La Barbecue – Austin, TX (Speedy’s take)

IMG_1608Name: La Barbecue
Date: 7/20/17
Address: 1906 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Order: ½ lb brisket, ¼ lb pork, 1 sausage link (link to menu)
Price: $19

Speedy: After a quick work trip to Dallas, I thought it would be a good idea to pop over to Austin to visit Rudy. We both had to work my first day there, but I was able to get away for lunch and head over to La Barbecue, which Rudy previously raved about.

I got there about 11:30, and there was already a decent line. A guy behind me in line asked how long the wait was from the end – he was told 15, but the reality was 40. After 15 minutes, his order was taken (but no one else’s), so as to not make the worker “a liar.” Also, there was no free beer as there was on Rudy’s visit. Combine this with the hot weather and the business casual attire, and I was a little annoyed. The lack of urgency from the staff to serve people added to my annoyance.

Monk: I know the answer to this question, but you were mad because it was hot in July in Texas and they didn’t offer you free beer, something they aren’t obligated to do? Really?

Rudy: I believe that the free beer is only on Saturdays. You were actually able to visit La Barbecue on one of their last days as a food truck because they have since moved into a brick and mortar location. So while the wait might not be less time, but it could possibly be inside.

Speedy: At long last, I got to the front of the line, ordered ¼ pound brisket, ¼ pork, and a sausage link. Before cutting, the homie cutting the meat handed me a small chunk of brisket, which I popped into my mouth. Every annoyance, and truly every care I had immediately went away. The bit was so peppery and moist and simply divine. I quickly upped my order to ½ pound of brisket, got my food, paid, and went to find a shady spot to sit.

Rudy: They got me with the taste test too. Works every time.

IMG_1610.JPG

Speedy: Every bite of brisket was just as the first. This was, without a doubt, the best brisket I had ever tasted. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was absolutely perfect. There’s nothing I would change about it. I’m not an eloquent enough write to justly write about this brisket, so I’ll just say if you ever get a chance, get it.

Monk: I had similar thoughts when I tried Lewis Barbecue in Charleston earlier this year, which we all know is the joint that former La Barbecue pitmaster John Lewis opened about a year ago. I’d be curious how Lewis stacks up to La.

Rudy: Being a North Carolina boy, I didn’t have high expectations with the pulled pork, but digging in, I was blown away. It was tender, smoky, and tangy. I don’t know what was on it, but there was vinegar involved. It also came with pickled onions, which was a perfect pairing. Overall, this was in the top echelon of pulled pork I’ve ever had. I was shocked. If you ever get a chance, get it.

The sausage was disappointing. The flavor was fine, but it was a little dry and fell apart pretty easily. It wasn’t by any means bad – in fact, in a vacuum, i’d probably call it good. But compared to the brisket and the pork, it’s not worth ordering.

I didn’t order sides – I didn’t feel the need to.

In thinking about La Barbecue, my biggest regret is not getting a beef rib (in addition to, not instead of the other things). Yes, it’s expensive, and there’s no way I could eat it all, but damn it looked good.

Overall, my meal at La Barbecue was incredible. The next day, Rudy and I had plans to hit up Franklin’s, so I was pumped to be able to compare the two. Leaving La Barbecue, my only thought was that I had a hard time understanding how it would equal or exceed what I had just eaten.

Ratings:
Atmosphere/Ambiance – 2.5 hogs (bumped down due to heat, lack of free beer, and slow service)
Brisket – 5 hogs
Pork – 5 hogs
Sausage – 3 hog
Sides – N/A
Overall – 5 Hogs (the brisket and pork were good enough that nothing else mattered)
La Barbecue Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IMG_1611

Advertisements

Friday Find: How to Build the Perfect Tray of Meat

Eater brings you a video of La Barbecue building the quintessential Texas barbecue and sides tray against  a background of classical music.

Look no further than La Barbecue as a shiny example of Austin’s true love of barbecue. Helmed by pitmasters John Lewis, Francisco Saucedo, and Esaul Ramos, along with owner LeAnn Mueller (yes of the famous barbecue family), the barbecue trailer dishes out tasty smoked meats that are very worthy of the long customer lines. Here, La Barbecue was up for the challenge of creating its version of a “tasting menu,” which in 60 seconds turned into just every item of their current menu, artfully plated for your enjoyment.

