, and it seemed to have a cumin flavor to it. One thing of note is that they had sweet tea.

All in all, I’ll probably eat here again because of the proximity to my office, but I’ll probably just be ordering a chopped beef sandwich. The traditional BBQ staples are just “meh” to me.


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JMueller BBQ in Austin Sat, 05 May 2012 03:14:44 +0000 I finally got around to trying JMueller BBQ a few weeks ago.  I switched jobs and had some other things going and didn’t get around to writing up the post.  So never the less here it is.  I ended up taking all of the photo’s with my iPhone as well.

I have passed the location for JMueller BBQ almost daily since they’ve been open.  The problem was that I never knew it was there because I was looking at some restaurants across the street.  I knew it was in the area, but just didn’t realize it was where it was.  It’s a trailer after all and it just didn’t really catch my attention.  The sign is parallel with the street instead of perpendicular, which may have led me to miss it as well.

Photos by Ray Pierce

When we arrived it was about 11:15am.  The line was fairly deep, as you can probably tell be the photo.  It took us about 45 minutes to get through the line.  They had already started to sell out of things by the time we got to the window to order, specifically the Prime Rib.  Their prices weren’t as high as I had expected them to be.  It was still really affordable for a good bit of food.  Another big plus for me is that you get a small sample at the window before you order.

I wanted to get a bit of everything, but my body can only hold so much.  So I started off with the basics.  Brisket, Beef Sausage,  Pork Ribs, and a gigantic beef short rib.  Needless to say, it took be three meals to finish off everything because my eyes tell me that I can eat it all.  The sausage was very good, it had a great smoke flavor and a really good consistency.  I’m not sure if John makes it onsite, or just has it made for him, but it is good.  The pork ribs were very tasty with a good peppery rub on them.  The meatier end was fantastic, but the lean end was visibly dry and chewy.

Knowing that John grew up in the pits of Louie Mueller’s I couldn’t pass up ordering a beef rib.  And I was rewarded for it.  It’s a huge amount of meat on the bone, but it was so tender and flavorful.  I was able to just take my fork and do some light pulling on it for a bite.  The brisket was more of the same.  Fantastically smoked and super moist.  All I needed was fork to cut it/shred it in the bit sizes.

The BBQ sauce is something a bit different than you typical place.  It’s chunky, it has bits of onions in it.  It’s almost the consistency of chunky picante sauce.  It’s got a different flavor than most “Texas” BBQ sauces, but it similar.  Although you don’t need it for the meat, it’s still gives it a different experience.

JMueller BBQ also has a few sides if you are in the mood.  The potato salad was good, but nothing spectacular.  The side of note is the baked squash, it was really well done and you just don’t find it on many other BBQ menu’s.

So far this is in the top 2 for BBQ joints for me.  Everything that I had across the board was really good.

JMueller BBQ on Urbanspoon
]]> 1 Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, TX Mon, 26 Mar 2012 03:08:33 +0000 Our last stop in in Lockhart is at Black’s BBQ. Eric had visited here a few weeks ago when I wasn’t available. He decided to roll back down there with me so that I could try it out. He initial evaluation of it was essentially “Meh”.

So when you arrive into Lockhart, you will see signage for Black’s BBQ all over the place. Every side of town and all over town seem to have bill boards for it. When you actually get to the restaurant a couple of blocks off of the square, their sign’s aren’t nearly as robust. The building has a wood facade on the outside to give a rustic feel.

Photos by Ray Pierce

When you walk in every picture on the wall seems to have one of the Black’s in it. The booth that we sat in had pictures of Norma and Edgar Black’s Wedding, Aggie Ring Dance, and posing with Senator Lloyd Doggett. They have definately infused themselves into the dining area. Another thing that I noticed were the mounted Longhorn’s all around the top of the wall in dining area. Lots and lots of stuff on the wall to gander at while you are eating.

We walked through the tiny hallway to get to the serving line. Due to the space constraints I didn’t take any pictures in that area because I couldn’t get my camera to focus correctly or have line of sight to what I wanted to see.

I ordered essentially the same thing that I always do. 1/2 lbs. moist brisket, 2 pork spare ribs, and a link of sausage. They serve their sides off of a buffet tray serving area. They are after my heart though. They had candied yams on there topped with some marshmallows. I picked up a side of potato salad as well.

The course ground beef sausage had a pretty good smoke flavor, but like my other experiences outside of Elgin, TX the sausage just wasn’t that good in my opinion. The pork ribs had a great smoke flavor, they pulled apart nicely and weren’t overcooked. They didn’t seem to have a very heavy rub on them.

