Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

RE: What's up to 'Cue in Austin


marinade
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi folks.

Some friends of mine from Dinosaur BBQ (wood burners w/ custom Klose cookers) in Albany did a cycle trip througth Austin and the Hill country. I ran into John Stage at the New York Fancy Food show and I asked him what was his pick of the litter. His answer was Salt Lick. John's a fellow 10 Speed Press cookbook author and seems to know his way around smoke. Is he right on the money or just blowing "smoke"? BTW, I've been mining the Austin Food Trail thread for a trip to Austin in Sept for the ACL music fest. any updates woould be aprreciated.

Jim T

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All right. I'll admit it. My name is Jaymes and I like the Salt Lick.

Yes, it's a stop on the Tourist Bus trail.

Yes, it's probably gone downhill since it began focusing on quanity rather than quality.

Is it on my "Top Three"?

No.

"Top Five"?

Maybe.

I like it.

Just shoot me now why don'cha.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read your post about Latin food on the PA board, and in Austin, one place I really think you should check out is Fonda San Miguel. Like any restaurant, the quality varies from year to year as the staff and/or focus changes, but this place has been mentioned as being one of the best examples of "interior Mexico" food in the nation.

With your obvious interest in Latin cuisine, I'd put it at the top of your "don't miss" list.

Another place I really enjoy is the Cafe at Four Seasons. For one thing, I just love that hotel. It's not really huge - and in fact has an intimate feel, I think. They've made an effort to "localize" the place - so that when you walk into the lobby, you don't feel like you're in just any Four Seasons anywhere.

The bar right off of the lobby will be a gathering spot for ACL attendees, as it always is for Austin entertainment conferences and visiting celebs. That's where Brad began romancing Jennifer Anniston, so we locals were all "in the know" even before Gweneth realized Brad was hers no more.

The Cafe is downstairs, and it is always at the top of the "best local restaurants" lists. It is a beautiful location, too, right by the river. The patio out from the Cafe is an excellent place to watch the bats fly from the Congress Street bridge - another Austin "don't miss."

I've had many excellent meals at the Cafe - but two things stick in my mind. The Lobster Bisque is heaven in a bowl; and the Mixed Hill Country Grill - a selection of meats native to the Texas Hill Country - was outstanding, and that's the only place I've ever seen it offered.

Of course, the menu offerings rotate according to season, so don't know what they'll have at any given time.

Another good place to look for information, I noticed, is on eGullet under the "NY'er in Austin" thread. That person hit some of our real top spots.

Including Lockhart. You just must, MUST go to Lockhart for BBQ. And regardless as to which of the Lockhart "big three" (Smitty's, Kreuz's, Black's) you choose for your meal, at least go to Smitty's to walk through the building.

Don't know how much you know about BBQ in Texas - so I may be telling you old news - but the best 'cue in Central Texas started with German immigrants years ago. These men missed the smoked meats and sausages of their homeland so they went into the business here - establishing meat markets and butcher shops in the little towns where they settled.

Texas, of course, is now and was then cattle country, so it wasn't long before they were smoking beef along with the sausages and other pork products.

Because they were meat markets, they just sold meat - no BBQ sauce, no sides. But workers would come in from the fields and order a pound of smoked brisket or sausage or whatever, and they'd get it just like you'd expect to get it from a meat market - sliced, unadorned, laid upon a piece of butcher paper.

The workmen would take the meat and sit outside under the trees and eat it, usually accompanied with some crackers and bottles of Tobasco or Tapatio or other hot sauce.

These places were not restaurants. They didn't offer potato salad or cole slaw or beans or sauce or plates or knives or forks. Just meat. They saw it as a huge advance in customer service to have a basket of crackers available at checkout.

One of the most successful of these old markets was Kreuz's in Lockhart. There was a family squabble a couple years back, and the son that had inherited the Kreuz's family business and name got into an argument with the daughter that had inherited the Kreuz's family building. The upshot was that the son built a new building and moved the business into it, and the daughter remained in the old building, renaming it Smitty's.

Walking through that old Kreuz's Meat Market building, now Smitty's, is like visiting a holy temple of BBQ. So whatever else you do, you should go there. Park in the back - in the gravel parking lot. Walk in through the back door (everybody does). It's like walking into history.

Absolutely not to be missed.

