Texas BBQ Road Trip in October

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mcguirejohnr
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2011/09/08 21:42:16 (permalink)

Texas BBQ Road Trip in October

I'm preparing for another Texas BBQ road trip soon and I have found a few places that I have not tried and was hoping for some feedback on them.
 
City Market – 109 Kessler, Schulenburg
Zimmerhanzels – 307 Royston St., Smithville
R&G – FM 713 @ Wizzerville Rd., McMahan 
Green’s Sauasage House – 16483 State Highway 53, Temple
Schoepf’s BBQ – 702 East Central Ave., Belton
Clem Mikska’s BBQ – 1217 S. 57th St., Temple
Texas Prize BBQ – 503 South Market, Hearne
Gonzales Food Market – 311 Saint Lawrence St., Gonzales, TX
Milt’s Pit BBQ – 905 North Old Hgwy 81, Kyle, TX
Mincha’s BBQ – 2803 Franklin Ave., Waco
Novosad’s BBQ & Sausage Market – 105 S. La Grange, Halletsville
Family Tradition BBQ – 1110 S. Ave. E, Waelder
Fargos Pit BBQ – 1220 N. Texas Ave, Bryan     
 
 
#1

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    HollyDolly
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/09/22 11:46:36 (permalink)
    I haven't tried any  of these places yet.There is a City Market in Luling.
    Gonzales Food Market has opened a branch in San Antonio,on W.W.White Road.They have a website,don't know about the others however.
    #2
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/22 18:22:46 (permalink)
    Leaving tomorrow.  I'll report back when I return in about a week.  First Texas stop will be Clark's Outpost in Tioga, TX.  I'll be going through Kansas and Oklahoma on the way and will hit a few along the way in those states as well.
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    Twinwillow
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/22 19:25:56 (permalink)
    In Austin, if you can get there early enough before they sell out of brisket about 10-11AM, you MUST try Franklin's BBQ! The only five star brisket in Texas. That's one more star than Snow's. Just remember, they're closed on Mondays.
    And for goodness sakes, do go to Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor. The brisket is butter soft and their beef rib is legendary.
    post edited by Twinwillow - 2011/10/22 19:35:30
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    JRPfeff
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/22 19:58:18 (permalink)
    mcguirejohnr
    Leaving tomorrow.  I'll report back when I return in about a week.  First Texas stop will be Clark's Outpost in Tioga, TX.  I'll be going through Kansas and Oklahoma on the way and will hit a few along the way in those states as well.

    Thanks for taking one for the team. Tough duty, but someone has to do it.
     
    I am looking forward to reading about your barbecue finds.
     
    Jim
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/23 22:39:42 (permalink)
    Twinwillow...yes, I timed this trip out so that I will stay in Austin just down the street from Franklin's so I can be there bright and early on TUESDAY.  Louie Muellers is on my list for Monday afternoon...I really love that place!  Sadly, I will once again miss out on Snow's as I will not be there on a Saturday.
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/23 22:40:18 (permalink)
    Introduction
     
    For the fifth or sixth time in the last few years I have embarked upon a road trip to explore BBQ joints in Central Texas.  I travel through parts of Kansas and Oklahoma along the way and stop to sample a few BBQ spots in those states although the focus is really on the Central Texas region.  I am going to attempt to write a brief review of each establishment along the way and give a final rating of 1-5 stars.  Obviously, BBQ joints have good and bad days so one should take my ratings with a grain of salt and keep in mind that they are made in the context of having made multiple visits to some of the classic BBQ joints such as those in Taylor and Lockhart, Texas.
    Being from Kansas City I have at my disposal a number of very good BBQ joints locally but I must say that they just don’t measure up to what Central Texas has to offer and seem to rely more upon the sauce to make each of them special.  However, to give my reviews some context, I will provide below my favorite Kansas City locations for various types of BBQ.  The list certainly isn’t all inclusive and there are plenty more places I frequent.
     
