Name: Live Oak Barbecue
Address: 2713 East 2nd St, Austin TX 78702
Order: ¾ pound of moist brisket, tea (link to menu)
Rudy: “I hope you want brisket”
Monk: Wait, wait, wait a minute…is that really Rudy? The prodigal Barbecue Bro has returned!?!?
Rudy: …yes Monk, I’m still here. Just been a little busy. Anyways…
That was how I was greeted when I entered Live Oak, and as a matter of fact, that was exactly what I was in the mood for. Which was a good thing, because they had sold out of everything else by the time I had arrived. This was the 2nd time I had attempted to eat at Live Oak. The first time, they were sold out of everything.
Walking into Live Oak, you feel like you are in an old hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint. Picnic tables with rolls of paper towels on them, chalkboard menu, and tea and lemonade in a plastic ‘serve yourself’ stand. It feels like barbecue and it smells like barbecue, so I had high hopes for the brisket. I was sorely mistaken. The cut that I got was from the end of the brisket, which is normally the best part because of all the flavor that you get from the bark. But there was no flavor. It just tasted like burnt meat. There seemed to be no seasoning whatsoever added to the meat. Add to the blandness, much of the meat tasted dry. This was not the experience that I was expecting, especially with how often and how fast they tend to sell out.
Monk: Interesting. Normally, selling out of meat is a good sign for a joint…clearly that didn’t seem to be the case here.
Rudy: I did not get any sides, because the only one they had was baked beans, and I am not a baked bean fan. So, I’d like to say that this review is only a partial review and that I would need to go back to give a full opinion. However, with all of the great places nearby to get great barbecue, I can’t see justifying going back again after the brisket that I had.
Monk: We received a reader question a few months back asking if we go to a place three times before reviewing, and the long and short of Speedy’s answer was: “Hell naw, I ain’t got time to waste with bad barbecue.” Seems like that applies here.
Rudy: I agree. I think it depends on how much promise (if any) you see in your first visit. Do you need to put your hand on the hot stove 3 times before you realize it’s a bad idea? The best thing going for Live Oak is their atmosphere. Not just inside, but they also have plenty of outside seating on 2 patios. It would be a great place to go on a warm day with friends to enjoy barbecue. But you might want to get there early, otherwise you might get stuck with some disappointing brisket.
Atmosphere – 3 Hogs
Brisket – 1 Hog
Overall – 2 Hogs