La Barbecue’s Menu:
Moist brisket
1.5 lb Beef Rib
Pulled pork with house made tangy sauce
Pork Ribs
El Sancho Loco
House made Texas Hot Guts
Smoked Turkey
House pickled spicy pickles (middle below sandwich)
Red pickled peppers ( right and middle)
Pickled red onions (pink)
House pickled okra (bottom left)
Southwest Black Bean Salad
Chipotle Slaw
Potato Salad

If that makes you hungry and you want to know Rudy’s thoughts on La Barbecue, his #1 in Austin, read his review of it here.

Monk

Linkdown: 9/2/15

– The BBC reports on black pitmasters being left out of the barbecue boom

“National press is infatuated with white, male hipster BBQ,” writes Robb Walsh on the blog First We Feast. “Believe it or not, blacks, Latinos, and women are involved in the barbecue biz too.”

– On a related note, Robert Moss’ list of the 15 most influential people in barbecue history

Here, arranged chronologically, is my list of the 15 most influential figures in American barbecue history. By “influential”, I don’t mean the best cooks or the most successful restaurateurs, necessarily. We’re talking about impact and legacy: the people who helped shape the South’s rich barbecue tradition and create and promote the diverse regional styles we enjoy today. It’s a list that cuts across lines of race and class.

– Moss also has the first part in a series for the “Best of Southern BBQ” Awards

– Just saw that Bill Spoon’s now has a barbecue food truck serving the greater Charlotte area

– La Barbecue – #1 in our recently released Austin rankings –  is moving again in order to stay open during nights for patrons of the neighborhood bars

– The Smoking Ho’s recap of the TMBBQ Behind the Pit Dinner at Snow’s BBQ

– Marie, Let’s Eat! continues his Alabama barbecue travels at Bar-B-Q Hut in Heflin and The Rocket in Jacksonville

– This list is from 2012 but worth a revisit since it has been retweeted in the past week

– The Southern Sauce Festival,  which combines the Q-City Charlotte Barbecue Championship and the Charlotte Beerfest, is one of the 10 things you must do in September, according to Charlotte Five

– From friend of the blog Johnny Fugitt, the most underrated barbecue in St. Louis

– More lists: Yahoo’s 50 best barbecue restaurants in the America by state; gotta say, some headscratchers in this one

– IT’S ALL HAPPENING:

-NPR article on how locals are turning 5-hour long lines at Franklin’s into cold hard cash

– The Daily Meal’s list of America’s 35 Best Ribs 2015 was compiled from 40 different “rib experts” and includes The Pit in Raleigh at #34; Louie Mueller takes the top overall spot (check out Rudy’s recent review here)

Linkdown: 6/17/15

– Of course barbecue gets a prominent mention in this Eater feature “Destination North Carolina: A Southern Food Road Trip Extravaganza”

“From Brunswick Stew to Barbecue” is a new cookbook exhibit at UNC’s Wilson Library

– Dispelling some myths around the name and origin, here’s the real history of hush puppies

– Who won at the NC Barbecue Championships this past weekend in Tryon? Also, the big economic impact of the festival on the small mountain town of Tryon

– Shortly after being named to Southern Living’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints, B’s Cracklin Barbecue in Savannah burned to the ground; thankfully neighbors have pitched in to help rebuild

– John Lewis of La Barbecue gets profiled in Garden & Gun Magazine as well as four other “keepers of the flame” – the Monk family (of Lexington Barbecue) and Tyson Ho are also profiled

– La Barbecue, meanwhile, is no longer moving to a permanent space on South Congress in Austin and is instead expanding to dinner

– More coverage from Southern Living’s Top 50 BBQ Joints list from Greenville Online

– Apparently few places in Fayetteville serve chopped barbecue

– A short article on the 12 Bones Smokehouse cookbook

– A couple of barbecue-related gifts for dad on this coming Father’s Day

– Speaking of which, last day to order to get a Great NC BBQ Map in time

Linkdown: 5/13/15

– The new Midwood Smokehouse gets a short write-up in Charlotte Magazine and sounds great; can’t wait to try it out

The new Midwood stays true to the original Central Avenue location, with beer signs and similar decor along the walls, but a more modern vibe to it. Rounded bench seating is a new take on a booth, and barbecue- and beer-themed cut metal art, designed by a restaurant employee, splits two sections of the dining room. The bar surface is made of reclaimed pine, and old barn siding with signs of aging bring back a rustic touch to the front of the bar and the ceiling. Rustic, but not old-fashioned: along the bar, USB ports are tucked underneath for customers who need to charge their devices.

