On the BBQ Trail in Austin

By | November 11, 2007

I’m in the middle of a trip to Austin and San Antonio to visit relatives and get up close and personal with some BBQ. And Mexican food. And chili and chiles. A short version of all this is on my wombatnation page at Pownce.

First up was a trip to the Texas Chili Parlor for a large Double XX frito pie. Traditional Texas style chili contains no beans, and the Texas Chili Parlor is all about tradition. A longtime favorite of Texas legislators working at the nearby Capitol building, the Chili Parlor was also a regular destination for me and a couple of other chili fanatics with whom I worked at the Applied Research Labs.

That evening I headed over to Chuy’s with my family for a Chuychanga. Picture a femur sized burrito constructed from a fried tortilla wrapped around lots of chicken and melted cheese, with a healthy dose of green chile sauce on the side. Enough calories for a family of four. For two days.

BBQ made its first appearance in my esophagus during a trip to The Salt Lick down around Driftwood. The brisket was great, although I thought they drowned it in sauce. The sauce was very good, but it almost overpowered the delicious brisket. I wasn’t a big fan of the beans (too bland), but everyone else liked them. I did like the potato salad (my favorite German style of slightly warm with big, firm chunks of potato and a simple mustardy coating and no pickles), though no one else was a big fan of it. The sausage was more of a bratwurst style than what I normally find at a BBQ restaurant.

The next day I had a yummy BBQ chicken sandwich at Ruby’s BBQ. Technically speaking, you don’t BBQ chicken – you either smoke it or grill it. Maybe you then put some BBQ sauce on it. Ruby’s is notable for serving natural (i.e., no antibiotics or hormones, etc.) meats from Coleman Ranches. I would normally get the brisket, but I knew we were headed to Iron Works for dinner. The chicken sandwich is still a great choice, especially if you prefer moist chicken breast meat.

Just as at The Salt Lick, I ordered the combination/sampler plate at Iron Works. Overall, I would give the Iron Works a slight edge over The Salt Lick based solely on the quality of the BBQ. I liked the brisket and sausage a little better at Iron Works and the ribs a little better at The Salt Lick.

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