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Queing Up in Central Texas

Part 1 of 4
by Beau Been

When talking about the barbeque of central Texas it means two things, tradition and beef. The origin of selling smoked meats out the back alley door of a meat market or butcher shop is evident in a couple of the places we will visit in the series. In the early days the meat market would smoke and sell some of the cheaper or less desirable cuts out the back of the shops to the field and farm workers with nothing more than a few saltine crackers or a couple slices of bread, no sides, no sauce. Later this became the the focus of the business, birthing a strong barbeque tradition. In other parts of the country you say "barbeque" and this means pork cooked slow and low. Oh, how I love these porcine delights but in the heart of Texas beef reigns as king and pork takes a back seat if appearing at all. In this series we will visit the establishments in the barbeque mecca of Lockhart, (Smitty's, Kreutz's and Blacks) City Market in Luling, Sam's in Austin and Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor.

Louie Mueller BBQ, Taylor, Tx

The drive out to Taylor from Austin was a pleasant 45 minutes or so. I was excited with anticipation because I had not yet paid a visit to Louie Mueller BBQ and this joint has been given some of the highest praise. Praise like "Best BBQ in Texas" visits by the Food Network and other food publications told me to start here.

As you walk in the door you know right away this is the real deal. The walls are stained with years of smoke and the sweet aroma of the meat roasting over the the pit is ever present. Beth and I walked up to the counter and we receive a friendly greeting and a bite of lean brisket. I quickly peruse the board to see the offerings but I already know that we will try most everything. We ordered a chipolte sausage link , a half pound of brisket (moist), two pork ribs and two beef ribs. Louie Mueller BBQ does offer a couple of sides and we decided to have the cole slaw. Add a beer each and our total was $26.50. We each took our tray and went out to the covered and screened patio to eat.

The food is served on sheets of butcher paper along side the standard pickle, onions and white bread. The sauce that was served along side was more of a barbeque broth. I have never seen this before. It was good but not necessary. The sausage was flavorful with a firm texture. It was not quite as spicy as one might think but tasty none the less. The German heritage of central Texas makes sausage a mainstay so I have eaten a lot of good sausage. I would not rank this sausage as elite but certainly worth a try. The brisket is the standard in which I compare central Texas barbeque and was not disappointed. Most places serve sliced brisket with two options, "lean" which has little fat and will be much more dry or "moist", which will have a ribbon of fat through it and has much more flavor. I like both but I will take the moist if picking between the two. I found this brisket to be some of the most flavorful I've had. It was not over smoked and the beef flavor shined. The meat was tender and the fat melted in your mouth. The pork rib I found unspectacular. It was good enough but just not a flavorful as I would like and a bit dry. But hey, were here for the beef right? The star of the of show caught me by surprise, the beef rib. I have been disappointed by beef rib in the past and many places don't offer it. Therefore, I rarely order a beef rib. I had heard good things about the one they serve here so I went for it. I am so glad I did. It was amazing! The seasoning was heavy with black pepper, which I love. The texture was everything you want from a piece of barbeque. The outer crust gives way to tender meat and and sweet bits of fat that when melting in your mouth produce an explosion of flavor that is nothing less than barbeque bliss. I was truly blown away!

Louie Mueller BBQ is deserving of the praise it receives. It is well worth the trip. I look forward to returning to Louie Mueller BBQ. We have some other places to visit first!

Read Part 2


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