17 April 2006

The Search for Great BBQ Continues...

Proving once again that I need to stay more current on postings, it has now been over a month since I made my visit to Taylor, TX to lunch at Louis Mueller's BBQ. This is going to be a tough post because not only has a month passed, but I have since visited Luling City Market in Houston, TX and Dinosaur BBQ in both Rochester and Syracuse, NY. You'll also recall that I had just visited Kreuz Market just a few days prior, too, so I hope I don't confuse my BBQ tastebuds.

I started my trek north from Round Rock to Dallas with a detour about 15 miles east to Taylor. I felt like a complete mo-mo when I realized that I had driven past Louie Mueller's BBQ not once, but twice! You wouldn't think that a town as big as Taylor would be able to accommodate fine driving like that -- but, I even exceeded my own expectations this time.

Louie Mueller's is destination BBQ -- that which is worth driving X miles off the main highway to enjoy. Folks have been doing just that for quite some time, as Mueller's is legendary Texas 'Q.

The procedure at Mueller's is pretty much the same as the other Texas BBQ joints. Walk up to the counter, grab a tray, and tell the guy with the knife what you want to eat. I ordered a small portion of the beef brisket and a couple of ribs. The cutter hacked me off a sample piece of the crust (some folks call them 'burnt ends') to tide me over until I made it to the table. This reminded me of my favorite NY delicatessen, Katz's, where the cutter always offers up a sample taste. Here, a 1/4 pound of brisket, two ribs, a couple of slices of Mrs. Baird's white bread and a spackle-bucket sized iced tea run right around $9...considering the taste and the atmosphere, a true Texas-sized bargain.

The beef had a great exterior crust -- smoky, with a salt and pepper rub -- all the while maintaining a flavorful, pink interior with just enough fat to keep it flavorful and moist. The ribs were good -- thick and meaty, with a little bit of a spicy pepper kick. The styrofoam ramiken of sauce in the background is a thin, tomato-vinegar sauce, with just enough zest to add the right flavor to the meat. The sauce is light enough to add, without overpowering the intended taste of the meat. I am sure that it was not better than Kreuz, but it was definitely the second best 'Q I had in the last month -- and that actually says something.

One area where Mueller's excels is in decor. The aged wooden tables are adorned with an anique Listerine bottle filled with more of the delicious sauce, some hot sauce to kick up their own flavorings, salt, pepper, and an old Dr Pepper bottle filled with toothpicks. Trust me, you will use the toothpicks, especially if you order the ribs! The tables, themselves, are worthy of mention. Well, not the tables, but the collection of mismatched chairs. I LOVE places like this -- some folding chairs (my grandmother used to call them bridge chairs), some painted, some lacquered, some stained...all a true piece of Americana.

Adding to the scene is this cork board that sits on the wall to the right of the counter. The collection of business cards that are contained therein are a history unto themselves. Some of them looked so aged that they may have been left there when they were fresh off the first printing press. I left a Travelin' Man business card somewhere on there --so, if you make your way to Louie Mueller's, see if you can find me!

1 comment:

Dan said...

If you find yourself in Memphis, go to Rendezvous. To summarize it as briefly as I can, you will not regret it. Pay no mind to the back alley you walk through to get there, it's so worth it!