Hwy 29 BBQ

110 W State Hwy 29
Bertram, TX 78605

Phone: (512) 277-7020
Hours: W-Sat 11-7:30, Sun 11-3
Website: www.hwy29bbq.com
Twitter: @Hwy29BBQ
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Hwy-29-BBQ/165948360257038

Opened 2013
Pitmaster Corey Thibodeaux and Morgan Scott
Method oak in an indirect heat pit

TMBBQ Rating: 4

TMBBQ Buzz

Comments from our joint finder app.
Was so excited to finally make it to this Texas institution. The shabby, unkempt interior was alluring at first but soon
Adam Murray @ City Market, 2015-04-27 21:15:21
Pork ribs were fabulous. Brisket was better than average. Sauce was different - pretty good. Squash was yummy.
bbq-kel @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2015-04-27 18:14:51
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
More Buzz →

Review

HWY 29 BBQ 01

March 11, 2014

This stone covered building along Highway 29 in Bertram was once home to barbecue royalty. Bertram Smokehouse had a place in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ joints in 2008. Then they moved into a bigger building across the tracks and soon folded. Tin Star BBQ also came and went a couple years back. Now Corey Thibodeaux and Morgan Scott have the pits fired up again since opening the doors here last August.

HWY 29 BBQ 04

Hwy 29 BBQ interior and menu

Painted wood ceilings tower above after walking through the front door. The floor is a simple polished concrete and the walls are mostly undecorated white plaster. A few simple wooden tables and larger picnic tables made for communal seating fill the interior. A small ordering counter is in the back of the space with a bold yet scant menu. Brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken are the meat options. Beans, slaw and potato salad are the only sides. It’s a classic Texas barbecue menu within a classic barbecue setting.

Meat is sliced at the front counter as you order. The option for fatty or lean brisket is given. I liked the direction thus far as I watched a blackened behemoth of beef quiver under the knife’s faint pressure. This brisket was gonna be good. The ribs have what looked like a cherry lacquered finish with a generous smattering of black pepper. A link of sausage was sliced and placed on the tray, but chicken would have to wait for another time. It was gone for the day. As Scott explained “nothing carries over to the next day.” That means they have to be conservative when loading the pits, especially on a weekday where the regulars might feel more like eating at the Tex-Mex place down the street.

HWY 29 BBQ 05

Texas Trinity at Hwy 29 BBQ

The spare ribs had a great smokiness to accompany the hammy flavor from a good amount of salt. Those ribs were big, and required some serious gnawing to separate meat from bone, and the black pepper bit back. The brisket was superb from the first bite to the last. It had a muted pepper flavor compared to the ribs and a sweet vanilla overtone from the post oak. At 2:00pm the beef was still plenty moist with a crisp exterior from the well formed bark. Links of garlicy sausage come from Miiller’s Smokehouse in Llano. The casings had great snap and the filling was juicy.

Scott helped developed the blend for this particular sausage that is now carried at the Miiller’s storefront in Llano. Scott grew up on barbecue in Lockhart, so he wanted to try an 85%-15% beef-to-pork ratio with a coarse grind, but was warned away from it. It seems Hill Country folks prefer a finer grind and more pork, so they acquiesced to the sausage maker and went with a 60%-40% beef-to-pork mix. It seems to have worked out because this was a good one with plenty of spice.

The sides come from all over Texas. Corey’s wife makes the banana pudding, the potato salad is from Morgan’s mom, and the beans are from Texas author Frank Dobie’s recipe. They were all good, but the only one I finished was the creamy pudding. It had plenty of banana chunks and on top were crumbled Nilla wafers mixed with cinnamon and sugar. This is what most banana puddings aspire to be. If you like mustard in your potato salad, then you’ll like this hearty mixture, and the simple beans were well seasoned and satisfying. Nothing was overdone, overwrought, or overthought. It was well executed food that tasted like some old-timers made it, not a gaggle of twenty-somethings.

HWY 29 BBQ 02

Banana pudding, potato salad, pinto beans

Hwy 29 BBQ is in an old building, but the smoker is brand new. They built it before the place reopened. There’s one smokestack with two big steel smoker chambers lined with stone coming off either side. They use all post oak to smoke and keep things low and slow.

HWY 29 BBQ 03

New custom smoker

These folks are putting out some great Central Texas barbecue here on the edge of the Hill Country in Bertram. Just don’t come on a Monday or Tuesday. As Morgan Scott explained “you’ve gotta be closed for two days to get one day off in the barbecue business.” So for five days a week, just forty-five minutes outside of Austin, you’ll find classic Texas smoked meats and sides in a classic Texas barbecue joint in a classic Texas small town. That sounds like the makings of a road trip.

Comments

8 Comments

  • Sherry Woodard says:

    Great BBQ, always have them vacuum pack some to bring home to Southeast Texas.

  • Katie Green says:

    I’m so glad you gave the banana pudding a try – it’s impossible to not fall in love with Molly’s puddin. :) It’s the perfect finish to their delicious brisket!

  • Helivet says:

    I ordered the puddin’ because that the real stuff that goes with BBQ.

  • Silvia Vandenberg says:

    Best BBQ in the area. Must try!

  • Jenny Swinton says:

    The ribs are unbelievable and the cole slaw is among the best I’ve ever had. Great atmosphere too.

  • Traces_of_Texas says:

    Glad to know that this place is legit as I’ve passed by several times wondering whether or not it was worth a try.

  • jimwashburn says:

    Just drove by. It was open, but I didn’t stop because I’m full of huevos rancheros. I’ll plan to be empty next time I go that way.

  • Don in Huaco says:

    Bertram Smokehouse gave me a sad when it closed. I’d sure like to have their coleslaw recipe (totally unlike anything I’ve ever sampled before or since). I’m glad to see the void on that stretch of road filled with an appropriate replacement though.

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