And for good "local, downhome cooking," we've lately discovered Tony's Soul Food. We've all decided it's better than Hoover's and Threadgill's. But since you're in the music biz, I have to say that the original Threadgill's, on Lamar, is an interesting place. And Wednesday is still "open mike night" for local musicians. I always take my out-of-town company there. As I've said elsewhere on these boards, history and ambiance count for me. And that restaurant used to be a gas station on the old Dallas Highway out of Austin. In the late 30's and early 40's, my dad would stop there to fill up his car with "good Gulf Gasoline" on his way north to Dallas to court my mother.

We are having an Austin eG get-together in September, but it's probably going to be around the first of the month and as I recall, the ACL festival is more toward the end, so that undoubtedly won't coincide.

Austin has a small but very lively and extremely knowledgeable bunch of eGulleteers. You'll get lots of good info!

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi folks.

Some friends of mine from Dinosaur BBQ (wood burners w/ custom Klose cookers) in Albany did a cycle trip througth Austin and the Hill country. I ran into John Stage at the New York Fancy Food show and I asked him what was his pick of the litter.

Just to clarify

Dinosaur BBQ does a great "Kansas City Style BBQ"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Jaymes did a good job of summarizing the Salt Lick. You can get good Q at the Salt Lick, but it never rises to greatness like those in Lockhart, Taylor, Llano, etc.

Personally, the salt lick is my choice for large groups of visiting friends and family. Even when there is a long wait for a table, waiting outside on the large patio listening the live music with a cooler of local beer (the salt lick is BYO) is a great way to spend an afternoon

If you are truly seeking to sample some of the great Q in central Texas, Smitty’s, Kruetzs and Blacks in Lockhart are key stops.

Another hot spot will be the Driskill Hotel. David Bull, the chef in the Driskill Grill was recently named to F&W’s ”best new chef” top ten list and has been doing some exciting things with the menu.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marinade - a lot of this depends on how long you'll have here.

If you only can do one 'cue place - I'd suggest Smitty's.

But other greats are Louie Mueller's in Taylor and City Market in Luling.

Cooper's in LLano has always been one of the best, but lately folks say it's gone sadly downhill - a victim of its own success.

And good suggestion, NYT, about the Driskill. The Hotel, the bar, and the Grill will certainly be prime places to congregate. And high praise indeed for David Bull to be named one of the Top Ten Best New Chefs in the US by Food & Wine.

That's at the head of my list for places to try, for sure.

:rolleyes:

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are truly seeking to sample some of the great Q in central Texas, Smitty’s, Kruetzs and Blacks in Lockhart are key stops.

Lockhart was always my list.

Another hot spot will be the Driskill Hotel. David Bull, the chef in the Driskill Grill was recently named to F&W’s ”best new chef” top ten list and has been doing some exciting things with the menu.

Now you've got my curiosity. I've always been a fan of Steve Pyles and Dean Fearing's approach to food. "Southwest Tastes" by Ellen Brown ages well. I'll drill down on Driskill's menu if they have site. I go a couple ways when I hit food cities or regions, first I try to find the simple stuff that's done well and then see who stretches it. Like music, you need innovators to refresh it and traditionalists to keep it honest.

Jim T

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now you've got my curiosity. I've always been a fan of Steve Pyles and Dean Fearing's approach to food. "Southwest Tastes" by Ellen Brown ages well. I'll drill down on Driskill's menu if they have site. I go a couple ways when I hit food cities or regions, first I try to find the simple stuff that's done well and then see who stretches it. Like music, you need innovators to refresh it and traditionalists to keep it honest.

Jim T

Ask for and you shall receive:

The menu and wine list

Edited by NewYorkTexan (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Looking for good interior Austin barbeque?

The challenge was to find someplace near downtown to take Anne Willan to. A caterer friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that we needed to take her to Barbeque World Headquarters in the Farmer's Market on Burnet Road.

So we did. And found what might possibly be my favorite in-town place.

It's a hole in the wall, owned by two nice guys. They has a custom-made 500 gallon smoker. He smokes his brisket for 18 hours over oak. My friend told us to order the wet side of the brisket and the pork loin . They were both outstanding. The pork ribs were maybe the best I've had anywhere. They offer two bbq sauces: one ketchup based and the other, North Carolinan vinegar based. Their borracho beans are made inhouse. The coleslaw was fresh, chunky and crunchy.

Give these guys a try and report back to me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking for good interior Austin barbeque?

