Mann's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que (closed)
I have had barbecue from Mann's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que a few times over the years. The company I for work also orders catering from here quite frequently. The pits are (wo)manned by Kathleen Mann. She is the daughter of the owners and one of very few female pitmasters out there. They used to be a Texas Monthly's Top 50 BBQ restaurant in 2008, but the BBQ market has gotten very competitive since then. I never thought I would be able to stop in again because I do not work in the area, and they are not open on the weekends. I had some business to attend to in North Austin on this day and was able to drop in for lunch. Sometime things just work out.
I ordered the Texas Sampler which comes with brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, and jalapeño sausage. It also came with two sides so I ordered coleslaw and macaroni and cheese. The brisket was decent. It was missing that dark bark I love. Mann's uses an Old Hickory smoker which is fueled by natural gas instead of solely wood. You can taste the smoke, but you will not get the deep smoke that some of us cherish. The moist cut was tender and fatty. The pork ribs were solid and meaty. It had a nice flavor, and not much effort was required to pull the meat off. The beef ribs were a baby back variety. Compared to short ribs elsewhere, they do not have as much meat on the bone. Although there was not a whole lot of meat, the smoker did do a good number on it. It was smoky and flavorful. The jalapeño sausage was a commercial sausage, but it was not bad at all. The spice from the jalapeño gave it a nice finish. The macaroni and cheese was different. It was not as creamy and had spaghetti noodles in it. The coleslaw was crisp and fresh.
Kathleen gave me a sample plate of her BBQ sauce, Brunswick stew and pulled pork. The sauce was a Georgia-style one that was mustard and vinegar based. In case you did not know, I hate mustard. I was surprised by the Brunswick stew. I have never had it before, but I liked it. It was a tomatoey concoction with bits of leftover smoked meats. It was good. The pulled pork was probably my favorite meat here. The smoke, rub, and moisture of the pork worked well together.
No frills. No fuss. Blue collar. That is how I would describe Mann's. They put out consistent barbecue for the everyday working man. Not everyone has time to stand in a long line to get their barbecue. Ain't nobody got time for that! They do have daily specials that work with everyone's budget. Not pictured is the brownie I got for free. They have free brownies a couple of days during the week, and on Fridays, they serve up homemade ice cream. The combination of the pulled pork and Brunswick stew is enough for me to go back.
Until next time, happy smoking...