Austin: BBQ Ground Zero.
I might have possibly mentioned this before, but Austin is ground zero for BBQ. And now there’s a new article to just confirm what I already knew to be true (confirmation bias anyone?).
Oh sure, the article has shout-outs to Honolulu, Greenville, New York (what?), Memphis, and Lockhardt (#3). Even Kansas City (at #2). But Austin, Texas comes in at #1. And the fact that less than 45 minutes outside of Austin in all directions are a number of excellent BBQ grills that basically double the number of choices (Lockhardt included), Austinites have a lot to choose from. So much so that sometimes what would pass as the best BBQ in the state in other places gets passed over as “okay” in Austin.
Yes, of course everyone knows Franklin. Franklin, Franklin, Franklin. It’s like the Marcia meme of the Austin BBQ world. And yes, of course, it’s amazing, but herein lies one of the best and most compelling arguments about the quality of Austin’s BBQ scene: most of the places in the city with no line are still better than any other cities’ bests.
As of now, la Barbecue usually has at least a 45-minute wait, but tasting that brisket alongside an El Sancho Loco has people whispering about it making a run at the throne. John Mueller is still the dark prince of the scene, and the sausage at the Micklethwait trailer change daily, but if you get the jalapeño cheddar, well, order eleventy more. The Lockhart scene is edging its way into Austin as well, with two different Black’s-related outposts. But Austin pitmasters aren’t afraid to experiment either, especially on the sides, as evidenced by Mueller’s cheesy baked squash or the blue cheese coleslaw at Kerlin. And we haven’t even said anything about Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest. Point being, line or no line, there’s not a city in the country doing more in both creative and classic styles than Austin, and that’s why we picked it as number one. Plan accordingly.
The article calls out Franklin, la Barbecue, John Mueller Meat Co., Micklethwait Craft Meat, and Freedman’s. Of course, it doesn’t bother to mention old staples like IronWorks, Rudy’s, Lambert’s, Blue Ribbon, Styles Switch, etc.
SXSW-goers, your BBQ awaits.