    Oklahoma Joes  –  Pulled Pork
    LC’s and Big T’s  -  Burnt Ends
    Gates  -  Pork Spareribs  (a close second for Guy & Mae’s Tavern)
    Big T-s   -   Beef Ribs
    Jack’s Stack and Smokehouse  -  Beef Short Ribs
    Jack’s Stack  -  Lamb Ribs
    Arthur Bryant’s  -  Brisket
    Arthur Bryant’s  -  Turkey
    Arthur Bryant’s  -  Pork
    Gates   -   Sausage  (a close second for Jack’s Stack and Smokehouse)
    Still Searching for a Favorite  -  Ham
    Arthur Bryant’s  -  Sauce
     
    #7
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/23 22:41:33 (permalink)
    Day 1     Overland Park, KS to Norman, OK
     
    Williamsburg, KS – Guy & Mae’s Tavern
    Each Texas BBQ road trip always starts with a stop at Guy & Mae’s Tavern in the tiny town of Williamsburg, KS which matches this small establishment.  The only thing one should order at GMT are ribs.  Although many BBQ purists (the competition BBQ contest variety) condemn GMT for not having enough smoke on the ribs and wrapping them in foil to create a true “fall off the bone” texture I continue to like these ribs after many visits.  The ribs are served wrapped in thick foil sitting atop 6-7 pieces of newspaper and it is always a treat to unwrap them and see what the rack looks like.  As mentioned there is not a lot of smoke put on these ribs but the flavor is very nice, especially when topped with just a bit of GMT’s sauce which is a bit like BBQ salsa and is served from a mason jar with a cap on it.  The only additions to the ribs I order are a cold beer and a whole pickle (sliced by the server).  Overall Score:  3.5 Stars
     

     
    Wichita, KS  -  Two Brothers BBQ
    This stop was a bit of a disappointment starting with a gruff server at the counter where you order and wait for your food.  Meats are held up front in a steam table but are sliced to order.  Brisket was barkless with virtually no smoke at all although tender with a nice salty juice in it.  Ribs were poor without any bark or smoke and not nearly cooked long enough to render out the fat which remained in the ribs as a slimy mess.  Standard sweet sauce with fake smoke that brought nothing to the party at all.  Sides were equally disappointing with canned green beans and Kentucky Fried Chicken style bought in coleslaw.  Overall Score:  2 Stars

     
    Oklahoma City, OK  -  Van’s Pig Stand
    A nice stop that is very close to I35.  It is a small building that also has a drive through.  Order at the counter and they will bring the food to you in the dining area.  While you wait for your food to arrive you can load up at the condiment station which includes pickles (sweet and dill), Onion and a very tasty relish that I was told is a sweet cabbage relish (it goes very well with the brisket and would be great on a sandwich).  I made the standard order of spareribs and brisket.  Minimal smoke and bark on the brisket but it was beautifully tender, juicy and flavorful.  The brisket is cut just a bit thicker than the Kansas City style but thinner than Texas style.  The crusty bark on the ribs was delicious and they had just the right tenderness with a bit of bite left in them.  My rib sample wasn’t particularly meaty but they were a nice example anyway.  Sauces was pretty standard sweet with a lot of liquid smoke poured in.  Better than the similar sauce at Two Brothers in Wichita but not as unique or interesting as Guy & Maes in Williamsburg.  Pretty standard side items including forgettable coleslaw and, canned green beans which had been enhanced with minced ham that gave them a nice salty broth.  Overall Score:  2.5 Stars

    post edited by mcguirejohnr - 2011/10/30 18:12:07
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    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 01:52:14 (permalink)
    Apparently you are checking this thread from the road, so I will throw in my two cents.
     
    Of the places that you mentioned on your original list, I have been to Schoepf's in Belton.  I thought it was OK for a place that I was driving through, but I don't know how many miles out of my way I would drive to get there.  It is RIGHT off the I-35, though, so if you are passing through and are hungry, it could be worth a stop.  The smoked pork chop would be my top recommendation.
     
    It was just a couple of weeks ago that I passed through Tioga and stopped at Clark's Outpost.  I really enjoyed my meal there - combo ribs and brisket, if I remember right, but I'd have to look at my notes to be sure.  Don't forget to order a slice of one of their super-tall meringue pies.  The chocolate was excellent.
     
