You can say a lot of things about John Mueller, who some might call the bad boy of Texas barbecue. And, over the years, most of it probably has been said.
But the dude can cook!
We were reminded of that during a recent visit to a new trailer operation — John Mueller Black Box Barbecue — in Georgetown.
“Damn, he’s good,” I blurted, after taking a bite of Mueller’s smoked turkey. I followed with a crusted bite of fatty brisket. Delicious.
“Classic John Mueller,” Posse co-founder Chris Wilkins said.
The beef rib was excellent. The pork ribs solid. And Wilkins had high praise for the beef sausage.
“I love the grind on the sausage,” he said. “Not too fine. Not too coarse”
It wasn’t just us. We ran into a group of a half-dozen barbecue lovers from San Antonio who drove two hours to lunch at Black Box. They liked everything, too, including some of the side dishes.
“The cheesey squash reminded me of my grandmother’s squash,” said DeAnna Gaytan.
Eddie Trejo, who writes a barbecue blog on his Facebook page (Smokin’ Eddie’s BBQ Review), was the leader of the group.
Eddie rates joints on a scale of smokers, 5 smokers being the pinnacle. He’s a tough grader who values consistency on return visits. Only recently did he give his first, and only, 5, to Hays County Bar-B-Que.
His rating for Black Box, after one visit? “I give it 4 out of 5,” Eddie said.
The joint, where you can dine under a couple of big pecan trees a block or so from Georgetown’s central square, opened just a couple months ago. Because of that short longevity, it wasn’t included on Texas Monthly’s recent Top 50 list, but it certainly belongs in that same company.
Mueller, from what many consider the first family of Texas barbecue, has been involved in several joints, most recently John Mueller Meat Co., which was seized last year by the state for nonpayment of taxes.
At Black Box, Mueller said, he just cooks and doesn’t get involved in the business aspects. And, he said, he’s cooking the same as he always has. “I’d tell you you if it was different,” he said.
The place is selling out “just about every day,” he added. “We’re cooking more than we were on Sixth Street,” he said, referring to John Mueller Meat Co. in Austin.
John Mueller Black Box Barbecue, 201 E. 9th St., Georgetown, Tx., 78626. Open Thurs-Sun 10:30 am - 5 pm, or until sold out.