Sydney Kramer: If there’s one
place known for its barbecue, it’s Austin, Texas. Joe Avella: And we’re here
for the brisket, the ribs, and probably the meat sweats. Sydney: I knew it was gonna
be good, but I didn’t know it was going to be this
good. I’m kind of speechless. Welcome to Austin. Joe: We’re going to four
of the best barbecue spots in Austin, Texas. Now, what do you think
we’ll be doing to measure the bestness of said barbecue? On this trip, we’re looking at
three main things when we’re talking about barbecue.
Joe: All right. We’re looking for bark.
Joe: Yep. We’re looking for tenderness.
Joe: Definitely. And we’re looking for juiciness. Joe: Yooooo. Sydney: So, you know,
there are a lot of things that go into barbecue, but those are the three main things we’re looking at. And we’re going to be trying brisket, obviously.
Joe: Definitely, yep. We’re trying the ribs.
Joe: Ooh, ribs. And the sausage, which is my favorite. Joe: All right, maybe
get a little coleslaw or potato salad or beans
in the mix, please? Sydney: Mac ‘n’ cheese, maybe. All right, we’re going to Louie
Mueller first, so let’s go. Joe: Let’s do it. I thought you said go this way! Louie Mueller has been
smoking some of the best barbecue in Texas since 1949. Sydney: Located in Taylor,
Texas, many people refer to it as the “cathedral of smoke.” Wayne Mueller: Central Texas
barbecue is very unique. We use offset smokers; we
use a lot of post oak wood. But we’re really beef-centric. It’s that combination,
utilizing convection heat rather than radiant heat, that creates a cooked meat
that doesn’t have to be chopped, sauced, and bunned; it can actually be sliced out,
similar to, say, prime rib. It’s sort of that
engineering and technology that has allowed brisket to become sort of the calling card of
Central Texas barbecue. Customer: It’s the best barbecue in Texas. The first time I ate
here, I had a sausage, first time I ever had barbecue, I bit the sausage, squirted all over me. Best sausage I ever ate,
best brisket I ever ate, I’m gonna come here until I hit the dirt. You get all that? Wayne: What makes great barbecue? Great food, great
atmosphere, great service. As soon as you walk in, not
only are the optics there, but your sense of smell is
being overwhelmed by smoke, different types of fats
that are being cooked, rendered, and emanating from our pits. For our small Central Texas
meat-market tradition, it’s really about the
beef, it’s about the smoke, it’s about the simple seasoning, and it’s about the love that goes into it. Sydney: Everyone says it’s,
like, their dad’s favorite. It’s, like, old-school,
classic Texas-style barbecue. Joe: I just want to get in the meat. When he was talking with the
interview, all this meat, just salt and pepper, right? Sydney: Yep. Joe: I’ll go pre-sauce. Sydney: Yeah, I’m gonna go no sauce, ’cause that’s just the way it should be. Both: Mm. Sydney: Mm-hmm. Joe: It’s amazing how
much flavor just the salt and the pepper can bring out of this meat. Sydney: It’s like brisket candy, almost. Joe: Yeah. Sydney: The sausage I am so excited for. I love beef sausage. Joe: Whoa. Sydney: Sausage is the
sleeper of barbecue. People need to realize it’s not grocery-store sausage. It’s far from it. It’s amazing. The casing has this
really nice snap to it. And that’s, like, what I look
for in sausage, specifically. You’re going to get food all
over your shirt during this. Joe: No, I’m not!