    I was told that if I wanted to go to Van's Pig Stand, I really should go to the one in Shawnee.  I did, and I thought it was better than you described.  Is it in my Top 5 BBQ joints ever?  No, but it is much better than average.
     
    I know it is totally sacrilege to even think this, but my last visit to Louie Mueller's was not spectacular.  I had heard that things have gone slightly downhill since the son took over, but I tried to go in with an open mind.  It wasn't bad - and if you've never been - you should go, but at one point, I would have considered LM to be in my Top 5 for BBQ....now, I am not so sure.  I don't know that it is so much better than Southside Market in Elgin or Smitty's in Lockhart, either.
     
    Of the places you did not mention....
     
    In Dallas (actually Oak Cliff) is an upstart BBQ joint called Lockhart Barbecue.  This is the closest thing you would ever get to central Texas BBQ in Dallas.  Both the ribs and the brisket were way above average and the place has a suitable BBQ atmosphere.  I think they have only been in business six months or so, but they are making a splash on the Dallas 'que scene.
     
    I don't know if you have plans to make it as far as Houston, but I finally found a BBQ joint that makes me miss the departed Williams' Smokehouse just a little less. Gatlin's BBQ is on the northwest side of town, and worth a stop for some fine TX brisket.  They were out of ribs on the day that I went (admittedly at an off-hour, post-lunch rush), so I hope to make it back to sample.
     
    I don't know if you use Twitter, but an excellent source to follow is @BBQSnob.  He also writes a blog for Texas Monthly.  I am sure if you are interested, you can find his stuff online.  He is great and answers his tweets with excellent recommendations.  Hasn't steered me wrong yet.
     
    As it turns out, it looks like I will be in Austin on Tuesday morning, as well, before heading to San Antonio.  I may see you over at Franklin's, as it has been on my short list, as well.
     
    Happy travels.
    #9
    scrumptiouschef
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 01:57:54 (permalink)
    Family Tradition Barbecue in Waelder: RIP http://www.scrumptiousche...mily-Traditon-Barbecue
     
    Two hundred entries on the canon of Texas Barbecue here http://www.scrumptiousche...ood/index.cfm/Barbecue
     
    Yes, here in Austin, Franklin is putting out world class brisket but there are many good places to choose from if you don't like waiting two hours to get your lunch.
     
    Franklin often sells out before he opens due to hundreds of people getting in lines that sometimes start as early as 730 am.
     
    If that's not your thing hit John Mueller Barbecue on south first street. Pit boss Franklin worked for Mueller before opening his own joint. John Mueller is the grandson of Louie Mueller [Taylor Texas legend]
     
    Sam's barbecue on E. 12th street is worth a visit too. It's an old wood frame house that's been home to bbq since the 1940s.
     
    Lots of character. House Park on the other end of 12th street has been around since the 1940s as well.
     
    Good luck on your trip.
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 09:29:55 (permalink)
    Thanks for the feedback and ideas.  I tried Lockhart BBQ last time I was in Dallas and, although I loved the Central Texas serving style, must have gone on an off night as everything had come off the smoker way too soon and was very tough.  I did not know about Family Tradition BBQ closing and that was on my list...I'll find a replacement.  If I have time I will hit John Muellers as well since it is now open.
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    brisketboy
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 09:41:45 (permalink)
    Sadly I must agree with the Travelling Man with respect to Louis Mueller's. there is a tangible difference from when Bobby was runiing the place and now that the son has taken over it seems sadly lacking. I don't say this lightly because I travel all over central Texas with freinds that show up from out of town to do a BBQ crawl, and they have echoed my sentiments. Good luck with Franklin's. I am a man of limited patience and would probably not do well in line.
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    Twinwillow
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 11:46:10 (permalink)
    I'm afraid, I too must agree with The Travelin Man and brisketboy's assessment of their recent visits to Louie Mueller BBQ. I'm relieved to know that I'm not the only one who's noticed the food to be "spotty" and just, not the same lately. The beef rib is smaller and too charred and the brisket doesn't melt in my mouth anymore. And, they served me the wrong sausage. Sacrilege!
     
