Sunday, March 1, 2009

CAUTION!!! Don't eat like this every day. Or even every week!

Texas Barbecue...So tasty and so satisfying. People always ask me what my favorite spot is. Truthfully that's like asking someone what is their favorite vacation. In my mind there's really no way to completely put my finger on either of them. Barbecue has so many qualities (or possible qualities) that definitively telling someone which is my favorite would be impossible.

Let's lay a little groundwork...Everyone sees barbecue and how it should be prepared and served differently. Many purists will tell you it should only be served on butcher paper with nothing else but some bread and/or crackers. Sauce you ask??? Purists would also tell you there should be none. The true test of good barbecue should be in the flavor of the meat and the meat alone. Others believe the sauce is the boss, sides are necessary and plates are welcome at the table. The beauty of Austin is that you can get basically anything and everything.

I could take you to a place where smoke literally billows out of the front door as if the building were burning down, where they have no menu, where the meat is served on butcher paper and the only side you can get is a bag of Doritos and a whole Avocado. So you say you want plastic? You say you want utensils...come on, let's get real...utensils? If that's the case I will get you a plate, I will get you a knife I will even get you the use of an ATM machine or the possibility of paying with credit...just make sure you're good for that bill, we don't need any more credit problems.

In addition to the varying preparation and serving manner the reason I may go to one place over the other is because each place generally has things they're better at than others. For instance, Rudy's has incredible brisket, Smitty's has mouth-watering ribs that cook so slowly and beautifully that the outside becomes naturally caramelized, Pok-e-Jo's has tender and spicy sausage, Kreuz has a pork chop that will put you on...well let's just say...your pork chop, and the Salt Lick has the Sunday special of baby back ribs that, and I quote, my friend said last weekend, "are these really legal...I mean come on...ridiculous!"

Yesterday my Dad I I journeyed to Lockhart, Texas. It is a town thirty minutes away from Austin and is known for its famous barbecue establishments. We went to a place called Kreuz...great barbecue, not so great sides, lung cancer waiting to happen (really smokey inside), too salty, a great time, totally worth it.
For me, barbecue isn't just about the food. It is about the all encompassing experience. It is about the company you're with, the yearning hunger inside that you've built up all day so that you can eat tons of meat, the varying styles and analyzing every little aspect from the smokiness of the meat to the acidity of the barbecue sauce. No barbecue will ever be the best. They are all simply unique and fulfilling experiences that make me feel lucky to live in such a crunchy place...Austin!

20 comments:

Mary said...

Of course, the real BBQ question is vinegar or tomato based?

Being from NC, gotta go with vinegar. :)

Whitney said...

Mmm, BBQ. I don't think any other food can spark such heated debates as it can.
I really love my ribs (sans sides, ..they just get in the way) but I've been dying to try some brisket. I'm making that a priority on my next TX visit.

Miss B said...

BBQ, my favorite- in boston my favorite is the Smoke House. I made pulled pork this weekend using my crockpot. It was so easy and so good!

Garrett said...

I haven't tried bbq with a good vinegar sauce...I would love to!

BBQ can definitely cause heated debates...It can be really fun

please give me the recipe for your pulled pork...I would love to make it.

Donna Binkholder said...

That is very very good right about now!!! Oh I love all that stuff...but I live on a farm so oh man ribs are the bomb and we make our own BBQ.....oh it's awesome.....this looks very very good...Tell you want even though I am a thrower I can't eat like that everyday...I wish...lol....Garrett stop making me hungry will ya...!! U wanna no something maybe they should make Cooking an Olympic event...Swim while flipping burgers or something like that...Sorry I am random..lol..

J said...

The barbecue picture is priceless...I am a fan of white sauce on my barbecue! It definitely a southern thing! Rock on the Grand Prix this weekend!

Jane said...

The best BBQ sauce/marinade contains Hendersons Relish! It's a sauce from Sheffield, England that adds the perfect twist to loads of meals!

Of course walking past the factory everyday to work makes me slightly biased, and I've never had BBQ in Texas so I'm still a novice in this department.

Romans 16:1 said...

Looks awesome!!

crystal said...

texas doesn't play around when it comes to bbq :) it's so freaking good.

Coach Ky said...

GWG -

Just got back last night from 4 days and 3 nights at Horseshoe Bay Resort outside Marble Falls. I would highly recommend a small little diner called Blue Bonnet Cafe. Had myself the 2/3 rack of ribs and the sauce was AWESOME! Then a great piece of homeade pie.

Garrett said...

they actually have something called the culinary Olympics.

I would like to try Hendersons relish sometime...can you get it in the US?

Blue Bonnet Cafe huh? I don't get out to Marble Falls very often but I think now I have a reason to make a trip sometime this spring.

shake 'n bake said...

What a bit of serendipity...I've been meaning to ask you which was your preferred BBQ spot in Lockhart. I'm planning a trip to your fair city (v.v.v. sadly not for the Grand Prix - my friends do not share in my enthusiasm for all things natatory)and we wanted to make a trip to the BBQ capital of TX. One of my bibles is "Roadfood" by Jane and Michael Stern. Problem is their reviews are always so tantalizing that you can never make up your mind which place to try. Since our time is limited, your blog helped me decide on Smitty's. (Is Smitty's the place that you describe as having no menu and no utensils?? If yes, I want to go to there.)
Have you been Black's BBQ, also in Lockhart? Ah, so much BBQ, so little time.

Donna Binkholder said...

Really they do?? Is something like that ever televised??? I am thinking that I should to a little road trip to some places I think TX is on my list....lol.

Jane said...

I think Henderson's is only available in Sheffield. I had a quick look at the website hendersonsrelish.com and they do deliveries, but don't know if they do it to the US.

I might be able to send some, if it makes it through customs. It's also a bargain at 99p!!

Jane xx

Erik Sterne said...

Stubbs BBQ is so close to the Texas Swim Center that I ate there about 5 times when I swam at Masters Nationals last year. It is within walking distance of the pool and it is a great music venue too.

Bill said...

That photo brings back good memories from last December. Hope all is well in TX.

Kellie said...

I think Rudy's has great BBQ...especially for being a chain restaurant. Living in Texas my whole life, I have had some amazing BBQ. My favorite place is Cousin's in Ft. Worth. So good!!!

Soly said...

That looks really good. I think the next time I am out in Austin, I'll have to stop there.

Marcelo from Brazil said...

Men! Come on! You should eat a brazilian bbq! It is no doubt the best in the world! ask Cesar Cielo he will tell you! And when you eat you will agreed he he

Not because I`m brazilian, but it truly is the best he he...

Good luck in all...

Lauren Ashley said...

I've been craving Rudy's since I moved... it's the main thing I miss from Texas... their brisket is phenomenal. If it was a person, I'd marry it.


Blogspot Template by Isnaini Dot Com