Monday, September 30, 2013

Gettin' Sauced

Running season has started for me. I also have a running blog if you want to follow that. I had hammered out 14 miles Saturday morning so I was ready for some barbecue and beers. I was looking forward to the fourth annual Gettin' Sauced all week. It is a barbecue sauce contest/festival, but some of the well-known barbecue joints were going to be there. It is put on by the guys over at Man Up Texas BBQ. Thanks to Thrillist for getting me in. I will go over some of the highlights in this post.

I feel like I am a terrible photographer. I got a digital SLR last Christmas, and I have no idea what I am doing. Help?

This is the beer line, and it was the longest line. I wonder why. The festival was located at the Hops and Grain Brewery, and they obviously provided the beers. Cheers!

Pitmaster/owner Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue was there serving up some baby back ribs. Of course they were delicious. My favorite sauce of the festival was his sweet jalapeƱo. It was also his birthday on Saturday. Happy birthday Wayne!

Black's Barbecue was also there. They were cutting up their brisket and sausage. Their brisket is one of my favorites.

I tried Opie's Barbecue in 2011 at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest. They are on the top 50 list again this year. They are located in Spicewood which I never go out that way, but I might have to soon.

Freedmen's is a new player in Austin. They are located in West Campus. They brought a fish style sauce which I was not a fan of. I do need to visit them in the near future though.

The BBQ Snob aka Daniel Vaughn was also there. He was selling shirts and a copy of his book. I owned both so I was pretty much useless to him. He was however kind enough to sign my copy. I have written a review of his book that I will post soon. We had a little nice conversation, and he seems like a nice chill guy. For those who do not know of Daniel Vaughn, he is now the Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor. What a sweet gig!

That is all I have for this week.

Until next time, happy smoking...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Green Mesquite BBQ and More (Southpark Meadows)

Saturday was the Texas Longhorn's first football game. Amber and I have ditched cable for a while now so we needed somewhere to watch the game. The first game was on the Longhorn Network so we headed to the Third Base in Southpark Meadows. They were so busy we left. We called various restaurants in the shopping center, and Green Mesquite BBQ and More was going to be showing the game. Sure why not? Barbecue, beer, and football. You really cannot get more Texan than that. The first time I had Green Mesquite was at my fraternity's alumni event. I remember that I liked the brisket, sausage, and chicken. I thought it was weird that one of the side dishes was rice.

It has been at least a year since we have gone to Green Mesquite. The original location is on Barton Springs. They use green mesquite wood when they smoke their meats. You can really taste the wood in their meats. I ordered the four meat plate with two sides. Amber ordered the chicken tenders plate. They have other types of food on the menu which is nice for the wife. For my plate, I got brisket, sausage, pork ribs, and pulled pork with coleslaw and macaroni and cheese on the side. I ordered moist brisket but got lean. I have noticed some BBQ joints just do not care about the cut of brisket they serve. Everything on the plate had a good smoky flavor. All the meats were smoked perfectly, but the issue was that there was no flavor. You actually needed to use the barbecue sauce. The sauce was the typically Texas-style sauce you would find across town. They put a slice of butter for the cornbread on top of the brisket. It melted all over brisket and changed the flavor and texture a little. The brisket and ribs were tender. The pulled pork was decent and not dry. The sausage was good for being a commercial sausage.

Green Mesquite is a decent choice. They are quick in getting the food out. Apparently their smoked wings are some of the best in Austin. Their expansive menu also accommodates non-barbecue lovers. Do they really exist? If you need to have a place to meet up with friends for dinner, include Green Mesquite as one of your options. Grade: C+

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 9900 S Interstate 35, M700, Austin, TX 78748
Phone: (512) 282-7100

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q (Ben White)

Back to back barbecue chains? What is wrong with me? I was crunched for time during lunch. I had to run by Walmart to pick up some school supplies to donate to a local school for work. There was a Bill Miller Bar-B-Q right by the Walmart I went to. A few years ago I asked my wife what her favorite barbecue restaurant was. She said it was Bill Miller. I am not sure if she was being sarcastic. Bill Miller is a local chain that was started in San Antonio. They use a commissary concept. Everything is smoked or prepared at a central kitchen and then delivered to their 67 locations. My favorite things to get at Bill Miller Bar-B-Q are their breakfast tacos, fried chicken, and sweet tea. I like getting the brisket and egg, chicken and egg, or smoked sausage and egg breakfast tacos in the morning. Their fried chicken is really good too. I have a Bill Miller mug that I can get a refill of 32 ounces of sweet tea for 50 cents.

Today, I got the rib plate with two meats which included marbled brisket and sausage. On the side, I got coleslaw, potato salad, and hash browns. I was a little embarrassed to bring in my DSLR so I left it in the car. I just used my iPhone to snap a couple of pics. I never knew they had moist brisket. I always assumed they had lean, but I asked for the moist just in case today. They did have some, and it was not that terrible. It was tender and had a nice smoke ring. The flavor was a little lacking, and I could not taste any smoke. That is what barbecue sauce is for I guess. The ribs were actually surprisingly decent. They were juicy and a decent flavor. Their commercial sausage was good. It had a good casing and grind. The hash browns were good as usual. The coleslaw was a little vinegary but not bad. The potato salad had a consistency like mashed potatoes.

