The last time Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins visited Opie’s BBQ, on an Easter Sunday four years ago, he was too late for the brisket.
In the world of Texas barbecue, that’s called disappointment.
So Wilkins was very happy on a recent return visit to the Spicewood joint when we ordered a full platter of brisket, ribs, sausage, pork loin and turkey.
“That’s the star for me,” Wilkins said, pointing to the brisket after we sampled the fare.
“If I came here and wasn’t doing our thing, I’d be very happy,” added Posse member Michael Meadows.
By “our thing,” Meadows meant being critical Posse tasters.
So, a bit of criticism. The pork loin didn’t have much taste and was a notch or two past done. And while the turkey was good, it didn’t compare to the turkey we had at J.Leonardi’s, a new trailer joint in Austin, just a week or so previously.
Still, Opie’s remains a great barbecue destination in the beautiful country around Lake Travis. Terrific scenery, good food and music. And while it didn't make Texas Monthly's recent Top 50 list, it was close.
Randy Wright sang and played guitar during our visit. “Music that brings back memories,” his sign said.
And it did, beginning with Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty,” onto Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways” and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” Willie himself has a ranch nearby.
All the music diverted the Posse’s attention from food for a while and led to a moment of serendipity when we discovered that Meadows, former head of the Dallas zoo, moonlights as a rock singer. In his younger years, he did a mean Geddy Lee. That tidbit was so hot that we rushed it into publication.
Another sign greets visitors right inside the front door of Opie’s. “Butterbeans are Dine In Only! No whining, crying, or exceptions! Thank you!”
The words “Dine In” are double underlined.
With a pitch like that, you gotta try ‘em.
“Those butterbeans and the tatter tot casserole, I can make a meal out of that alone,” Meadows said.
After we ate we talked to the owners, Todd and Kristin Ashmore, still business partners but no longer married to each other.
Where did you get the name for the place, we asked.
Todd explained that it was the name of a dog they had. Opie, all 150 pounds of him, would “steal” tools and tool pouches and run away. Great name for a dog and a barbecue joint.
Kristin compared their place to Pecan Lodge in Dallas because both use mesquite wood in cooking.
We asked if she had noticed any difference in competition because of all the new barbecue places starting up.
“Every time one opened we thought it would hurt, but it’s actually helping business,” she said.
The crowd at Opie’s during our visit supported her point.
Opie's BBQ, 9504 TX-71, Spicewood, 830-693-8660. Open Mon-Wed 11am-4pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm, unless they run out of meat.