Blue Ox Barbecue

1505 Town Creek Dr.
Austin, TX 78741

Phone: (512) 537-2047
Hours: Daily 11-2am
Website: www.blueoxbarbecue.com
Twitter: @BlueOxBarbecue
Facebook: www.facebook.com/blueoxbbq

Opened 2012
Pitmaster Chase Palmer
Method Wood-Fired offset smoker with post oak

TMBBQ Rating: 4

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Underwhelming brisket. It was slightly dry, with a faint bitter smoky aftertaste, and not very flavorful. I was glad sauce was offered.
Kathy Dowell @ Stacy’s, 2015-04-26 02:41:29
At silver saddle smokehouse in Bellville. Brisket is amazing with big ol smoke ring. Almost all fat rendered which left such a juicy and melt in your mouth meat on my plate. Soooo good. Sides are also good. Corn casserole has a ton of flavor and spice. Not sure why not listed as bbq joint. So I requested it.
Terry r @ , 2015-04-24 19:09:32
Some of the worst bbq ever. But the folks are very friendly.
Bob Fields @ Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, 2015-04-20 17:41:53
Two ribs one smoked sausage and a slice of salami all stellar hit the spot with Fritos and sharp cheddar
doug_wallace @ Angelo’s, 2015-04-24 23:10:08
Brisket and ribs 2 meat plate beans, cole slaw, and potato salad!
diprivan @ Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue, 2015-04-24 11:29:08
Finally made it here and all meats were on the table. Nothing I can write will do this place justice. Truly the best BBQ I have ever tasted. The rub on the brisket and beef rib is like its own delicious side dish. Can't wait to come back!
Adam Murray @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2015-04-23 23:07:26
Pricey, but good. Meat was flavorful by itself without the dunking in the vinegary sauce. I won't get it that way next time.
James Pharaon @ Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, 2015-04-23 17:28:38
Great smoked flavor. The brisket was great and tender and the turkey has just the right amount of spice. I'll be back!
James Pharaon @ Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que, 2015-04-23 17:24:41
More Buzz →

Review

September 24, 2013

The rise of Austin’s barbecue culture has been led by food trailers. The mighty trio of John Mueller Meat Co., la Barbecue, and Franklin Barbecue (which began as a food trailer) lead the local scene and have made patrons all too familiar with the “Sold Out” sign. These joints all cook a huge amount of meat, slice it furiously for a few hours and are done for the day. We all love the results because of how fresh the meat is, and the pitmasters prefer it because they get to go home after lunch is over. Blue Ox is different. Sure it’s run out of a trailer, but on a recent Sunday afternoon after the “Last Man Standing” sign had already been given out at Franklin Barbecue, Blue Ox was less than halfway to closing time. Not only would they have barbecue until 6:00 pm, they were also serving all you can eat pancakes for Sunday brunch.

Blue Ox Visit 01

Visit #1

This was my third meal at Blue Ox. On one visit I got the very last scraps of a few menu items. It was impressive, but not enough to form a real opinion. The next stop featured late night ribs and brisket. That second visit was the best barbecue I’d eaten after 9:30 pm. That’s just not something that happens very often in Texas where barbecue is usually considered a lunch time food. That’s why I decided to go right in the middle of the lunch hour on this latest visit to see how they were using that pit that once belonged to Aaron Franklin.

Blue Ox visit 02

Visit #2

If you don’t know where Blue Ox is located, you’re better off searching for The Buzz Mill on your map. It’s the coffee shop that you’ll have to walk through to get back to Blue Ox anyway, which is situated at the far end of the outdoor dining area. Back at the trailer the flapjacks covering the griddle inside the trailer looked tempting, but I didn’t need any extra carbs. The Buzz Mill was already passing out tall boys of Hamm’s, gratis. I went for a portion of all the meats they had along with the beans and German potato salad. The beef ribs that occasionally make it on the smoker weren’t around on this day, but they had pork tenderloin, pork sausage, pulled pork, brisket and ribs.

Blue Ox 05

Pork Sausage

Blue Ox 03

Pork Tenderloin

The pork was impressive. A pork sausage that they have made locally to their specifications was great. The links were juicy without being fatty, which is rare in an all-pork sausage. There was a little spice, plenty of garlic, and a great snap. This was good sausage. A pork tenderloin could have easily been dry as a bone. This isn’t the thick pork loin, but the smaller, tapering tenderloin. Even the thin tip was moist, and it was all enveloped in smoke and black pepper. Some coffee in the rub gave it an extra boost.

Blue Ox 01

Pork Ribs

Blue Ox 04

Pork Shoulder

The pork ribs were also heavy on the seasoning, but they’d have been better at opening time. The meat was loose on the bone and had given up much of its moisture. Big, ragged hunks of pork shoulder had no such issues. It was pleasantly crusty, well seasoned, and smoky. It needed none of the new-recipe sauce. That sauce is now less sweet than a previous iteration, but the move to the marinara end of the spectrum isn’t any more welcome.

Blue Ox 02

Sliced Brisket 

Brisket is tricky, and this one wasn’t quite done. The smoke and flavor were both spot on, but there was just too much unrendered fat. It’s a small quibble for a very good meal, but from my previous two meals I know they can do better. I don’t know if anyone can do better with German potato salad. There was some meat fatigue toward the end of this meal, but I had no trouble finishing the potato salad. The cubed potatoes were tender and the flavors were both rich and bright. Skip the uninspired beans and double up on the potato salad.

Blue Ox 06

German Potato Salad and Beans

There is much to love about Blue Ox. Even a decent barbecue option in the late evening is something special, but this is far better than decent. They can do pork well on a consistent basis, and the high side of their brisket is definitely high. Knowing they can provide meat this good after the sun goes down makes it a joint worth seeking out.

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