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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-21-2008, 08:09 PM   #1
spoon
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Recent article about Texas BBQ joints around Austin.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcont...n1.be0fe8.html

Sampling Texas' finest barbecue with Jane and Michael Stern

11:11 AM CDT on Wednesday, May 21, 2008
By JOYCE SÁENZ HARRIS / The Dallas Morning News
jharris@dallasnews.com

AUSTIN – When tickets became available online in December, the fourth annual Roadfood.com Eating Tour sold out in about 20 minutes.

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Tour Texas' best barbecue joints
05-21-2008
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For hard-core fans of renowned food writers Jane and Michael Stern, it's a rare chance to hobnob with their idols and to sample some of Texas' best in the legendary 'cue towns of Taylor, Elgin and Lockhart.

The Sterns enjoy a devoted national following with the Roadfood books and their Web site. On this tour, Roadfooders arrived from Boston, New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and points between. Still, Jane Stern says, the initial idea of an annual tour made them "a little afraid at first, because we'd never done this before. We thought that people would be bored. "No worries. "The opportunity to meet Jane and Michael was just the realization of a 25-year dream," says Charlene Oaks of Houston, who's traveled with copies of Roadfood since 1983. "I listen to them on Splendid Table via iTunes, and I subscribed to Gourmet just to read their column."

"This is Texas," Michael Stern announces to Roadfooders on the first bus, pulling away from the hotel in Austin. (Jane follows with a second group on a smaller bus.) "And this is beef country.

"You'll definitely eat your fill today. I guarantee it."


Stops No. 1, 2 and 3

First stop is for breakfast: Round Rock Donuts at the Lone Star Bakery, "World Famous Since 1926." I order one plain cake doughnut, splitting it with my husband, who's just arrived off the second bus. "I'm pacing myself," I say virtuously. Other people carry away boxes with a dozen assorted.

At Louie Mueller Barbeque in Taylor for an early lunch, everyone's ready for barbecue. Some recklessly order brisket, ribs, sausage and sides and beer. Mueller's is famous for its sausage, so my husband and I split a beef sausage link and have one half-sandwich each.

I'm still hungry. Perhaps I'm missing the point of this eating tour. I'm especially wistful because the server gave me a sample of brisket, and now I want more. Even 10-year-old Holden Platt of Minneapolis, who's here with his dining-editor dad, Adam, had brisket and sausage at Mueller's.

Holden boldly proclaims himself to be in an eating contest with the Roadfood tour's co-organizer, Marc Bruno of Philadelphia. Marc, an Aramark business-services exec, may have the edge as an experienced eater. He outweighs skinny young Holden by roughly 200 pounds.

Onward to Southside Market & Barbeque in Elgin, a large, modern place that traces its roots to 1882. I'm still pacing myself. We try a sausage apiece this time, wrapped in white bread, of course.

My husband succumbs to the free cherry pie being dished out by Bud "The Pieman" Royer of Royers Round Top Café. Bud's brought lots of pies – he has at least 10 kinds on his menu – plus half-gallons of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. The man is serious about pie: His café charges extra if you won't add ice cream.

The Roadfooders tuck in as if pie may be declared illegal tomorrow.


Siblings divided

En route to Lockhart, food is the sole topic, with many subtopics: hamburgers, fried chicken, ice cream, pizza ...

"I love barbecue," Barry says. "And I love going to dives. These are unique places to eat that we're visiting. And I'm just passionate about food."

Our first stop in the official Barbecue Capital of Texas is Smitty's, which used to be Kreuz Market. Siblings Nina Sells (who owns the building) and Rick Schmidt (the pit boss) split their partnership over a lease dispute in 1999. The result is twice as much Schmidt-style barbecue in Lockhart.

The original site didn't get to keep the name, but Nina did keep the original barbecue pits. Two of them burn in the floor, glowing like lava in Kilauea. It's hotter than the hinges of hell, even on a mild spring day. Fortunately, we Roadfooders get to eat upstairs in a room with air conditioning.

My diligent pacing finally pays off. I crave boneless prime rib, and we get some just before the restaurant runs out for the day: two slabs, an inch or so thick, served with sliced white bread and wrapped in butcher paper.

It's as melt-in-your-mouth decadent as any prime at a swanky steakhouse. A pound or so costs $15.95 here. You can wash it down with a glass bottle of ice-cold Frostie Root Beer.

Bud Royer trails the Roadfooders to Smitty's. He's an evangelist who'll hunt you down like the Hound of Heaven. "You need some pie, Miss," he coaxes, smiling as benignly as a culinary Buddha.


End of the trail

Last stop: Kreuz Market. Unfortunately, by now almost everyone is crying "ˇNo mas!" I'm near my limit, but from a quarter-pound of Kreuz brisket and a quarter-pound of "pit ham," I make a couple of half-sandwiches. Fab though they are, I just can't manage the last bite or two.

Back at the hotel, everyone hangs around the lobby for a while, getting books autographed and schmoozing with Jane Stern – who, we learn, is a fourth-generation master tarot-card reader.

"St. Louis has the weirdest food in the world," Jane tells us. "Like, brain sandwiches! And the 'St. Paul sandwich': egg foo yong on a hamburger bun."

We'll bet she's happy they came to Texas. Everyone else certainly seems pleased with the experience. Charlene Oaks, for one, says this was a weekend she'll never forget.

When the Roadfooders met for a home-cooking supper at Threadgill's the night before the bus tour, Charlene lucked into a seat at the Sterns' table. She discovered that Jane and Michael's conversational writing style translated into an easy rapport in person.

"I don't think I came off as too much of a stalker," Charlene says. "But having dinner at the same table with both Jane and Michael on Friday was probably about the coolest thing I've ever done.

"For me, it was like a conversation with an old friend."
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Unread 05-21-2008, 10:18 PM   #2
Derrick D
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Man that is so cool that's my kind of vacation.
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Unread 05-21-2008, 10:19 PM   #3
BBQ Grail
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I would love to take a week or two and tour Texas BBQ joints. What a treat.
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Unread 05-22-2008, 01:09 AM   #4
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if ya want take 2 of real texas just ask....these people have actually lost it (from there)& ya can do it yerself... ya just need mesquite,pecan,& foil.1/2 the battle is they have steele or brick rotisserie pits, ok- add mesquite & pecan w/ a dash oh white or scruboak for heat- pan roast the briskets-@2" bove the pan- 220 fer16 hrs per 18lb packer- soaked overnight in limes,worchy,white wine-or beer, then rubbed w/ salt & pepper before cooking
thats texas brisket- maybe a light dusting rub acros the top of comino-y-prickly pear 1/2 way through
thats cowboy style'
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Unread 05-22-2008, 01:12 AM   #5
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oops sorry- gotta do this1 for the king ranch cowboy cook & breakfast- just thought i'd share- did i mention the obligatory(ooh big word) d.o. cooks too ??
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Unread 05-22-2008, 09:59 AM   #6
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round rock donuts forgot about them YUMMO

thanks for posting this lived in austin for almost 10 yrs and sister is still there kinda miss the bbq
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Unread 05-22-2008, 02:39 PM   #7
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I made a day trip like this not long ago out of Houston when I was there visiting family. Hit Kruez (right before they moved to the new building), Louie Mueller's and Coopers all in one day. Lots of driving but I was full when I got back. Fun day.

Did something similar last week and drove over to Memphis from Knoxville for Memphis in May and caught Interstate BBQ for lunch and Rendezvous for ribs and supper. Good day.

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