JMueller BBQ in Austin

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

Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, TX

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

Chisholm Trail in Lockhart, TX

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