Tag Archives: bbq

Franklin Barbecue Redux (Austin, TX)

After three days of touring around central Texas eating BBQ and food from trucks, it was finally time for le pièce de résistance! Another trip to Franklin Barbecue! I’m not going to do a full repeat review, because, in short, Franklin is doing just as phenomenally this year. The brisket is still top notch, with good bark, excellent moisture, and good smoke, and it’s pretty much worth all the hype. Just two things have changed… The first is that the lines are, if anything, quite a bit longer. This year, we got organized at the hotel and all headed over to Franklin, arriving 30 minutes before they they opened (on a Sunday….), and the line was all the way down the block… Indeed, at T-30, I’m pretty sure that the people at the end of the line were going to find themselves getting… coleslaw…

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Black’s Barbecue (Lockhart, TX)

If your plan is to visit the Austin area for barbecue, it is somewhat mandatory that you get outside of town a bit, and visit the towns of Lockhart and Luling south of town. Lockhart is the self-appointed “BBQ Capital of Texas”, and it’s basically earned it, with three top-rated BBQ places all located walking distance of each other (Smitty’s, Kreuz, and Black’s). Similarly, most any mention of top-rated Austin-area barbecue includes a mention of City Market. So when we planned this year’s itinerary, once we got down knocking off the two Austin-proper newcomers (JMueller and Stiles Switch), it was time to make the Southern run. This year the itinerary was a stop of Black’s, followed by Kreuz, and then City Market…

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Stiles Switch (Austin, TX)

After a rather successful outing at JMueller BBQ, our BBQ crowd decided that our next stop would be another relative newcomer to the Austin BBQ scene: Stiles Switch. Stiles Switch opened up late last year on North Lamar towards the north end of Austin (down the street from Black Star Beer Coop, which Carol and I had enjoyed the night before). For those of you that recall the cult 1993 hit Dazed and Confused staring Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, and others, Stiles Switch is actually located in the same storefront that was the cheezy pool hall (The Emporium) in that film. Stiles even has a few stills from the film located in the dining area. But our trip was not about mediocre 90s films, it was about BBQ, and BBQ is what we got. One of the nice things about Stiles Switch is that unlike many of the BBQ joints that are set up like butcher shops or food carts, Stiles Switch actually runs a full BBQ restaurant…

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JMueller BBQ (Austin, TX)

(Closed) After our breakfast at Flaco’s, the 2012 Central Texas BBQ run began in earnest on May 11th with a visit to JMueller BBQ (That’s pronounced “J. Meller”, btw). JMueller was definitely one of the most anticipated places on our 2012 itinerary, since it is one of the up and coming BBQ spots of the Austin area, and has been getting favorable reviews from the standard sources like Full Custom Gospel BBQ, who give it a solid 5 star rating. Since none of us had been there, we made it our first stop. Carol and I were the first of our group of eight diners showing up that Friday morning. And, true to our expectations, JMueller is still a relative newcomer to the scene, running out of a modest cart and smoker on South 1st St (in much the same sort of setup Franklin was running a few years ago). JMueller has been “discovered”, but hasn’t yet gotten the crazed following that several of the other area places (again, like Franklin) have gotten, so a mere five minutes before their official opening, there was actually no line at JMueller. Yup, we showed up, and managed to even sit and relax at a table waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. So JMueller might be getting some good press, but it’s not yet attracting the massive throngs of BBQ-seeking fanatics that some of the other places have….

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Wicked Awesome BBQ (Lebanon, NH)

One of the downsides of living in Northern New England is that the climate here doesn’t really lend itself to outside dining most of the year. So, while much of the country (such as the Austin area I reviewed in April) has been enjoying a substantial food cart renaissance, with all sort of entrepreneurs deciding to open up their own restaurants (or mobile versions of their brick and mortar stores), the trend hasn’t been as wildly popular here. Recently, however, several things have changed. First, several of the area’s nascent Farmers Markets, such as Lebanon and Hanover, have grown from being new, small markets that were overshadowed by the large Saturday Norwich Farmers Market, into substantial markets in their own right. So prepared food vendors have several more outlets for their food, which has allowed several vendors to flourish, from Mama Tina’s Tamales, to Vermont Crepe and Waffle, to The Cupcake Queen, to Wicked Awesome BBQ.