– Charlotte Business Journal also has some coverage on Midwood Smokehouse as well

– Bill Spoon’s makes this Thrillist list of Best restaurants in Charlotte

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits a heavy hitter in Archibald’s Bar-B-Que in Northport, AL and comes out raving about the ribs

– Some nice photos from last weekend’s Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival, which is now a NC BBQ Association event

– West Asheville is getting a new barbecue restaurant, Bonfire Barbecue, this week

– Spicy pork sandwich at Heirloom Market and brisket at La Barbecue both make Zagat’s list of America’s most iconic new dishes

– Looks like Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que is getting into the food truck game in Charlotte

– Congrats to friend of the blog Johnny aka Barbecue Rankings on the imminent release of his new book

Linkdown: 3/4/15

– The last chapter documenting Marie, Let’s Eat!’s jaunt through the Charlotte area back in January finds them at Black’s Barbecue, among other Gastonia-area places; they also check out Anna’s BBQ in Atlanta in a newer post

– The weather may be 70 degrees now, but this yo-yo weather could strike at any moment so here’s last week’s Charlotte Weekly Yelp which ran down chili options around town, including Queen City Q

–  The Great NC BBQ Map has 5 barbecue road trips that doesn’t include just the usual suspects, which I appreciate

– While John Lewis is off in Charleston starting his namesake barbecue joint, a new head pitmaster has been named at La Barbecue

– That salad’s got nuttin’ on Western Kentucky’s chipped mutton, and Robert Moss investigates

– Alabama has kicked off their own statewide barbecue marketing campaign, dubbed the Year of Alabama BBQ

– A short post on NYC barbecue

A few weekends ago, the city celebrated the smoky flesh at the annual—and free—Hudson River Park Blues BBQ Festival, featuring NYC’s three top pits, Mighty Quinn’s, Delaney and Dinosaur, with dining music provided by five authentic blues outfits. If this is the South’s long-term strategy to take the North, it seems to be working.

– Regarding Louie Mueller Barbecue, Burger Mary has some great photos and says “If you only have time to visit one traditional, iconic and outstanding barbecue joint in Texas, Louie Mueller Barbecue should be it.”

The most underrated barbecue in Memphis, according to First We Feast

– Vote for your favorite Charlotte-area barbecue restaurants in Charlotte Magazine’s Best of the Best Awards

– ICYMI, our photos and recap of last week’s barbecue dinner at Midwood Smokehouse:

Linkdown: 12/31/14

– In sad news, “legendary” Jimmy’s Barbecue in Lexington has closed down as of this past Sunday; they were one of 5 sponsors of the annual Barbecue Festival (h/t Barbecue Rankings)

– In hopefully better news, Jimmy’s is in the process of being sold to “an undisclosed buyer” but could confirm that it was not Chic-Fil-A, as has apparently been rumored; here’s hoping it is someone interested in preserving the legacy of this place

– A North Carolina barbecue joint is one of Seattle’s Best New Restaurants in 2014

– TMBBQ’s Top Newsmakers in Texas BBQ for 2014 includes John Lewis and his plans for a Charleston outpost

1. La Barbecue in Austin…and Charleston: Back in May they were named as the best barbecue in Austin by two well-respected food critics, Mike Sutter and Matthew Odam. They moved their trailer to a new spot on Caesar Chavez before announcing that a new brick-and-mortar joint in South Austin is in the works. Pitmaster John Lewis took home first place in brisket in a local barbecue competition and was featured in a commercial for Sun Country beef jerky. Those were all newsworthy, but none compared to the culture-shifting announcement that John Lewis was opening a Texas style barbecue joint outside of Texas. He didn’t pick one of the country’s biggest cities starving for good barbecue. Instead he set his target squarely on a land rich in barbecue tradition that was long ago conquered by pork. Lewis Barbecue will open in Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 2015.

– The latest stop by Marie, Let’s Eat! is Old McDonald’s Bar-B-Que in Buford, GA

– Finally, Steve Raichlen’s Top 10 Smoke and Fire Restaurants of 2014 includes several barbecue establishments

– Presented without comment: barbecue spaghetti

Linkdown: 9/3/14

– This posted just after last week’s linkdown so is a little old by now, but The New York Times spends 36 hours in Charlotte and gives props to Midwood Smokehouse

8. ‘Cue & Brew | 7 p.m.

