Name: Stiles Switch BBQ
Location: 6610 N. Lamar, Austin, TX, 78757
Order: Speedy: ½ pound brisket, 1 link Thorndale (mild) sausage, 1 link Switch original (spicy) sausage, lemon vinaigrette coleslaw
Rudy: Combo plate with brisket and jalapeno cheddar sausage, corn casserole, mac & cheese, beef rib (link to menu)
Bill: Speedy: $20, Rudy: $20
Speedy: A bit of news in the Barbecue Bros family, as Rudy welcomed a new junior Barbecue Bro into the family and Monk welcomed a new junior Barbecue Bro-ette. Congrats, Bros! So I used meeting Rudy’s new son as an excuse to go visit Austin and eat some barbecue Texas style.
Monk: Thanks! Of course, with a 2 month old I unfortunately wasn’t able to make the trip with Speedy to Austin for a Barbecue Bros reunion but at least I get to live the trip vicariously through this review.
Rudy: With Speedy in town I had to try and show off our great selection of barbecue, so the pressure was on to choose a good spot and I think that I picked a winner. When choosing the right place, it came down between LA BBQ and Stiles Switch, which I had seen some really good reviews of lately. I would have taken him to Franklin, but a 3 hour wait with a little one was not a good choice. Also, LA BBQ (which I hope to visit soon) is a food trailer, and you never can really tell about the wait. So we went with Stiles Switch.
Speedy: I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to eat Texas barbecue, so I was definitely excited to visit Stiles Switch. My excitement only grew when I got out of the car and could smell the wood burning smoker working its magic. Walking inside, my excitement did not wane. Stiles Switch has a great atmosphere. You order at the counter, and the food is cut and weighed for you then and there and you go down almost a cafeteria style line to get your sides and drink. There’s plenty of seating indoors, but also an outdoor patio with several picnic tables.
Rudy: There were so many options, especially with the sides, that I had a hard time determining what I wanted. I always go with brisket because that is what every place should be judged on, and I also typically go with a sausage. I had not tried a beef rib yet, even though I have been dying to, because it is usually hit or miss if a place will offer a beef rib (also known as dinosaur ribs at some places because of the size). Since I saw it on the menu here, I figured it was as good a time as any to dive right in.
Speedy: I decided to move away from the combo plate, mainly because none of the sides really excited me.
Monk: So this is like basically the opposite of going to a barbecue restaurant and ordering a salad a la Mrs. Monk, right?
Speedy: Exactly. I wanted to try the spicy and mild sausage, as well as the brisket, of course. As we all know, white slaw is my biggest pet peeve at a barbecue joint, so I was happy to see that Stiles Switch offered lemon vinaigrette slaw as well. And to top it off, of course I had to have a Lone Star!
Monk: Man, I could go for one of those right now…
Rudy: I thought the brisket was pretty good and had a great rub which provided a great bark. The only issue that I had with it was that I thought it might not have been prepared that day because the bark was not crisp, but instead was a little mushy. It still had great flavor though. I was not a huge fan of the sides that I got or the sausage. In the sausage’s case, I think it was because I was getting full on all the rest of my order, so I am not going to knock it too much. The best part of the meal was the beef rib. It wasn’t as big as I had seen in other places, but the flavor was amazing. The bark on it was crispy and melted in your mouth. While the taste was great, the only deduction that I will make is because of the size of the rib.
Speedy: To me, the brisket was good, but not great. It had a good pull, but I didn’t really like the sauce that came with it (on the side). It tasted more like gravy than barbecue sauce to me. The sausage I thought was very good – particular the Switch original link. It had a definite kick and great flavor. To me, it was just the right amount of spice. The slaw was good, though I still prefer true red slaw.
Rudy: Overall I thought it was a great place that served excellent barbecue, and now with a little one in tow, the shorter lines and the inside dining make it a great place to go.
Monk: I can fully appreciate that concern now when picking a place to eat, barbecue or not. I’m not trying to waste time standing in line when there are potential dirty diapers to change and feedings to be given.
Rudy: A couple of days later, my selection was confirmed when Switch Stiles was named one of the Top 50 Barbecue Restaurants in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine. I’m glad Speedy was able to come and experience some of the best we have to offer.
Atmosphere/Ambiance: 4.5 hogs
Brisket – 3 hogs
Sausage – 4 hogs
Beef rib – 3.5 hogs
Sides – 2.5 hogs
Overall – 3.5 hogs