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Bare Bone BBQ (Fairlee, VT)

As those that know me locally can verify, I’ve often complained that there’s just not a lot of BBQ action out there around the Upper Valley. Sure, there’s “Barbecue reformulated for New England Tastes” at Big Fatty’s, but that shouldn’t count (and doesn’t, the only thing salvageable on their menu is the pulled pork). Similarly, I’ve had a gazillion recommendations for Curtis’ BBQ in Putney, but I’ll agree with PigTrip.net that it’s disappointing. And I’ll let my review of Sweet Fire BBQ in Claremont speak for itself. I’m getting used to the fact that people up here don’t really know what BBQ is, but heard about it once and decided to make up something similar. And my recent trip to Texas didn’t help, either, since it just reintroduced me to what I’ve been missing. But, I’ve always held out hope that someone around here could figure out the basics of running a smoker, so when I hear of new BBQ places, I usually still feel compelled to give them a try… So, about a year ago, up in Fairlee, VT, the owners of the Whippi Dip ice cream stand decided that on the first Saturday of the month in the good weather months of the year they’d do the BBQ thing by setting up a tent in the parking lot and making some decent BBQ…

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Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)

Franklin Barbecue was the last, and the finest, stop on the Central TX BBQ Run. We now come to the last of my Austin trip food reviews. After two days of seriously gorging ourselves on BBQ and street food, for Sunday we had a relaxed pace. Sure, by this point I’d been to four different BBQ joints (some of my fellow travelers had been to seven by that point, including a second visit to City Market!) and sample food from at least a dozen street carts, but, surprisingly, I found myself a little bit hungry on Sunday morning. Our group rendezvoused for the last time at the hotel, and headed over to our last stop, Franklin Barbecue…

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City Market (Luling, TX)

First of all, let’s note that this isn’t a repeat review… the previous place was “City Meat Market” in Gidding’s, TX. This place is just “City Market” located in Luling, TX (which apparently bills itself as the “watermelon capital of Texas”, home of the annual “Thump Queen” pageant), but like so many of the venerable central Texas barbecue shrines, the name comes from a history of being a meat market well before it was a barbecue stand. Sitting on the main corner in Luling, TX, it’s one of the central attractions in downtown, taking up two modest store fronts on the main drag in town…

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City Meat Market (Giddings, TX)

After a very thoroughly satisfying BBQ breakfast at Snow’s BBQ, the question came up regarding which BBQ joint we should do next. About half of our crew had been to City Market in Luling, TX on Friday, and decided it was worth a repeat trip, especially for exposing those of us that were late arriving on the BBQ Run. But the drive from Lexington to Luling is a long one, almost two hours long. We decided that it would be irresponsible to go on such a long voyage without some sustenance, so we decided to stop off at City Meat Market in Giddings, TX for some more barbecue…

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Snow’s BBQ (Lexington, TX)

After a very successful Friday of BBQing and food-trucking, day two of the Central TX BBQ Run started with a trip to Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, TX. Snow’s is a modest little BBQ joint, but got catapulted to fame back in 2008 when Texas Monthly gave it a Best BBQ in Texas award. It’s been popular ever since, and their 300 pounds a day BBQ soon found itself surprisingly popular, and increasing their production four-fold. So it was only natural that a group such as ours would go seek out Snow’s. However, going to Snow’s is a bit of a logistical issue, since they only serve from 8 until noon on Saturday (they are closed the rest of the week), and they frequently run out of food, sometimes as early as 9:30. That means that if you aren’t taking it home, that means barbecue for breakfast!

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