    Although, I remember a fairly recent report by Mayor Al where he took his grandson hunting and he showed pictures of them eating at LM and the food (especially the beef rib) looked fantastic. 
     
    Regarding Lockhart Smokehouse in Oak Cliff (Dallas): Seems to be (for me) a love-hate relationship. Very inconsistent! And, expensive. Brisket is $16.99 a LB. But, sometimes the food is "spot on" and I've felt like I just saved a 5 hour round trip to Central Texas. Their prices make up for the gas that I would have used.
     
    And lastly, I have to agree with The Travelin Man's review about Schoepf's. I was also somewhat, underwhelmed.
    post edited by Twinwillow - 2011/10/25 23:41:52
    #13
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 12:35:10 (permalink)
    I have eaten myself silly on Texas/OK BBQ since the beginning of September.  Fortunately, my travels have taken me to TX frequently....with another trip coming tonight (so long as I get my damn bag packed!)....so, I know (a little) of what I speak - but, I am always happy to defer to those who are more connected to the local scene.
     
    That said, I know what *I* like - not necessarily what you (collectively) would like. Maybe I hit Lockhart BBQ on the right day?  I don't know.  But, one of the things that I did notice was that the people working there had the same kind of pride in their pit work as many folks do down in central Texas.  To me, that is most definitely part of the experience.  They were eager to talk about their process and show me their smoker, etc.  The food was good....but, it did seem to be a work in progress.  I hope they are successful, because as my buddy twinwillow mentions, it would save significant drive time if they can maintain momentum! 
    #14
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 12:58:28 (permalink)
    I also had a disappointing visit to Louie Mueller's this year (May).  The following day, we visited Smitty's in Lockhart and it was significantly better.
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    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 13:33:29 (permalink)
    This is, sadly, starting to sound like our interpretation of our last visit to Arthur Bryant's.  :-(
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 22:52:34 (permalink)
    To the Travelin Man
     
    You are correct, the Van's Pig Stand in Shawnee is much better.  Below is my report from back in May 2011 that I forgot I had written.  I've got to find out what is so special about those beans.
     
    "Next up was Vans Pig Stand in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  The ribs were very similar to Clark's Outpost described above and just really wonderful.  Sausage was good as well...again very similar to Clark's.  I skipped the brisket in favor of chopped pork (Oklahoma version of pulled pork) and it was outstanding although a little sauce id help it out quite a bit.  I like the chopped version better as it has lots of little pieces  but some bigger chinks left in there as well.  Sides were cole slaw (uninspired and probably from a large supplier) and green beans that were AWESOME.  They were flavored with something like bacon or ham but it was neither of those...perhaps some of the pork shoulder drippings?   Very good prices here by the way."
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/24 22:53:48 (permalink)
    Day 2     Norman, OK to Austin, TX
     
    Tioga, TX – Clark’s Oupost
    Well, I thought I had confirmed Clark’s was open on Mondays but I didn’t do a very good job.  I pulled into the empty lot a little before 11:00 am thinking I was just an early bird but found it to be closed.  This was a huge disappointment as I really liked Clark’s the last time I passed through and wanted to confirm my earlier findings which I am reproducing below in lieu of a fresh review.  When will I learn to ALWAYS CALL AHEAD!
    Previous review from May 2011 is below…
    “Clark's Outpost BBQ in Tioga, Texas was on my agenda the next day.  It is not too far north of Dallas and it is a very pretty drive through some beautiful horse country.  This place rocks.  You sit down, order and are served at a table...no Lockhart style smokehouse line here.  The brisket was outstanding with thick slices and a thick bark and smoke ring with lots of smokey flavor.  It was trimmed way too lean for my taste, however.  It would be better if they left some fat on it.  Sausage was very good and more of a Kansas City style smoked polish sausage rather than the typical Texas links.  The ribs were superb with a crusty bark and tender but still some feel to the bite.  Lots of side items to choose from (I did collards and fried okra) and a bottle of warm sauce.  Great staff too.  Worth the 15 mile detour off of I35 for sure.”  Overall Score:  4.0 Stars (I didn’t rate it back in May, 2010 so this is a retrospective score) 