Now the best for last. The brisket was amazing! Great smoke flavor, super tender, and satisfying. This brisket is something I would come back for. This redeemed my hope in Lockhart to produce a good brisket since the other three places I’ve been to there just didn’t meet that test. Black’s makes a good sauce, it’s pretty tangy and more savory than sweet in my opinion. Although you don’t need to use it at all on the brisket.

Eric seemed to be of the same opinion as I this trip, and I believe that it may have made both of us question if we had just gotten bad batches of brisket at the other places in Lockhart. I know I was pleasantly surprised by Black’s and I’ll be going back there.

Black's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

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Chisholm Trail in Lockhart, TX Mon, 19 Mar 2012 02:41:06 +0000 Eric and I were back in action in Lockhart this weekend. This time we tried out Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Cue. This place seems to be recommended by people local to the area more than the other three big name places (Kruez’, Smitty’s, Black’s) in town. This is the new kid on the block in Lockhart and it’s been around since 1974.

When you walk in your are greeted with old photo’s and maps of Texas. They were hung in the 80′s and haven’t been updated since. They still show Ronald Reagan as the President. The parking lot of full, but there wasn’t a line outside. It was to the door though, but moved along pretty quickly.

Photos by Ray Pierce

When you get to the ordering area, you pick up a plate and choose what sides you want from a buffet serving line. They have quite the selection of sides and salad bar for a BBQ joint. They don’t just serve potato salad and beans like most, which was a welcome change. I picked out potato salad (because I like it and it’s what I’ve gotten everywhere else) and some fried okra. I love me some fried okra, even though this appeared to be pre-breaded and from the freezer.

Once you make your way to the cutter section of the line, you’ll be asked what it is that you want. I picked out moist brisket, pork spare ribs, and a link of sausage. I try every week to make the same basic selection so that I can compare apples to apple so to speak. And to wash it all down was a glass of sweet tea.

The brisket was tender, which from my experience in Lockhart up to this point seems to be a rare occasion. There was still quite a bit of the fat that hadn’t rendered into the meat as you can see in the pictures. There wasn’t a lot of smoke penetration into the meat itself though which was disappointing. It was also a little light on the rub. Chisholm Trail does serve sauce with their meat unlike Kruez and Smitty’s. It’s a bit sweet with a tang to it. The pork ribs had a good flavor, but were a bit over cooked on the bone end. On the meatier end they were just right. The sausage was decent, but didn’t have much of a smoke flavor at all. It was a course ground beef sausage served in single links.

Chisholm Trail out paces Kruez’s and Smitty’s over all, but it’s still not what I’m expecting from a city steeped in BBQ lore.

Chisholm Trail Barbq on Urbanspoon

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Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX Sun, 26 Feb 2012 02:23:56 +0000 Kruez Market is one of the more storied BBQ places in Lockhart, the business has been in operation since 1900.  It was originally located and ran in the building where Smitty’s Market is located today.  As I understand it, the Kruez Market was owned by Edgar Schmidt.   The business was left to Rick Schmidt (son), and the building that housed Kruez Market just off the town square was left to Nina Schmidt Sells (daughter).  After a “disagreement” in the late 1990′s, Rick decided to build a new building for Kruez Market on the north side of Lockhart where it resides today.

The building itself is huge and is a rusty barn red color and shape.  When you enter you pass some old scales and equipment from older era.  You wait in line in a central corridor that has dining rooms on either side of it.  The one of the left is not used as much as the other.  The dining room on the right also houses the area where you purchase your sides and drinks, which I assume is why it’s used more.  One you enter the pit area, you are met by two different counters that can serve up to four people simultaneously.  Behind those counters are butcher blocks, and an array of brick pit smokers.  It’s quite a massive room with really tall ceilings.  You get the faint smell of smoke in there, but it is not as concentrated as the other places that we’ve visited in Lockhart.

For today’s order I got 1/2 lbs of brisket, 1 hot beef sausage link, 2 pork spare ribs, and a slice of pit ham.  I also ordered some sauerkraut and a bottled Big Red soda.  The one thing that I’ve been impressed with in Lockhart is the price point of meat.  Generally it’s been about 15 for the amount of meat we order, and another 3 or 4 dollars for the sides and drinks.  Generally in total it’s around $20 for me.

