Monday, October 31, 2011

2nd Annual Texas Monthly BBQ Festival

This year was Texas Monthly's second annual BBQ Festival. It was bigger and better this year with more attendees and an overall better experience. Much has been written about the event form plenty of angles (see links below), so I thought I'd take you through a tour of the food.

Smitty's Market

Snow's is the only food shot that I missed. That jalapeno sausage was just too good.

Cousin's brisket ribs and sausage
Coleman's sausage and brisket
Lambert's pork, brisket and sausage
Sausage and that famous rib from Country Tavern
Buzzie's brisket
Hard 8 brisket and sauage

Baby J's brisket, sausage and ribs
Casstevens brisket
Big Daddy's rib
Taylor Cafe rib, turkey sausage and beef sausage

Vincek's brisket and sausage by Texas Monthly

Louie Mueller brisket, beef rib and sausage
City Meat Market brisket, sausage and rib
Opie's rib sausage and brisket
Stanley's rib
Wild Blue rib, brisket and corn pudding
Baker's Ribs brisket, sausage and ribs
Salt Lick brisket, ribs and sausage
TC's Ponderosa's ribs, brisket and sausage
Franklin BBQ brisket

The big winners were Austin's own Franklin BBQ for brisket, Stanley's Famous BBQ in Tyler for ribs, and Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor took home top prize in beef ribs and sausage. For more coverage of the Festival check these links:
Eat My Words quotable wrap-up, Eat My Words photo gallery, Austin 360Eater Austin, KVUE (video), and Texas Eats.

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tribute to Robert Earl Keen

"Barbecue - Sliced beef and bread, ribs and sausage, and a cold Big Red..."

These are the lyrics to a Robert Earl Keen song "Barbeque" first recorded for Gringo Honeymoon released in 1994. I first heard it in 1996 after I met a couple guys in college from San Antonio who were staunch REK fans. Now it fills my car stereo on nearly every BBQ road trip I take. It's a theme song that gets me in the mood to eat, not that I need much persuasion.

- BBQ Snob

Read the rest!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Live Oak Barbecue

AUSTIN: Live Oak Barbecue
2713 East 2nd Street

Austin, TX 78702


Open Daily 11-midnight

I was full I had just had a feast at another East side BBQ joint, Franklin Barbecue. Maybe it was unfair to make a quick stop at this joint that just opened in early 2011, but I had heard some good things. This is market style 'cue where meat is served on butcher paper by the pound. Given their proximity and shared label of 'hipster barbecue', the comparisons to Franklin Barbecue are inevitable. Where the Franklin dining room is bright, packed with people, and playing old time country music, Live Oak was 1/3 full, felt like a windowless basement, and had alternative tunes blaring.

Tom Spaulding is smoking out of the custom made pit. Besides the Texas BBQ standards, he's been cooking up some interesting proteins. If you've been around for the Saturday specials, then you may have the option to try lamb, cabrito, cornish hen or prime rib. The special changes weekly and it's popular. Cornish hen was sold out and a second batch wasn't yet ready so I opted for some brisket slices, a pork spare rib, a hunk of cheddar and a can of Pearl beer.

The brisket showed great potential, but had a few issues on my visit. A rub heavy on the salt had been liberally applied, and each bite grew saltier than the next. Good smoke was certainly there, but the salt really took things over. The texture was a bit tough and required more cooking time to render out the fat that was still a bit chewy. A sloppily cut spare rib had a dense meaty texture and a visible layer of fat, but wasn't really undercooked. The meat came away from the bone and that fat wasn't the least bit chewy. The flavor was smoky and the rub, while still salty, was a bit more subtle than that of the brisket. Luckily it wasn't anything that a bit of Pearl couldn't wash down. Based on this visit, I'm looking forward to a full meal on a return visit. Maybe that brisket will get a little more time in the smoker and a little less salt.

Rating ***
Live Oak Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Henk's Bar-B-Que

AMARILLO: Henk's Bar-B-Que
1508 S Grand St

Amarillo, TX 79104


Open M-Sat 7:30-8

My wife was looking for a Braum's, and I'm always looking for some barbecue. It just so happened that this exit on the east side of Amarillo had both. I stepped into the small dining room that lacked air conditioning, and made my way up to the counter. I noticed 'hotz' on the menu, so I had to add them to my normal order of brisket and ribs. I watched as the cutter grabbed a perfect cube of brisket and hack off a few slices. It was so oddly trimmed that it didn't look like it came from a cow.

Upon tasting, the brisket, my opinion of it didn't improve. It was hard, dry and lacked smoke. The Panhandle just doesn't seem to do brisket well. Ribs were better. They had a good heavy rub on them with plenty of black pepper. The smoke level was pleasing and the meat was tender. The hotz were basically a jalapeno cheese sausage the size of a hot dog. The texture was much better than a hot dog with a nice snap to the casing. The flavor was smoky with some real heat from the jalapenos. If I lived near there I could see downing a few of these as a snack. I just wouldn't bother with the brisket again.

Rating **
Henk's Pit Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Read the rest!


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.