ALRIGHTY NOW, WHO’S READY FOR AN EPIC BARBECUE POST?! So after Vegas, we land in Austin, Texas, home to incredible barbecue! Not the slap a shrimp on the barbie type of barbecue, nay, the low and slow barbecue where meats are meltingly soft, juicy and with an irresistible smokiness is where it’s at!
We drop off our bags and immediately uber over to Salt Lick (18300 FM 1826, Driftwood) for a late lunch. It’s about a 30 min drive to the middle of nowhere and we were super lucky that our uber drive actually decided to wait for us or we would’ve had no way in hell of getting back!
The locals mainly eat barbecue at lunch which was good for us as we never really switched over from Oz time zones and so we we missed out on the queues during normal eating hours. On my last visit to Salt Lick with Helen and Lex we’d waited an hour and spent our time drinking beer bought from the cellar around the corner and gazing at the pit o fire made famous by Man Vs Food. Yes it’s super touristy but it’s still a pretty impressive sight!
Mmm wall of pecan pies
I wanted to try a bit of everything so ordered The Rancher Plate (US$17.95/AU$25.50) which was a plate loaded with brisket, pork ribs, sausage and turkey and the Beef Ribs Plate (US$21.95/AU$31.20). All plates came with a huge mound of potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, pickles and super fluffy bread. I wasn’t too fond of the turkey and found it a bit dry but I loved the pork ribs which were packed with flavour and the beef ribs which had a good fat to meat ratio.
I ordered the Peach Cobbler ($5.95) instead of the pecan pie because Noods has this thing for pies with fruits. It was pretty good, the crust was light and there was heaps of peach slices buried underneath that gigantic scoop of ice cream!
We spent the arvo in downtown Austin, doing a bit of shopping but basically trying to stay indoors where there was air con because summer in Texas is freaking hot man. I love the heat but woah I was melting so we ducked into Blue Ribbon Barbecue (120 E 4th St, Austin but which has now closed it’s downtown location) and ordered the Barbecue Plate with brisket (US$9.99/AU$14.20).
My choice of 2 sides was the potato salad which reminded me of a Japanese style potato salad with heaps of white pepper and a refreshing coleslaw. Presentation wise, the plate looks a bit sad no? The brisket was tender but it didn’t have the telltale smoke ring or the flavour I was looking for and I ended up scoffing all the potato salad instead. Oh and refillable soda is so dangerous for me, I ended up drinking a looot of unsweetened tea because drinking so much soft drink always makes me feel a little loopy.
Lamberts (401 W 2nd St, Austin) is our final stop on Day 1 and I’m pretty sure it was this meal that broke Noods. 3 meals of barbecue in 1 day might’ve been a bit much to the uninitiated 😛 I chose Lamberts because I was interested in seeing how brisket from a restaurant would compare to the trailer type of barbecue joints and the Natural Black Angus Brisket ($19/AU$26.95) was pretty on the money! The brown sugar and coffee rub gave the brisket a nice charred outer layer aka the bark and there was that delicious hit of smokiness that I love.
Noods went for the Housemade Jalapeño Hot Links (US$16/AU$22.70) aka sausages so spicy he gave up after eating 1! The flavour was amazing but yeah woah nelly they were spicy haha
I’d ordered a side of Brussel Sprouts (US$8/AU$11.35) as my vegetable component but didn’t realise each and every leaf would be coated in the glossy sheen of butter. It was deeelicious but definitely didn’t help cut through the fattiness of the days eating 😛
Oh and I gotta make a mention of the complimentary corn bread at Lambert’s, it’s the freaking bomb! Too many times I’ve been disappointed with corn bread but Lambert’s nailed it! Baked fresh for each order the cornbread had fluffy innards and barely needed the pat of butter provided.
We ate other food groups after that first day of barbecue so the below eats are from meals from the rest of our time in Austin. I wasn’t keen on lining up for 3+ hours at Franklins BBQ again but would’ve done anything for La Barbecue (1906 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin)! Luckily the wait time was only an hour and best of all there was free beer!
So um I may have over ordered. Prices on the menu were per pound but well, I was feeling ambitious… So this here platter is: 1 pound of brisket (US$20/AU$28.40), 1/2 pound of smoky turkey (US$9/AU$12.80), 1 ginormous beef rib (US$22/AU$31.25), 3 pork ribs (US$17.98/AU$25.50), 1/2 pound pulled pork (US$8.99/AU$12.76), 1 brisket sandwich (US$10/AU$14.20), 1 serve buttermilk potato salad (US$2.25/AU$3.20) and 1 serve of chipotle coleslaw(US$1.99/AU$1.40). Oh and bonus slices of super fluffy bread. All this was for 2 people.
Aaand another look. Everything was just so freaking amazing but my heart belonged to the brisket- that smokiness, that fat, that flavour, I DIE FROM HAPPINESS.
Aaaand an overhead shot because baby you know you want it! Absolutely everything on this platter was amazing, the pulled pork and the turkey were so juicy too and just begging to be folded up in a slice of bread!
The ribs were pretty insane with meat so tender it fell off the bone like it couldn’t wait to live in my stomach.
DAT BEEF RIB THO! I mean LOOK AT IT! Don’t you just want to wrap your jaws around it??? We made it about 1/4 of the way through before admitting defeat but don’t worry there’s rolls of waxed paper to wrap your food for takeaway or ‘to-go’. We ended up eating bits of it as snacks along with many a trip to Whole Foods for some salad that wasn’t covered in mayo 😀
Last but not least was Kerlin BBQ (1700 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin) which is in the cutest little trailer but don’t let that fool you because they serve up a pretty awesome barbecue!
MEEEAT! Brisket (US$9/AU$12.80), pork ribs (US$9/AU$12.80), sausage (US$3/AU$4.25), blue cheese coleslaw (US$2.50/AU$3.55) with bonus pile of bread. The brisket was no match for La Barbecue but the pork ribs and the sausage would’ve given them a run for their money, the smokiness was more intense and sent shivers down my spine. The blue cheese coleslaw was pretty amazing, I’m slowly on the road to being a true blue cheese lover and this just blew my mind, the flavour wasn’t too in your face and had just the right balance of creaminess to keep me going back for more.
We aslo stopped by Rolling Smoke BBQ (1501 E 6th St, Austin) for the Frito Pie ($US6/AU$8.50) which is basically Frito chips (corn chips) covered in a layer of juicy pulled pork, bbq sauce, onions, coriander and chipotle cream sauce. It was the best kind of food after a night of beverages!
Aaaand that wraps up the barbecue in Austin, stay tuned for fried chicken, fried Oreos and Mexican food in Austin Part 2!