As for the food itself, I’ll start with the best of the day.  The pit ham was delicious.  When we visited a few years ago it was the same, I’m glad it stay consistent.  By it’s nature ham is a bit salty, but not more than my expectations.  The beef sausage link wasn’t really remarkable or flavorful, but it was moist.  If I would have remembered I would have gotten the jalapeno cheese sausage link, at least it had flavor.  The pork ribs were paltry in size (maybe 3/4 of an inch wide), and tough as jerky.  The rub on them was a bit heavy on the salt, but still manageable.  They weren’t what I would serve to my customers.

That brings me to the leather, I mean brisket.  It was so dried out that the strands of meat were snapping.  In my serving I also got a charred in the brisket, which tends to keep a lot of the smoke flavor.  This one though, was like chewing leather, and was left on my plate.  The rub on the brisket was a bit heavy on the salt just like the ribs, but the flavor of the more center cuts was decent.  The meat still maintained a decent sized smoke ring.  All in all, there’s no way that I’ll order the brisket here again.  The sauerkraut was good, but nothing to write home about.  You just don’t see it on many places menus.

Kreuz Market is a significant place for EatsBBQ.  This is the place that we got the idea for putting together a site for BBQ reviews.  So this is essentially where we began.  We had heard from friends, family and coworkers was that the BBQ in Lockhart was the best around.  So we packed up and decided to give it a go back in 2009.  One of the reasons that the idea for this site surfaced was that we were really disappointed in the product that we got.  Much like today’s outing, it didn’t live up to anything that anyone had talked about.  I’m beginning to think that all the talk about Lockhart BBQ is more of a marketing ploy than actually good BBQ.

There’s still a couple of places left that I’m going to try there, but my hope is waning.  Black’s and Chisholm Trail are still on the list to visit.

Kreuz Market on Urbanspoon

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City Market in Luling, TX Sat, 11 Feb 2012 23:27:52 +0000 After last weeks trip to Smitty’s Market, I convinced my friend Eric that we needed to go to City Market in Luling, TX. City Market is the last one of Top 5 from Texas Monthly’s 2008 BBQ Rankings, that I hadn’t eaten at. So today after he got off work we headed out for Luling. It wasn’t as far of a drive from Austin as I was expecting it to be. It was actually just under an hour for us to get there.

Photos by Ray Pierce

The store is right in front of the railroad tracks in the middle of town. It’s sort of town squarish, but it’s just a few blocks long and it’s not centered around a courthouse. There wasn’t any waiting in line outside here, instead the line snaked around the dining area. I’m not sure if this was because it was cold outside or just the way it works there. The line moved pretty quickly though. It seemed to have more locals in it, than most of the other places that we’ve tried lately. I didn’t get the sense that there were any other BBQ bloggers or pilgrims in the dining area, but I also didn’t ask anyone. The seating was wooden booths with upright backs, picnic style tables, and a few 4 top regular tables. Some of the booths tables were very well worn from constant eating at them. All around the dining room you see signs about not taking the sauce bottles from the table, I’m guessing that is to deter people from taking them home. It seems like a common trait in the Luling, Lockhart area to have the pit area and dining area inside, but segregated by a wall. The same practice of purchasing the meat separate from the sides and drinks is in effect here as well. I’m not sure that I like that, having to stand in two lines for one meal doesn’t seem right. Throughout the course of our meal the main line stayed pretty constant at about 40ish people deep.

Once we reach the pit area where the meat is served, you are met by a sign warning to keep the door shut and a blast of warm air rushing out. The warming pit is to the right with it’s vents open. There’s a hanging sign that’s browned listing the prices of meat. The cutters and pit masters are busy serving the customers as they order. It appeared that the cutters were pre-cutting the brisket and ribs and letting them lie on the cutting table until someone orders it.

As for the food itself, the brisket had a good smoke ring on it, but it was visibly dry. There wasn’t much of a bark on the brisket at all. It tasted fine, but was not tender and was a bit chewy. Even a forceful pull with my hands wouldn’t tear off a bit size piece. I had to use knife to make it manageable. I was thoroughly disappointed with the brisket. This is what Texas BBQ is all about, and this was mediocre at best. Eric even commented that this isn’t something he would drive this far for again.

The beef sausage link was course ground, and was quite tasty. It was moist almost to the point of greasy though.

The highlight of the trip was the pork ribs. They were had a great smokey flavor. They weren’t too tough and with a little tug of the teeth the meat came off. There was a sweet BBQ sauce glaze on them. I really wish I had gotten more of these and forgone the brisket.

City Market has a couple of sides as well which are paid for in a separate area than the meat. They include potato salad and pinto beans. Another highlight for me was having bottled Big Red soda. I’m not sure where my affinity for it comes from, but it sure is good. We had to ask for the BBQ sauce since it wasn’t on the table. It was very good. A light orange color that had a sweet mustardy flavor to it, I would recommend it for sure. I had to use it to put some moisture back into the brisket.