For being a barbecue chain, it is not terrible. They are very consistent and reasonable priced. They have daily specials, and you can get out of there on the cheap. They are open for all meals and every day of the week. If you do not want "fast food," stop here when you need a quick meal. Grade: Other

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 709 E Ben White Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 443-3533

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q (Leon Springs)

Sometimes as a blogger, you do things you would not normally do. I ate at a barbecue chain restaurant. We were in San Antonio with a friend's family for the day. Rudy's Country Store And Bar-B-Q was one of the first barbecue joints I have eaten at. I remember the food being awesome, but I also had nothing better to compare to it as well. Amber and I eat there ever so often. We like to order their smoked turkey during the holidays. When we lived in Lubbock, we loved getting the Coke fountain drink. It was the perfect combination of sweetness and carbonation. Too bad we do not drink any sodas anymore. The original Rudy's was located just north of San Antonio in Leon Springs.

When we got to the original location, there was a line of about ten people. We were not sure why there was a line. We assumed it is because it is a touristy destination. At this location, they charge for pickles and onions. What?! Every time we eat at Rudy's, it ends up being pricey. I guess at this location, they do not want to throw you a bone. We ended up ordering some moist brisket, one pork rib, a link of sausage, a half pound of chopped beef, and a half chicken. We also got a side of creamed corn and potato salad. The meal itself ended up being pretty disappointing. The brisket was underdone and chewy. They probably cut smaller slices to hide the quality of the brisket. Shame on them for trying to fool me. The pork rib had decent smoke and was tender, but it lacked any flavor. The sausage was okay for a commercial sausage. They cut it the link lengthwise which did not help. The casing was good, but that is about it. The chopped beef was good, but who can really mess up chopped beef? The smoked chicken was the winner. Their chicken is smoked to perfection. It was very juicy, tender, and flavorful. The creamed corn was excellent as usual. The potato salad was pretty good. I do not know if this location is a good indicator of all of the Rudy's. I have had better meals at other ones, but you would think the original would be the best.

This might be one of the harder posts for me to write. It is very difficult to find good things about a bad experience. I would not recommend going out of your way for this location. My wife did not agree on the grade I gave. She felt like I should have given Rudy's a lower grade. Rudy's does have good breakfast tacos though. Eggs and tortillas can mask the imperfection of their meats. Grade: Other

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 24152 Interstate Highway 10, San Antonio, TX 78257
Phone: (210) 698-2141

Monday, September 2, 2013

John Mueller Meat Co

Happy Labor Day! It is a holiday edition of my blog. I hope everyone out there is enjoying some barbecue. No not the stuff off the grill but the good stuff from a smoker. Too bad today is Meatless Monday for us. Blasphemy! My wife Amber and I have been participating for two and half years now.

John Mueller. Yeah I said his name. His family owns Louie Mueller Barbecue. He opened his own joint, John Mueller's B-B-Q, which later closed because he ran into financial issues. John later joined his sister and opened up JMueller BBQ. His sister then kicked him out of the business over a financial disagreement. He is now back again with John Mueller Meat Co. Hopefully he will be back for a while this time around. He did make the Texas Monthly Top 50 list again which should help.

There is a lot of street construction around his location at this time. Parking and getting in and around there is a pain right now. This is a bad thing for the restaurant but a good thing for me. I rolled up around 1 pm and there was no line at all. I have been to his previous establishments so I had high hopes going in. I ordered the normal trinity of moist brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. I had to add some of John's famous beef ribs. Before I sat down and ate my food, I was snapping shots of my meal. John was giving me a hard time for not eating his creations right away. He comes off as a jerk, but he is a genuine and an appreciative person.

When I finally dug in, the brisket was awesome but a tad dry. It had an excellent peppery crust. The pork ribs were very good. It was tender and had sweet glaze to them. The sausage was excellent but was a little spicy. I am fine with the heat, but I was caught off guard. The casing and the grind was superb in my book. It might be my favorite sausage right now. The beef ribs were good as usual. Just like his brother Wayne, John's beef rib is heavy on black pepper. The pepper meddles with the meat and forms this crispy bond that produces a lot of flavor. Beef ribs when smoked right are downright amazing. It is so tender and rich. The only bad thing I have noticed about beef ribs is that they have a membrane between the meat and the bone. I hate the texture of the membrane when I eat it.

John Mueller Meat Co met my expectations. I really hope everything works out for John Mueller this time around. We all win if he sticks around. The wait is shorter than Franklin and can be just as good. However he did say he did not want to read my "shitty little blog." Hopefully this post will change that. Grade: A-

Until next time, happy smoking...

Address: 2500 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702