Smoked meats Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Lunch at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew in Austin, including sausage, pork ribs, brisket, beef rib, smoked fried chicken wings and sides.

There’s a lot of history swirling around Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew in Austin. It’s located in what was the city’s first shopping center, built in 1951. And the space now occupied by the joint was the movie location for the pool hall in Dazed and Confused, the 1993 comedy that made Matthew McConaughey famous.

“All right, all right, all right.”

But if you’re a railroad fan, particularly one who might be partial to ghosts, there’s an even better connection.

Stiles Switch is named after an old stop on the International & Great Northern railroad. The long-time agent for the I&GN was Col. Peter Lawless, who lived in the Driskill Hotel for decades, beginning in 1886.

By many accounts in books and other publications, Lawless’ ghost still roams the hotel, sometimes checking his watch by an elevator —gotta make sure the trains run on time — sometimes just being a friendly spirt near the lobby.

There’s one more link between Stiles Switch and old-time railroading, especially for a place trying to serve craft-quality smoked meat for dinner as well as lunch. Keeping the pits fired, just like the boilers on old-time steam engines, is a real job.

Pit room Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Scenes from the pit room at Stiles Switch BBQ. Clockwise from top left, pitmaster Bill Dumas sprays ribs, sausage rings on the smoker, a deer trophy keeps watch on the pit room and beef ribs on the smoker. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

“There’s no automation,” Stiles Switch pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick said. “You gotta be loading wood on the fires all the time.”

When Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins, photographer Darren Carroll and I visited late on a recent Sunday morning, the place had all four of its pits working with five pit masters on duty.

On a light day, Kirkpatrick said, his crew will turn out 40-45 briskets; on a heavier day 75-80.

The brisket we had for lunch was excellent. This was my eighth barbecue joint in eight days, including Franklin Barbecue. The slices of brisket at 2M Smokehouse in San Antonio and Stiles Switch were the best.

We also ordered pork ribs, a beef rib, the house-made sausage and a Sunday special, smoked chicken wings that are then fried and served with sauces, including bleu cheese.

“All right, all right, all right.”

And while we didn’t see any ghosts at Stiles Switch, we did feel plenty of good, and friendly, barbecue spirit.

For more of my interview with Kirkpatrick, click the video below.

Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew, 6610 N. Lamar Blvd, Austin. Open Tues-Thurs 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm & Sunday 11am-9pm.

 

Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick at Stiles Switch BBQ, one of the best in the business. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Beef rib Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Lance Kirkpatrick shows a beef rib off the pit at Stiles Switch BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Pitmaster Bill Dumas Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Pitmaster Bill Dumas checks the pits at Stiles Switch BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Smoked chicken wings Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Order of Smoked Fried Buffalo Chicken Wings at Stiles Switch BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Pitmaster Bill Dumas Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

Pitmaster Bill Dumas works in the main pit room at Stiles Switch BBQ. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Austin

A customer enters Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew at 6610 N Lamar Blvd in Austin. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)

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Bill Dumas

2 months ago

Pretty darn cool

Austin Top 5 plus Snow's
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