     
    Aubrey, TX  -  BBQ Joint
    Since Clark’s outpost was closed I searched for a few other spots in the same general area and found BBQ Joint.  Nothing fancy here but it did have a helpful staff.  I ordered the standard sparerib, brisket and sausage platter with coleslaw.  Ribs were quite good and had the fat completely rendered out without drying the actual meat too much.  Brisket had good smoke and an  excellent bark but was very dry.  It was much like the offerings I had at Clark’s on a previous visit except Clark’s was able to keep the meat a little more juicy that BBQ Joint.  Sausage was completely forgettable as it seemed to be a commercial polish sausage that was more cooked than smoked.  I am longing even more for the Central Texas sausage I have coming in the next few days.  Sauce was decent and had a lot of vinegar added to the normal too sweet tomato base.  Coleslaw was once again KFC with a little paprika for color.  Overall Score:  2.5 Stars

     
    Dallas, TX  -  Lockhart Smokehouse
    This was a diversion from my original plan but I had just picked my wife up at Love Field and was hungry.  Knowing we had a long drive to Taylor I decided to go ahead and give Lockhart Smokehouse another try.  On my first visit it showed great promise but I think I got there too late and the meat was taken off the smoker too early as it was still tough and fatty.  My decision to stop was an excellent one as I had some of the best beef shoulder clod of my life.  It was perfectly smoked, tender and juicy, just perfect.  The ribs were excellent as well with just a bit too little bark.  The sausage was my first real Central Texas style sausage in many months and it was a dream.   No sides or sauce but I did sample all of the various pickles which are a nice accompaniment.  Staff was beyond friendly and helpful, a really great visit.  Overall Score:  4.0 Stars
     

    Round Rock Dallas, TX  -  Round Rock Donuts
    This wasn’t a BBQ stop, obviously, but I did stop to sample one of the famous Round Rock Donuts.  I arrived when only the drive-thru was open so I didn’t get to see the operation itself.  The donut was unusually good (I got the “original” with the orange colored glaze) as it has a crispy exterior and then melt in your mouth interior (the inside is like a Krispy Kreme).  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ

    Taylor, TX  -  Louie Mueller’s
    It seems  as though there has been some disappointment with Louie Muellers from some reviewers but I did not experience any regression from the excellent BBQ I have eaten here.  Well…there was one disappointment with today’s visit…they were out of beef ribs which are my single favorite item on the menu.  I made the standard order of spareribs, brisket and sausage.  All were excellent.  Crusty yummy salt and pepper barks on the ribs and brisket with the ribs cooked to complete perfection…just the right amount of tug left on them but tender and juicy.  Brisket was perfect as well with lots of moisture left.  The sausage was classic Central Texas style but just a bit loose today which I get from time to time down here.  I made it here with only 30 minutes to spare before closing as they have changed to “winter hours”. No sides or sauce…who needs them anyway.  I will hopefully be able to hit Louie Mueller’s again on my way back North and will call ahead to “reserve” a beef rib.  Overall Score:  4.5 Stars

     
    post edited by mcguirejohnr - 2011/10/30 18:15:43
    #18
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 00:50:29 (permalink)
    The way it looks to me, although there have been a few disappointments, It's seems inconceivable to go to Central Texas and not go to Louie Mueller BBQ. It's still a must go!
    post edited by Twinwillow - 2011/10/25 17:32:18
    #19
    brisketboy
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 11:49:21 (permalink)
    Don't misunderstand me please, I will still continue to eat at Louis Mueller's simply because it is an icon. Perhaps there are some growing pains in the transition between Bobby and now his son. BBQ is BBQ (except from Rudy's which is crap) and when I'm in Taylor I stop in.
    #20
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 17:10:23 (permalink)
    Daily report will be put up tonight.  In the meantime...Franklin's BBQ...OMG...AWESOME.
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    mayor al
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 18:34:23 (permalink)
    Green's Sausage House near Temple. TX is more of a meat/sausage market than a BBQ stand. it has a cafe attached, good for sandwiches, Burgers and both meat-filled and fruit Kolache.  The high point of the place is their prepared sausages. I really like the Jalopena/Cheese links they have. We had one of our hogs (from our Spring hunt) processed into 60 lbs of those great links and have been enjoying them all Summer and Fall.
     