My expectations for a Top 5 BBQ Joint were so high and the results were so low. I’m not sure if it is just my luck, or that quality has been sacrificed to keep up the demand generated from publicity. Overall, I’m truly disappointed in City Market.

City Market on Urbanspoon

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In line, sitting next to you, and reading this blog: Thank you. Sun, 05 Feb 2012 05:50:15 +0000 One of the great things about going to all of the BBQ places are the people you meet.

Today for example, we sat next to a gentleman, who’s name I didn’t catch, that was very friendly and started up a conversation with us.  He commented on how many people were taking pictures of their food, as I was taking snapshots for my latest posting (Smitty’s Market in Lockhart). He told us of how Smitty’s came to be in it’s current incarnation, and some of the back story about what went on and how the other place (Kreuz Market) came to be.  Information that I knew of, but didn’t know in that detail.

As another example, I frequent Franklin BBQ quite often here in Austin. When you are sitting and waiting in line for the hours it takes to get food, you get to know the people that are sitting in line next to you and around you. You share your experiences with them, and them with you. I’ve spoken with several people that read my original blog post about Franklin BBQ and decided to give it a try based of it. That is a really humbling experience.

The conversations and interactions with the people that wait in line with you, eat next to you, and are the consumers of these blogs are a treasure to get to talk to. The friendliness and knowledge that they share are what makes this worth doing.

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Smitty’s Market in Lockhart Sun, 05 Feb 2012 05:04:43 +0000 We got back in the saddle today after few month hiatus with a trip to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, TX. Lockhart is known as the BBQ Capital of Texas because of the amount of top notch BBQ joints in the city. From my research, Smitty’s is one of the four must stop BBQ joints in Lockhart.

Photos by Ray Pierce

We showed up a little later in the afternoon, just past the lunch rush. Smitty’s is located just off of the square in downtown Lockhart. It’s really quite a cool looking courthouse, surrounded by classic small town shops. One of these days I’ll take a side trip just to shoot photo’s of it.

When we arrived, we made our way around the back of the store. It’s a little weird, but the main entrance is on the backside. There is a street entrance, but it leads you to the back of the building. We waited in a small line, and as we walked through the entrance we were greet by a soot covered doorway that right next to the serving pit. It was complete with fire going to keep the meat warm.

I ordered brisket, a pork rib, and link of sausage so that I could get a good sampling of their offerings. By the time we got there they had already sold out of the Prime Rib, otherwise I would have gotten some of it as well. I passed on the smoked pork chop because I knew that I couldn’t hold that much. They are smoked as whole pork loins and then sliced into chops when the customer orders. The servers weigh the meat on an antique scale with a rolling dial. I didn’t want to hold up the line so I didn’t get a picture of the area. In typical BBQ fashion the meat is served on butcher paper.

Something that is a little unique is that you pay for your meat in the pit area, but your drinks and sides are paid for in the dining area. Everything is cash or check, so don’t expect to pay with credit card. Pleasantly surprising though was the cost of the meat. I was expecting to pay a lot more, but either I finally ordered an appropriate size of meat or their price per pound wasn’t as much as anticipated.

The order itself looked great. The brisket dried out rather quickly for me during the process of taking pictures before I dove in. That was a little disappointing to me. For a place that doesn’t have forks, the meat was a bit too tougher than my liking. That’s not to say that it was bad, but we are talking about a joint that’s supposed to be in the upper echelon of BBQ joints. This could be because of the time that we arrived and their constant firing of the meat in the serving pit. The brisket tasted good, but didn’t seem to have a penetrating smoke flavor. It also lacked in a thick bark, but that wasn’t a deterrent for me. It’s gotten to the point where a lot of places may have too thick of bark in my opinion and this was a nice change of pace.

The pork rib was quite nice. It had a sweet flavor to it, as if they were glazed with sweet BBQ sauce then smoked. The meat stuck to the bone just as it should. Having it too tender makes them harder/messier to eat in my opinion. Just a little tug with the teeth should be all that’s needed. The sausage link was the star of the day for me. It was plump, juicy, and well flavored. Each link looked to be smoked by itself, rather than in a chain.

After the meal we looked around a bit and were told that we could go look at the empty front counter. It contained quite a bit of old antiques used in store in an earlier time. The building itself looks to have a great character about it. You know you are in a places that’s seen it’s fair share of business through out the years.

Smitty's Market on Urbanspoon

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