Monday, March 16, 2009

BBQ Crash Course

The fine BBQ purveyors from Central Texas were the hightlight during the BBQ Crash Course, held at Emo's in Austin during the annual SXSW Conference and Festival.

The cost was $75, but the experince was priceless. Where else do you have the chance to eat so much great 'cue variety in one place and chew the fat with some of legends of Texas BBQ? The line outside told me that other folks thought this might be a good value too.

Here's the line-up:
Snows in Lexington - Brisket and Pork Steaks
Louie Mueller in Taylor - Brisket, Original Sausage and Jalapeno Sausage
Artz Rib House in Austin - Baby Back Ribs
Inman's Ranch House in Marble Falls - Turkey Sausage
County Line in Austin - Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs
and finally peach cobbler and banana pudding from At Home on the Range in Austin.
Yes, Ranch 616 was at the event as well, but cabrito tacos with pineapple salsa do not belong in this discussion or in the category of BBQ.

A large crowd enjoying the weather and food.

Also in attendance was John DeMers, the author of Follow the Smoke which chronicles 8 months of BBQ gluttony. He was selling and signing his books as well as telling great stories about his exploits.

John DeMers and BBQ Snob

Wayne Mueller slicing brisket

Baby back ribs from Artz Rib House

I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk with some Texas BBQ giants, including Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue and Kerry Bexley of Snows BBQ. I was amazed at the similarities between their philosophies. Both smoke with all oak, and have no prescribed cooking temperature or time, using only experience to tell when the meat is ready. Both have also been so successful that they are routinely asked to franchise. Neither man is comfortable putting their name on a joint where they don't control the experience or the quality. Being a BBQ afficionado, I admire their commitment to quality on every plate.

Texas BBQ Legends, Kerry Bexley and Wayne Mueller discussing rising brisket costs

Along with the pit masters, I met some great folks with like minds as it pertains to the enjoyment of good food. Addie Broyles writes for Austin360 as well as the Austin American-Statesman, while Josh Kerr writes for Maggie's Austin. I'm looking forward to perusing their past and future work.

This event was more about BBQ camaraderie than competition, but the BBQ Snob can't help but judge. Snow's Brisket was the "Best in Show", with Louie Mueller's Jalapeno Sausage in a close second. Artz Rib House carved the tastiest ribs, and the banana pudding was phenomenal. I'm looking forward to next year!

-BBQ Snob

1 comment:

Addie said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the event! That brisket was indeed the best in show :)

I look forward to reading your blog, too! If you're ever in Central Texas, on a BBQ hunt, we should hook up!

addie broyles


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.