Reviews

The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q

With rattlesnake skin tacked to the particleboard walls, wagon wheel chandeliers, and black-and-white-checked tablecloths, Willie’s aesthetic can be described Little House on the Prairie chic. This joint has a large menu that caters to local tastes (brisket tacos, fajita plates), and it was packed during the weekday lunch rush. Meats are all available by the pound, with the tender pork ribs (smoked to perfection with pecan wood, a rarity in South Texas, where mesquite tends…

R&G Bar-B-Que

2011: When we arrived at about 2:00 in the afternoon, the place was empty. We grabbed a couple cans of High Life at $1.75 a piece, then settled down for a snack. The sausage link was well seasoned with plenty of smoke, but it was obvious that it had been sitting around a while. The casing was shriveled and the filling was dry but a dip into that sweet sauce cured all. The brisket was…

John Mueller Meat Co.

You may remember last October when John Mueller was shut out of his well-regarded JMueller BBQ trailer on South First Street in Austin. He wasn’t happy about it, to say the least, but stayed quiet, plotting his return. That return will occur in just two weeks, and for smoked meat lovers everywhere, let’s hope it’s a triumphant one. Saturday, February 23rd will be the opening day of John Mueller Meat Co., and the trailer will be set…

Pappy’s Bar BQ

If it’s been a long day of poor-quality smoked meat, then I start ordering dessert. If the meat is bad, then the sweet stuff is usually pretty good. I watched the knife man cut the brisket and it looked tough and springy, so I added a slice of chocolate cake to the order. Beans were unseasoned and the slaw was a wet mess. A hot link was little more than a spicy hot dog. Brisket…

Johnny’s Bar-B-Q

The smoke was thick coming out of the Oyler smoker in the back of this joint, and the neon was bright over the door as we entered. Toward the back of the room was a long cafeteria style counter with the meats on display, but the bright red heat lamps did little to make it look appetizing. Watching the knife man cut the brisket reminded me of the carving station at a hotel banquet. Until…

Van’s Bar BQ

Van’s sits all alone along a long stretch of interstate between Corpus Christi and San Antonio. I had high hopes for this joint given the praise received from Texas Monthly in their 2008 Top 50 BBQ list, but little that they served on this day was worth returning for. Pork ribs had no bark, little seasoning, and not much smoke. Although it came off the bone nicely, the meat tasted fatigued. A nice link of…

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