    About your stop in Wichita, KS at Two Brothers. We enjoyed our visit there a few years ago, but I think they had just moved into their facility and were really extending an extra welcome to customers to help 'get them started'. It sounds like the pace has dropped a bit in the ratings.
    #22
    mayor al
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 18:34:24 (permalink)
    Green's Sausage House near Temple. TX is more of a meat/sausage market than a BBQ stand. it has a cafe attached, good for sandwiches, Burgers and both meat-filled and fruit Kolache.  The high point of the place is their prepared sausages. I really like the Jalopena/Cheese links they have. We had one of our hogs (from our Spring hunt) processed into 60 lbs of those great links and have been enjoying them all Summer and Fall.
     
    About your stop in Wichita, KS at Two Brothers. We enjoyed our visit there a few years ago, but I think they had just moved into their facility and were really extending an extra welcome to customers to help 'get them started'. It sounds like the place has dropped a bit in the ratings.
    #23
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 19:18:32 (permalink)
    You weren't, by any chance at Smitty's in Lockhart around 2:30 pm today, were you?
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    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 19:49:34 (permalink)
    Yep.  There weren't many of us there so you must have seen my wife an I sitting at the table against the East wall?  We were trying to recuperate from too much Franklin's in Austin this morning...I just couldn't stop.  Sounds like you must have been making a visit as well.  From there I went down to Kruez Market.  My ribs and sausage were good at Smitty's today but the shoulder was a bit dry.  I may have a day off of BBQ now that I am in San Antonio but will start up again on Thursday when my wife goes home and a buddy flies in to work our way back home.
    #25
    kaszeta
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 21:52:43 (permalink)
    mcguirejohnr
    Daily report will be put up tonight.  In the meantime...Franklin's BBQ...OMG...AWESOME.

    Indeed.  When I went, it was so awesome it made most of the other places I went on the trip taste like... meh.
    #26
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/25 23:58:18 (permalink)
    Day 3      Austin, TX to San Antonio
     
    Austin, TX – Franklins BBQ
    I have read a lot of pretty amazing reviews of Franklin’s and had missed out on it last time I was near Austin so made sure that my itinerary was scheduled around a visit here.  I arrived just before 10:00 am to find only a few people in line but within 30 minutes the line was 100 deep…maybe more.  Around 10:45 a young lady came out and began to tally folks’ orders to get an idea of when to tell those arriving that the food will likely be gone.  I got a photo of the tally and if I remember correctly it indicated around 150 pounds of beef and 70 slabs of ribs were available…if I was reading the tally correctly.  Once I upload my photos I’ll take a closer look.  In any event I ended up being #3 at the cutting line just before 11:00 am and ordered a 3 meat plate of ribs, brisket and sausage along with another 2 meat plate of turkey and pulled pork (I felt like I should try it all).  A Lone Star was just the ticket to get me started this morning as well.  I was amazed at the volume of meat that came on these mixed plates.  I did have my wife with me to help eat our way through the mountains of meat.  We retired to a picnic table outside and began the feast.  The brisket and ribs are truly and absolutely amazing…like nothing I have ever had before.  The brisket had a huge layer of bark, was super juicy and incredibly tender (both the wet and dry portions).  There had to be at least ½ pound of brisket included on the plate.  Ribs had a nice salt and pepper crust but a sweetness as well…not a sugar sweet, something else that was delicious.  Far and away the best brisket and ribs I have EVER eaten.  Sausage was excellent as well and was essentially a mix between my Kansas City style polish sausage and the Central Texas style sausage.  Turkey is not normally on my order list when in Texas but I had to try it along with pulled pork.  While the pulled pork was good it wasn’t entirely memorable and needed a bit of the Carolina style sauce provided on the table (one of three choices).  The turkey was amazing as well as it stayed juicy and had the same type of coating as the ribs.  We did have a bit of coleslaw as sides came on the plates and it was better than most.  The Carolina sauce was good.  There were two other sauces, once of which was a standard sweet smoky sauce and the other a darker spicier sauce that had an anise/licorice flavor.  Both were good not great but who cares the brisket, ribs and turkey needed nothing other than a bigger appetite.  My wife and I pledged to eat small so that we could continue the journey throughout the day but we couldn’t help ourselves and overindulged.  I don’t regret it though because I will dream of returning as soon as possible.  Overall Score:  5.0 Stars (I would give it 6 stars if that were available) 

