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.
Stanley's - Tyler Ribs - beautiful, perfectly pink. Soft, almost oddly mushy, but with a tasty sweetness that I enjoyed. Brisket - well cooked, tender, but a bit dry and not much smoke flavor at all. The bark was thin, as was the smoke ring. Overall good, but nothing to really make it stand out. Gets a 'meh' B from me.
Scott Jarvis @ Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 2014-09-18 18:14:00
Had the brisket ribs and sausage all very good. Sides are over the top good. Smoked jalapeño app is amazing.
Roman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-18 16:53:37
Went for "My Ribs" and "Your Ribs". Both good but latter wins out. Brisket definitely dry; was hard for me to get into. Sausage was okay. Definitely try key lime pie. Enjoyed the decor. Overall a good, not great Q place.
Rahul Yaratha @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-17 23:24:47
Brisket sandwich was good. And that's all she wrote as there is nothing else (chicken, sausage, turkey, potato salad, etc). Not even my friends who all went to Tech even heard of this place. Scratching my head on such a high TM ranking.
Rahul Yaratha @ Tom and Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-17 23:21:48
We had Friday night dinner here. Brisket was tender and delicious. A little too much fat for my husband, but my daughter and I thought it was PERFECT. Good seasoning and good bark. No sauce needed. Homemade creamed corn is the best I have ever had. Coleslaw is delicious and not overdressed. We finished the meal with the homemade fried strawberry pies - one of the tastiest desserts I have ever put in my mouth. Live music. Dishes served family style. <$40 for 3 people including soft drinks and several beers. Definitely will go back!
Marcy Newman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-17 22:16:13
Just average
David Monasmith @ Crossroads Smokehouse, 2014-09-17 17:42:33
Brisket was good, pulled pork over sauced. Over all it was ok at best. Prob won't be back here. I was surprised it made the TM list, I think they missed it on this list.
epp @ Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, 2014-09-15 17:43:26
Amazing! Every time!
John Brotherton @ Snow’s BBQ, 2014-09-13 13:22:59
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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