Name: Southside Market & Barbeque
Address: 1212 Hwy 290 E, Elgin, TX 78621
Order: Southside Combo Plate (Brisket & Sausage with Slaw and Mac & Cheese), 1 Slammer, Drink (link to menu)
The calendar said it was October and the car seat in the back said I was a dad, so I was required to take the obligatory trip to a pumpkin patch. Mrs. Rudy said buying a pumpkin at the grocery store was completely out of the question and that we must drive out to the country to get one. However she sold me with the idea of being able to go to Southside Market & Barbeque in Elgin, which is right outside of Austin.
Southside markets themselves as the oldest barbecue joint in Texas. It has a tremendous amount of history and has a great reputation. They ship sausages and other meats all over the country, so I was excited to try their barbecue. In my opinion, the reputation far exceeded what I actually experienced.
When you walk in, it feels very much like they are trying to get as many people through as possible. While that may mean more profit and more people eat their food, it also probably means that they do not have a huge focus on quality. There are two lines for barbecue and two enormous dining rooms for eating. Southside also feels very commercialized, with lots of options to buy their shirts, hats, sauces, rubs, and really anything you want with “Southside Market & Barbeque” printed on it. The two positives for their atmosphere, and why I rated it highly, was because of pallets of wood outside (showing that they are cooking over wood) and they have a very nice meat market/butcher there where you can go and get your own meat to cook at home. If I were wanting to cook my own brisket, ribs, or sausage, this is absolutely the place that I would go.
I ordered the Southside Combo Plate, which came with brisket and sausage, plus 2 sides. The brisket had almost no seasoning, there was a little bit of a smoke ring, but no bark and no flavor. The fat was not well rendered, which led me to believe it had been cooked much earlier and had just been sitting there staying warm for a while. Very disappointing. The sausage was better, but not by much. I believe they make their sausage in house, so there are some points for that. It had flavor from the meat, but was nothing great.
As far as sides, I got the slaw (non-mayo based for Speedy) and mac and cheese. They were probably the best part of the meal, but it was an easy hurdle to cover. I thought the mac and cheese was the best, but it’s hard to mess that up.
The last thing I tried was a special that they were advertising on the menu called “the Slammer”. It was a sausage, stuffed with cheese and a jalapeno, wrapped in bacon and smoked. They clearly had my attention. When it came, it was much like the brisket – room temperature and uninspiring. The cheese was hard and not melted while the bacon was not crisp at all, as if it had been cooked many hours earlier and left to sit. I am shocked that someone could mess up something that’s only ingredients are bacon, sausage, cheese, and jalapeno, but Southside Market managed to do just that.
I was completely looking forward to getting out to Elgin and trying Southside Market & Barbeque, however when you eat barbecue and the pumpkin patch is the highlight of the day, that’s not a good sign for the barbecue joint. Overall I’m glad I tried it and can mark it off the list, but I’m more happy that I didn’t make a special trip out just for it.