     
    Austin, TX  -  J. Mueller’s BBQ
    After eating mountains of perfect BBQ at Franklin’s I thought of skipping the new J. Mueller’s but pressed ahead and made the visit.  It serves out of a trailer and was exceptionally good leading to a line about 25 deep.  My order consisted of brisket, pork ribs, sausage and a beef rib.  Brisket was very similar to Franklin’s and exceptionally good.  Lots of smoke bark and juice.  Ribs were St. Louis style which are neat and tidy to eat but not my favorite cut.  These were excellent examples though.  The sausage was good and leaned more towards traditional Central Texas flavors.  The standout was the enormous beef rib.  I had missed out on a beef rib at Louie Mueller’s so I couldn’t pass this up.  It was huge, about a foot long, with a perfect crust and a melty, juicy inside.  It seems to me that the beef ribs served at Louie Mueller’s must be this same cut only cut in half.  No sauce and no sides here.  Overall Score:  4.5 Stars

     
    Lockhart, TX  -  Smitty’s
    After two huge feast this morning (Franklin’s and J. Mueller’s) I limited the Lockhart visit to only two places, the first of which was Smitty’s.  Beef shoulder, spareribs and sausage was the order with nothing else.  The rib was excellent and a big improvement over my previous visits.  The sausage was also much better than I had previously experienced and was my first recent taste of a true Central Texas sausage.  Beef shoulder was decent but very dry and a bit tough, nothing near the wonderful example I had recently had in Dallas at Lockhart Smokehouse.  All in all a good visit in a classic joint…love that your pants catch on fire as you walk in.  Overall Score:  3.5 Stars

     
    Lockhart, TX  -  Kruez Market
    I keep hearing of disappointments with Kruez Market but I continue to have good experiences here.  I know it is huge and commercialized but I can’t blame the owners for cashing in on the Kruez fame as long as the BBQ is good and today it was.  Brisket, spareribs and sausage was my classic order.  Brisket had a beautiful smoke ring and bark.  It was tasty but a bit dry, perhaps due to my arrival time of 3:00 pm and not being cut off a fresh brisket.  The rib was outstanding with a flavor profile very close to Franklin’s and was the best rib that Kruez has ever produced for me.  Sausage was outstanding, again a classic Central Texas sausage that was the perfect texture and just dry enough.  Kruez continues to perform well for me so I will continue coming back.  Overall Score:  4.0 Stars

     
    Kyle, TX  -  Texas Pie Company
    Another non-BBQ stop, to try out some of the pie I had heard so much about.  It really was quite delicious although it was difficult to decide which type to sample.  Pies are sold either whole or in a miniature format.  Given the enourmous quantity of BBQ eaten today my wife and I opted for one of the mini pies, Almond Joy to be exact.  Other choices were pumpkin, pumpkin pecan, buttermilk, cherry, coconut, blueberry and a few others.  The Almond Joy was excellent with chocolate at the bottom and coconut on top.  I suspect that the full size versions are even better as the filling to crust ratio would be much higher.  Whole pies were $14 and minis were $3.75.  It appeared as though there was a small group of younger guys running the place and I could see that they were starting to make some fresh pies in the back.  Sandwiches, salads and daily speciasl were available for around $6.00 making this a pretty good value.  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ

     
    San Antonio, TX  -  Embassy Suites
    Free beer and cocktails from 5:30-7:00 pm which rates high with me!  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ
     