Charlotte has never been known as a big barbecue town, but Midwood Smokehouse’s pitmaster and executive chef, Matt Barry, seeks to change that with this noisy, popular restaurant. Mr. Barry cooks his chicken, pork and turkey over North Carolina hickory in a computer-controlled smoker. His hand-pulled, chopped pork is lightly covered with a vinegar-based sauce. The chicken is tossed with a delicious house or mustard sauce. Texas-style brisket is smoked for 12 to 14 hours, and is delicious dry or slathered in sauce (barbecue plates run $8 to $15). Pair with collards and baked beans and chase with a Red Ale from NoDa Brewing Company ($5).

– Speaking of Midwood, they are bringing barbecue into the 21st century with its new online ordering app

– The folks behind the Great NC BBQ Map have 5 tips for planning a barbecue tour

– Marie, Let’s Eat! visits Wiley’s Championship BBQ in Savannah, GA

– This showed up in our timeline recently even though the original article is from July 2012, but in any case here’s Rodney Scott’s BBQ Mixtape featuring a mix of rap, hip hop, and funk

– Here’s how to make the Korean-Southern ribs a la Heirloom Market BBQ

– Eater Austin spends a day with John Lewis of la Barbecue (via)

Short interview on barbecue and grilling tips with Hugh Mangum of Mighty Quinn’s BBQ (via)

– The NC Barbecue Trail is in good company on this list of other trails worth visiting which include cheese, bourbon, and beer

– The NC BBQ Association is looking for judges for the Q City Charlotte Championship in October:

– Slaw is the most distinctive food in North Carolina, according to this infographic:

What you’re looking at isn’t the most popular food by state. It’s the food that most distinguishes them from the rest of the pack.

From Co.Design

Linkdown: 8/6/14

– Congrats to @BBQSnob and fellow NC barbecue blogger @BBQJew for being named to Beef Magazine’s list of 10 great barbecue bloggers

La Barbecue has relocated to GoodLife Food Park as of today

– A couple more Austin barbecue notes in this “Food-o-File” column from the Austin Chronicle, including this tidbit on the Austin location of Black’s Barbecue

Speaking of barbecue, fourth-generation Lockhart pit boss Barrett Black says the family expects to have the new Black’s Barbecue (3110 Guadalupe) retail outlet open in August and is still on the lookout for the perfect parking spot for the Black’s food truck.

– A West Village outpost of Mighty Quinn’s had a soft opening this past weekend and officially opened on Monday night

– Speaking of Mighty Quinn’s, it is among the 8 Best Urban Barbecue Pits In New York City according to Food Republic

Review of Okie Dokie Smokehouse in Swannanoa from Asheville’s Citizen-Times

– Barbecue Rankings apparently found some great ‘cue at Salvage BBQ in Portland, Maine

– The Great NC BBQ Map is now officially on sale to the public at the newly redesigned site as well as several restaurants including Sauceman’s (below); they also got nice write ups by the Charlotte Observer and Salisbury Post as well

Linkdown: 7/9/14

How well do you know southern barbecue? Take this ten question Garden & Gun Magazine quiz to find out.

– This weekend’s Carolina West RibFest (formerly the Carolina Mountain RibFest) in Asheville will feature Mexican wrestlers and fire breathers in addition to ribs

barbecuerankings hits up Skylight Inn and B’s, Wilber’s, and Grady’s this week

la Barbecue is moving to the GoodLife Food Park in early August and will add a third pit

– Gear Patrol hits up 6 “must-eat” BBQ stops inTexas (via bbqboard)

– A Thrillist list of “6 most important barbecue sauce styles in the country” includes both eastern and western NC (via)

– Despite all its delicious barbecue, NC only managed 11th in this Thrillist list of the 50 states ranked by their food and drink; hey, at least we weren’t Virginia (#32)

“Virginia is for lovers, country ham aficionados and wishing that BBQ you’re eating had come from North Carolina.”

– Kevin Gillespie (of Top Chef fame) borrowed a burn barrel from Rodney Scott and cooked whole hog barbecue this past weekend; he will be opening a barbecue restaurant called Terminus City in Atlanta next Spring