Friday, January 20, 2012

Chief's BBQ & Grill

AUSTIN: Chief's BBQ & Grill
7811 S 1st St #104

Austin, Texas 78745


Open M-Sat 10:30-9, Sun 11-9

When I'm out on a multi-venue barbecue search, I record tasting notes into my phone to save for writing later. After a trip to Chief's it took about an hour to get the grease off my fingers and find a quiet place to record. Even then, I could still taste the heavy oak smoke and creosote from the mesquite that they mix in during smoking. This was some smoky meat for sure.

Just a few tables are inside the joint, so I took a loaded to-go container to my front seat to enjoy. That smokiness filled the car quickly. Thick and meaty St. Louis ribs had a deep black crust, but the flavor was seriously marred by a thick paste of powdered spices liberally applied before smoking. Salt and sugar melt into the meat under the heat of the smoker but spices like paprika and garlic powder don't dissolve and just sit on top of the meat. If used too liberally then an unappetizing paste forms. While the ribs were tender and smoky (too smoky?), the flavor of this rub just overpowered everything else, and not in a positive way. Slices of brisket were a bit dry with no fat, but the meat was tender with good smokiness. Ironically, they could have used more spice in the form of salt to bring out the brisket's flavor. Beautiful battered onion rings also need some salt or a dunk in the mustard/tomato/vinegar sauce. For the sausage they started with a good product in V&V sausage out of Flatonia, and they didn't do anything to screw it up. Minus the overpowering ribs at Chief's, they do some good stuff at this small storefront in South Austin.

Rating ***
Chief's BBQ on Urbanspoon

No comments:


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.