    San Antonio, TX  -  Bella on the River
    A great little Mediterranean place on the Riverwalk just off of St. Mary’s and Commerce streets.  We walked around for several hours trying to work up a big appetite but ended up with a late dinner consisting of a couple of very nice salads and some cocktails.  Bella’s on the River’s staff was exceedingly gracious and made some great food recommendations including a local Mexican joint for breakfast in the morning…Blanco Café.  Crossing my fingers that it is a home run as I am quite sure we will finally be hungry by morning.  I was originally planning on Guenther House but I think I will give the joint a try.  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ
     
    post edited by mcguirejohnr - 2011/10/30 18:25:32
    #27
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/26 00:21:18 (permalink)
    Wow.  Small world, indeed.  If your wife is a blonde, I am pretty sure that you came in just about as I was leaving.  We were actually seated at the same long table, but I was closer to the door, while you were seated at the other end, towards the middle of the room.  I am not even sure why I thought it was you, but you had the look of a guy doing a bbq tour - if there is such a look!
     
    It sounds like we have the same routing going on.  Unfortunately, Smitty's was my only Roadfood stop today, as I had to get to SA for an appointment.  I am currently at the Grand Hyatt near the convention center - so, it appears as though our hotels aren't even far apart!   
     
    I'm off the barbecue trail for tomorrow, myself.  I do plan on hitting Chris Madrid's, for one of the best burgers in San Antonio for lunch.  So, if that is on your agenda, maybe I'll see you there!  
    #28
    Twinwillow
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/26 01:08:21 (permalink)
    Hitler's, Franklin's BBQ rant
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaZx6kGs7pg
    #29
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:Texas BBQ Road Trip in October 2011/10/26 20:52:37 (permalink)
    Day 4      San Antonio, TX
     
    San Antonio, TX – Blanco Cafe
    I passed on Guenter House and the free Embassy Suites cooked to order breakfast to give this place a try.  It had a lot of promise and looked interesting as I entered.  At the end of the day it was a decent breakfast stop that did have handmade thick tortillas but other than that just a decent breakfast stop.  I wouldn’t go out of my way to return but didn’t hate the visit either.  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ
     
    San Antonio, TX  -  Schilo’s
    It seemed as though this may have been a tourist trap but I decided to give it a try and was glad I did.  My wife had the “famous” Rueben (there are a lot of “famous” reubens out there) and it was good with slightly thicker slices of corned beef than most.  We did, of course, try the split pea soup and it was quite good with lots of bacon flavor.  A deviled egg was added to the order just to explore the unusual way they are served as a whole egg partially split then stuffed rather that in separate halves.  The mac daddy of the order was my pork shank.  I had gone into the place thinking a light chef’s salad to give my gut a breather from meat…I had a bad case of the meat sweats the previous night.  After seeing a pork shank on the menu I couldn’t resist and was not disappointed.  It was a large shank that was moist and tender throughout.  I took a couple of great before and after pictures.  The only thing that I would do different would be to finish it off in a very hot over or even a deep fat fryer to crisp the skin and fat up.  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ

     
    San Antonio, TX  -  Taco Taco Cafe
    I went here after dropping my wife at the airport…only open from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm?  Overall Score:  N/A
     
    San Antonio, TX  -  Dough
    With Taco Taco Café closed I decided to try out Dough Neapolitan Pizzeria which several people had recommended to me and had been on the Food Network.  The place was pretty small but nearly full.  A big push of the wine list was working as almost every table had wine with dinner, including me.  I had the Pork Love pizza and it was outstanding.  The pizzas arrive in just a few minutes even though I watched them all made to order.  It is a thin crust and the wood burning oven is blazing hot so they are in and out quickly.  The Pork Love had salami, pancetta, dry cured ham and sausage and it was very very good.  Way above average for a pizza place although on the fancier side.  For those with a Kansas City background my favorite pizza is still Fun House Pizza on 350 Highway in Raytown.  I’ve been going there for over forty years now and never get tired of it but it certainly a different style than what you will get at Dough.  Anyway, I would return to Dough on another visit to San Antonio.  Overall Score:  Not Rated…it wasn’t BBQ

     
    NOTE:  I return to BBQ on Thursday and have a new traveling partner arriving in the morning to accompany me.
     
    post edited by mcguirejohnr - 2011/10/30 18:27:37
    #30
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