Austin

Smoked in Texas: Epicerie Cafe in Austin

Nothing about this bungalow with a French name screamed smoked meat. Well manicured ivy enveloped the Épicerie sign out front, and the interior looked more like a wine and cheese bar, but the menu had a different message. Smoked house made boudin and beef pastrami, a smoked goat sandwich special, and even a salad with a smoked tomato dressing. I could eat well, and get my greens. I learned of chef Sarah McIntosh’s smoked tomato vinaigrette in…

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Kerlin BBQ

Kerlin BBQ isn’t yet a year old, making it one of the youngest barbecue joints in Austin to be mentioned with the big names. Owner and pitmaster Bill Kerlin is also pretty new to the craft of smoking meat. “I never cooked a brisket until I moved to Texas.” That was three years ago when he and his wife Amelis left Arizona for Austin. They were looking for a change of pace from Arizona and…

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Brown’s Bar-B-Que

Brown’s Bar-B-Que has one of the best briskets in Austin, and one of the best side items in Texas. When I visited a year ago (at their previous location) I found the brisket to be the weak link, but no longer. Pitmaster Daniel Brown has found the sweet spot in his trailer mounted steel smoker, and Austin is the beneficiary. These days the Brown’s trailer is parked out front of Corner Bar on South Lamar. On…

Photo by Nicholas McWhirter

Austin BBQ Guide

Austin has the greatest concentration of truly excellent barbecue of any city in the world. The 78702 zip code alone features enough stellar barbecue—Franklin Barbecue, la Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats, John Mueller Meat Co., Live Oak BBQ, and Kerlin BBQ—to make most other cities in Texas blush. Of course, there’s plenty of other great barbecue in the city as well, but sometimes it’s hard to navigate when and where to visit, or what to expect…

Douglass, Neal. [West Sixth Street Barbecue & Market Explosion], Photograph, January 29, 1948; digital image, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth62795/ : accessed September 17, 2013), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Austin, Texas.

Austin BBQ Explosion

Sixty-six years ago on January 29, 1948, rush hour in downtown Austin was given a jolt by an explosion. A small barbecue joint called the West Sixth Street Barbecue & Market was left in shambles. The news was reported as far away as Sweetwater where the snippet in the February 1, 1948 edition of the Sweetwater Reporter read: “BARBECUE BLAST INJURES EIGHT – Rescue workers struggle with an explosion-wrecked barbecue stand in Austin, Texas, in…

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Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

My first trip to Valentina’s was on a whim. I stopped at the trailer behind the Star Bar on Sixth Street in Austin on my way out of town. A friend was writing a story on taco variations, and I thought I might be able to add a novelty to his story – Texas barbecue in a taco. I didn’t know what to expect from this mash-up of Tex-Mex and barbecue, but it wasn’t much….