Austin has a vast amount to offer when it comes to barbecue. It has quickly become the epicenter of smoked cuisine that expands outwards in all directions, for Austinite’s there are plenty of in-town locations, and even more day trips you can take to get away from the city.
But one of my favorites till this day has to be LA Barbecue. Recently moved from it’s home on the southside to Waller and 6th, this friendly BBQ food truck (with two additional trailers housing smokers) comes courtesy of LeAnn Mueller, from the same family as BBQ greats Bobby (Winner of the James Beard Award), Wayne and John Mueller. It’s not just LeAnn who brings BBQ prestige to this east side BBQ joint. John Lewis of Franklin’s fame has helped perfect some of the BBQ recipes with his extensive knowledge from the BBQ competition circuit, and a swathe of other cooks there have managed to seriously up the game of Austin’s BBQ scene in an incredibly short space of time.
The latest smoker has literally been built from the ground up by John Lewis, who tackled the surprisingly complex issues of heat dispersion in the smoker to create something that many other BBQ joints can only manage with additional fans and gas fire support.
But enough of the background, lets get down to what is really important, the food. (oh the food).
LA BBQ has managed to excel in nearly every portion of it’s menu, a view reflected by nearly every Yelp review it has received. Order anything on the menu and you are going to be in for a treat, but be warned, LA Barbecue has become popular, so if you want to try some menu items (such as the beef rib) get there early, or call in your order before you get there (Preferably the night before). Just to make that easy for you, the order line is 512-605-9696, the line can easily range from an hour to two on the weekend, and though free beer (FREE BEER) helps, it’s better to enjoy that cool brew whilst sat down eating some ‘que.
Food wise, I’m a beef man, and the beef rib here is about the best you can get in the city limits, though John Mueller definitely comes a close second. The bone slides right out, and nothing is better than pulling a thick succulent chunk from the perfectly rendered fat. The weight of these ribs varies, but go in expecting the ribs to weigh between 1-2 pounds, for that reason alone, these are not a bad item to share!
The brisket is also a divine choice for any meat lover, lean or moist. A delectable crust contains a sweet tender meat that requires no sauce, or fork. Each strand of meat cleanly dropping away from it’s neighbors with little less than a soft tug required. A rarity for me, I often get the lean rather than moist cut here, since LA Barbecue has managed to make the cut just as tender as it’s fattier counterpart.
The sausage is a little spicier than my weak English palette can easily handle. But it is also heart-racingly good, enough to make it a regular feature on my plate despite the fire in my mouth. Though most BBQ pits in Austin outsource their sausage (it can be difficult to make right) LA BBQ took on the challenge to create the perfect side item for a beef plate (because who goes to a BBQ establishment for potato salad really.)
Though not part of my usual order, LA BBQ delivers on every other section of it’s menu as well. Pork ribs and turkey are both perfectly cooked, and the sides themselves can help cut the fat that will quickly coat your innards. The potato salad, despite my jibe, is excellent, and the coleslaw is well worth checking out for those who like the spice.
If you are unsure what you want, and for some reason you didn’t starve yourself a little before visiting this prodigious BBQ pit check out the el sancho with the chopped beef/pulled pork mix. This towering sandwich also comes with sausage and onions, giving you a full meal somehow enclosed between two slices of bread. Though it won’t give you quite the same tastes as individual fresh cuts, you will still undoubtedly enjoy this compressed collection of meats.
What else can I say about this mind-blowing BBQ establishment? Simply that whenever an out of town friend asks for a BBQ recommendation, this is where I send them. Can you get higher praise than that?
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