TMBBQ Road Trip - Hill Country

Texas Monthly puts on a barbecue bus tour that take you to a few BBQ joints in a day. I recently had the opportunity to go on one. On this trip, the stops were Opie's Barbecue in Spicewood, Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano, and La Barbecue in Austin. Our tour guide for this adventure is none other than Texas Monthly's BBQ editor, Daniel Vaughn. I sometimes envy his job.

We left Austin for Opie's at 10 am. It is about an hour drive to Spicewood. I am a big fan of Opie's. Fellow blogger Lisa Rawlinson of Full and Content was also on the trip so we shared some of the food. It was all about pacing ourselves. We got the baby back ribs, moist brisket, jalapeƱo sausage, pork chop, butter beans, tatertot casserole, and spicy corn. The baby back ribs are money here. They are sweet, spicy, juicy, tender, and smoky. I could live off these. The tatertot casserole was other highlight of the meal. It was unique and nothing like I had before. Here is a profile of Pitmaster Seth Glaser posted by a fellow BBQ blogger not long ago.

What is this? It is a wood contraption that feeds the mesquite wood into the Oyler smoker. What an innovative idea! It limits the need to wake up in the middle of the night to load logs into the smoker.

Cooper's was 45 minutes from Spicewood. It gave our digestive system some time to do its thing. When we got there, brisket, sausage, ribs, chicken, and pork chop with sides of beans and potato salad were waiting for us. The pork chop is all I can think about. It is nicely seasoned and tasted wonderful. They cook it high and fast so the cut of pork stays super juicy.

On the way back to Austin, I noticed there were a lot of dead trees. The drought is a lot worse than I imagined. Sad. I was definitely getting full, and a quick pit stop at It's All Good Bar-B-Q did not help. We picked up a to-go order of brisket, pork ribs, and turkey. They used to have a trailer in Austin but moved before I got a chance to try them. The rub on brisket was very different. It tasted like a sweet soy sauce?

An hour and a half later, we finally made it to La Barbecue. I have never eaten here this late. It is always sold-out by this time on a Saturday. There were trays of meat for us. The heaping piles of brisket, pork ribs, and hot guts covered the trays. Everything on it was excellent. All of it. I even enjoyed the lean slices of brisket. I actually tried their sides for the first time. The coleslaw and potato were fresh and delicious. Pitmaster John Lewis is one of my favorite people in barbecue. He is down to earth and friendly.

I had a great time on the trip. I was stuffed with barbecue and beer. My wife and I went to see OneRepublic that evening as well. Probably not the best idea. Texas Monthly puts on a lot of great barbecue events. This is one of them. It was well organized and had a lot of value. Their golden child is the TMBBQ Festival which will be held in the middle of next month. They also have done a 'Cue Court. I have missed on getting tickets to previous Behind the Pit Dinners where they will hold an intimate dinner with the pitmaster at that respective BBQ joint. TMBBQ have done other bus tours in the past. They have gone to Snow's BBQ in Lexington, Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, and Franklin Barbecue in Austin on one trip. The Houston trip included Corkscrew BBQ (on my list to try), Gatlin's BBQ, Virgie's Bar-B-Que, and Killen's Barbecue. Is The Metroplex next?

Until next time, happy smoking...


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