Wow. What an amazing week of food. I’m really nervous to step on a scale when I get home. Here’s the highlights.
Right after touching down in Austin we headed off to Lockhart, Texas. This is a town about 30 miles outside of Austin that has 3 legendary BBQ joints. The first one we went to was Blacks BBQ, a place that has been run by the same family for like 75 years.
Here we learned to be careful about what you ordered. My ribs were some of the best I have ever had, but my brisket was so-so and kinda dry. For others on the table it was the exact opposite. Awesome brisket (nice and moist) and so-so ribs. It all depends on where you get the cut from within the slab of meat. Some of that can be chalked up to timing of when you reach the counter vs where they are in the slab. Some you can actually ask for (wet end of brisket).
We got to go on a tour of their pit that are the originals the grandfather had built 75 years ago with 300lb lids. They use post oak to smoke the meat. The oak is plentiful in the area and is aged a year after cutting. They cook their meat to about 90% done and then put it in a cooler for a few DAYS, not a few hours like I do. This gives the meat a lot of time to redistribute juices and stuff. Then they pull it out and cook it the last 10% before serving.
We went back the next day to another of the 3 places. This time to Smitty’s Market. More awesome ribs, but in a different way. They had a bit of a sweet glaze on them that rocked. No utensils are provided (much to the dismay of the ladies in the group) so it’s all with your hands. A great ambiance to this place, but I think Black’s barely edged them out.
The next day we stayed more local to Austin and went to a chain BBQ place called Rudy’s. The place was awesome. Great atmosphere, great brand, great food! Of the four (one more coming up) BBQ places I ate, on this trip. If someone only had time to go to one place, this would be the one I would tell them to eat at. Best all around experience, close to town, great food.
Last time I came to SXSW we ate at a wing place called Pluckers, and we just HAD to make a return trip. My two favorite flavors are the Dr. Pepper wings and the Lemon Pepper. Sooo yummy. We just don’t have good wing places in Utah. We found out too late that they have a Buffalo Wild Wings as well (weekly visit back in KC). Sadly, no pictures were taken.
Last, but not least is the Salt Lick. This is a BBQ joint out in the middle of nowhere. But they also serve thousands of people a week. This one is all you can eat pork ribs, brisket, sausage and sides. This time Salt Lick ranked at the bottom of my list BBQ wise, but was second (after Rudy’s) for experience. But being last in this list is like saying a 2011 Camero is last after a Ferrari, Lamborghini and 2011 Corvette Grand Sport. It’s still better then anything you have probably ever driven (or eaten as the case may be). So you’d take it on any day of the week.
That’s the end of the list. There were a few “lighter” meals along the way, but nothing worth mentioning.
I sure miss living in a BBQ town, especially now that I am a lot more into it. I would definitely take more advantage of the KC area if I moved back. So many places I heard of but didn’t try.
Utah is sorely lacking in iconic places to eat. It’s starting to get a few good BBQ places, but not enough.
Thanks for the extra poundage Austin. It was a pleasure to get fatter with your BBQy goodness.
Oh, and we hit Rudy’s one more time on the way out. The scale said I am now about 8lbs more pig and cow then I was before I left 🙂