The challenge was to find someplace near downtown to take Anne Willan to. A caterer friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that we needed to take her to Barbeque World Headquarters in the Farmer's Market on Burnet Road.

So we did. And found what might possibly be my favorite in-town place.

It's a hole in the wall, owned by two nice guys. They has a custom-made 500 gallon smoker. He smokes his brisket for 18 hours over oak. My friend told us to order the wet side of the brisket and the pork loin . They were both outstanding. The pork ribs were maybe the best I've had anywhere. They offer two bbq sauces: one ketchup based and the other, North Carolinan vinegar based. Their borracho beans are made inhouse. The coleslaw was fresh, chunky and crunchy.

Give these guys a try and report back to me!

Sounds like a good choice. I've never been there, but must remedy it at once. What did Miss Anne think?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it was her first Texas bbq experience. She had mentioned last summer that she loves bbq, so she was eager to try it. She was curious about the cuts of meat and method of smoking. I think she enjoyed it (although she's so gracious that she would have said she enjoyed it even if she hadn't.) Put it this way: she ate her fair share!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my Austin days I always thought Salt Lick was a great place to spend a long afternoon/evening with a large cooler of beer, good friends, and decent bbq. I always thought the meat was hit or miss but always had a good time.

When we were serious about getting great meat we always headed to Lockhart.

Rodney

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Salt Lick? Please.

If you're stuck in Austin, Johnnie Mueller's is WAY better. The ribs at Artz are way better than anything (except, maybe, the desserts) that you'll get at Salt Lick. County Line is better than Salt Lick for heaven's sake. Iron Works is better. I've even had better at Stubb's! And then there's always Sam's but I imagine that the type of person who thinks that Salt Lick is the best bbq in the Austin area wouldn't even begin to get it. And I say all this as a (temporary, I hope) New Yorker. Salt Lick? God, I need a beer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just re-read what I wrote and by "stuck in Austin" I mean "limiting oneself to bbq places in Austin and not driving to a destination place like Lockhart". Then it occurred to me - freakin' Taylor is almost as close to Austin as Salt Lick, timewise. Round Rock is closer and they have Cooper's. You could also go to Elgin and Crossroads in about the same amount of time as driving to Salt Lick. How much further is Lockhart than Salt Lick from downtown Austin? Geez, you could probably find a McDonald's that has the McRib closer to Austin than Salt Lick (maybe that's being a bit harsh). Bastrop is a shorter drive than Salt Lick! Now I'm even more appalled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking for good interior Austin barbeque?

The challenge was to find someplace near downtown to take Anne Willan to. A caterer friend told me, in no uncertain terms, that we needed to take her to Barbeque World Headquarters in the Farmer's Market on Burnet Road.

So we did. And found what might possibly be my favorite in-town place.

It's a hole in the wall, owned by two nice guys. They has a custom-made 500 gallon smoker. He smokes his brisket for 18 hours over oak. My friend told us to order the wet side of the brisket and the pork loin . They were both outstanding. The pork ribs were maybe the best I've had anywhere. They offer two bbq sauces: one ketchup based and the other, North Carolinan vinegar based. Their borracho beans are made inhouse. The coleslaw was fresh, chunky and crunchy.

Give these guys a try and report back to me!

I wonder if their south location ---183, between 35 and 290--- is as good.

They changed owners several months (maybe a year) ago. Sounds like they stepped up the quality if the Q. Now I can not wait to go back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...

obviously, people still read these older threads... i found this with a search.

if you read enough of this stuff, you'll see that on any day, one is good that previously was crap, and vice-versa.

i for one will NEVER go back to Smitty's.

not only did the Clod not look appetizing, but my brisket was crap (i have photos). if I lived in the area or had more time, i def. would have had them get me another plate.

we had a great brisket at Blacks, but beware if you want lean, they don't cut it across the grain. i didn't like the look of what they served me and they recut it and it was great.

sausage at Southside was fantastic, brisket wayyyy dry. spares and baby's as good as mine, just not as flavorful cause of just salt/pepper rub.

after growing up in san antonio, i was amazed how close this stuff was. i rarely left SA, but if I lived there now I'd def. go all over that area. I wanted to go to Salt Lick cause my customers in Tampa will come in and talk about how they went to SL, but my brother wouldn't let us go cause he said we needed to see the "real" places. seriously, i bowed to pressure from my sister in law cause she was ridiculing me for wanting to go to the tourist spot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...