Texas BBQ Posse member Jim Rossman reports in from a quick BBQ run to Austin yesterday. You have to ask the question. Is the epicenter of the BBQ universe shifting north up Hwy. 183 from Lockhart to Austin?
Posse pitmaster Marshall Cooper, his son Mark and I set out for Austin at 7:30 a.m.
Our day’s goal was a return trip to JMueller’s BBQ and a visit to one Austin’s newest places – Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew.
Our first stop was to pick up John Lewis and his fiancee Maureen. John is a fantastic competition pitmaster who also works at Franklin BBQ.
There were about six people in line when we arrived at John Mueller’s around 11:15 a.m. By the time we left around noon, the line had grown to about 25 and several parties were eagerly eyeing our table.
Austin posse member Libby Jacobson joined us as we placed our order. Today we sampled moist and lean brisket, sausage, pork ribs, beef ribs and baked squash casserole.
The meats were top notch across the board, although Marshall asked more than once if we tasted any smoke. Several of us came to the realization that Marshall rarely finds enough smoke to suit his taste, but he did admit Mueller’s meats were 5-star today.
We were really glad to find John Mueller has been able to maintain his quality. I hope John adds some more seating before summer, because the crowd sure could have filled a few more picnic tables yesterday.
As we were closing the car doors to leave, John Mueller walked across the parking lot to thank us for coming. We told him we couldn’t wait to return.
The Posse then headed north on Lamar Street to Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew. The blogosphere buzz has certainly landed on Stiles Switch and we were eager to get our first taste.
The restaurant is in a slightly industrial section of Austin, about a block north of Threadgills, and you could tell from the amount of cars in the parking lot that there was likely some good meat inside.
The interior layout is familiar, line along the right side of the room, serving line at the back. The crew behind the counter was moving things along at a good pace and we only had a few minutes to scan the menu before it was our turn to order.
Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick was manning the knife as we ordered another round of meat. Brisket, pork and beef ribs and jalapeno cheddar sausage were on our tray today, as well as sides of corn casserole, mac and cheese and banana pudding.
Owner Shane Stiles was busy serving up the sides and meeting his customers. Everyone working at Stiles Switch is a barbecue veteran and they really take pride in their craft.
At the table, it didn’t take us long to dive into the pile of meat.
Our brisket was from the moist end and we all thought it was fantastic, even if it didn’t have enough smoke for at least one Posse pitmaster.
The pork ribs were lightly rubbed and were well received. The beef ribs were some of the smaller ones we’ve run across, but they were excellent. There are three kinds of sausage. We tried the jalepeno cheddar and it was a favorite.
The corn casserole was a base of cornbread dressing with sweet corn and cheese. The recipe is from the owner’s aunt and it was wonderful.
The homemade banana pudding was full of sliced bananas and vanilla wafers. It was a winner.
BBQ Snob Daniel Vaughn gave Stiles Switch four stars in his review. As a group, we agreed, but a few more good visits could easily bring a fifth star.
Shane took us back for a tour of the custom pit made by Klose from Houston.
Shane and his crew were extremely nice and very gracious hosts. It’s obvious they love what they’re doing. Judging from the crowd yesterday, lots of BBQ fans love what they’re doing too.
We made an impromptu third stop on the way home at Billy Ray’s BBQ truck at 35 and Braker Lane.
Billy Ray was certainly friendly and his smoke smelled great. We ordered a two-meat plate of brisket and ribs. We asked for sauce on the side and much to our dismay the meat was covered in sauce anyways.
There might have been some potential under that sauce, but it wasn’t quite there. The meat was cooked well, we just couldn’t judge the taste at all.
On a bright note, the homemade potato salad was great.
- JMueller BBQ, 1502 S 1st St, Austin, TX, 512-229-7366. Open Tues-Sat 11 am-til the meat runs out.
- Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, 6610 N. Lamar, Austin, 512-380-9199. Open Tues-Thur 11 am-8:30 pm, Fri-Sun 11 am-9 pm.
Photos and story by Jim Rossman/Texas BBQ Posse