Sydney: Yes, you are. Joe: No, I’m not! [laughing] One thing we discovered
is that Louie Mueller is one of the few places
that serves beef ribs every single day. Sydney: Yeah, most places only serve them on the weekends. Joe: Look at this. How
beautiful does that look? That looks so tender; it’s so soft. Sydney: And I know I’m not
supposed to play with my food, but how can you resist? Joe: That’s too big of a piece. Oh, well. Mm. Sydney: Do you see the
beauty and the majesty that’s involved in this process? I’m obsessed with barbecue. This is stop No. 1, and I don’t know how we’re going to top this. Joe: I can’t imagine the other brisket being better than this. Sydney: Should we have some
potato salad for dessert? Joe: Yeah. Another day, another barbecue joint. Sydney: This time, it’s
Micklethwait Craft Meats, right in the heart of Austin. Joe: All right, we are on
our way to Micklethwait? Sydney: Micklethwait. Joe: Micklethwait. Sydney: There is an H,
but it’s Micklethwait. Joe: It’s completely
outdoors. It’s kinda hot. Sydney: Hot as h—. Joe: Yep. But some say it is the sleeper-hit best BBQ in
Austin, so we have to go. Sydney: Yep, we’re gonna do it. Crew’s in the back. Joe: Yep, you guys hungry? Conner Blake: Yeah. Customer: We’re here ’cause
our friends brought us here to celebrate my birthday. This is tremendous. It’s incredible. It’s so good. So good. Joe: I’m not sure Sydney and I were ready for the heat when we got to the trailer. Sydney: I’m, like, sweating more. The meat sweats are happening. Joe: Yeah. Could you
hand me a napkin, please? Sydney: Let’s do a little
dab. It’s a schvitz. Tom Micklethwait: You just sweat it. It gets hot in the pit,
130 degrees in the summer in there, so. Texas
summer. You get used to it. I think the defining thing
that I really believe you cannot have good barbecue without is cooking with wood. To me, that’s, like, the
one thing, is if you, you say you’re not cooking with wood, then it’s probably not, I
don’t think it’s gonna be good. Sydney: Obviously, Tom and his team use post oak for their barbecue. Joe: And while they have the standard brisket, ribs, and sausage, they also have a lot more. Sydney: We’re talking beef-cheek barbacoa, smoked chicken, and pork shoulder. Joe: And don’t forget the sides. They have everything from
cheesy grits to Frito pie, to healthier options like kale
coleslaw, roasted beet salad, and, who cares, it
doesn’t have cheese on it. Sydney: OK. Joe: Let’s eat. Sydney: Let’s start with brisket. And what’s funny about the
brisket that I’ve noticed is that you really don’t even need a fork; it just kind of, like, falls apart. Do you see? Joe: Oh, wow, look at that. Wow.
Sydney: Whoa. Joe: It’s so tender. Sydney: You know what I like about it is that it’s not super salty; the bark is perfectly seasoned. Joe: It’s so subtle that
the fattiness of the meat that’s melted all
together, just gives, like, this creamier taste. Sydney: Sausage? Joe: Yes. Sydney: OK, there’s two kinds. Joe: Which ones do you want to do? Sydney: Tex-Czech. Joe: What’s that? Sydney: I think it’s, like,
a mix of beef and pork? Joe: Oh, OK. Sydney: It’s a mix of beef and pork. Joe: Whoa. Sydney: Great casing. Joe: The snap on that casing.
Sydney: Yeah. Snap’s amazing. I like the mix of beef and pork, honestly. Adds extra flavor. Joe: Absolutely. Sydney: OK, so these are pork ribs. Joe: I know I normally do beef,
but they have the pork ones, and, like, I can’t, like,
stop looking at them. Like, every time I look, I’m just like, my mind is like, ribs right there. I’ll take this one because
I was touching it before. Sydney: Perfect, thank you. Thanks for being super considerate. So tender. So much flavor. I know that everyone gets the beef rib, but I love pork spare
ribs. They’re so good. Joe: These are terrific.
I had to sauce it. Sydney: You gnaw on yours weird. Joe: How am I supposed to eat it? Sydney: I don’t know, it
just looks, like, gnawed on. Joe: Boom, boom, boom, it’s like, I eat my ribs like a corn on the cob. Sydney: I have to explain to
Joe how to eat food sometimes. Joe: No, you don’t! I got this, see? See, this is how you eat a rib. I don’t know where
they’re getting this meat, but it’s absolutely fantastic. Sydney: The meat store. Joe: Yeah. Sydney: I like these pickles, too. Joe: All yours. Sydney: They’re thick. Joe: We actually about to
go to the Franklin one, but the Uber driver just told
us, like, here is awesome. And then he just brought us here, and then we really enjoy it. Joe: Well, that is the perfect segue into our next spot, Franklin Barbecue. Sydney: The restaurant is
legendary for its lines, which can last for over three hours. Joe: Are you kidding me, we’ve got to wait in line this long?
Sydney: I preordered, don’t worry.
Joe: Oh, goodness. Sydney: I’ve never waited
in this line. It’s like, I’ve been to Austin X amount
of times; I can’t do this. Joe: Yeah, not happening, no way. I’m looking forward to
how this food tastes. Sydney: I’m lukewarm on it. Joe: Yo, I gotta get a tank top. Sydney: You’re flying? Joe: Are you taking that to the airport? Customer: Oh, yeah.
Sydney: Oh, my God. Customer: Yeah, I’m bringing it to my team back in Seattle, Washington. Sydney: Wow. Customer: The most delicious rib. Literally falling off
the bone, as you can see. It’s definitely worth it. Sydney: We should’ve brought beer. Joe: Yeah, we should’ve. I don’t know, maybe it’s,
like, a Texas thing, or, like, an Austin thing,
but they’re, like, tailgating, waiting for barbecue. Sydney: Yeah, I mean, I think
that’s the whole thing, right? It’s like, you know you’re going to wait, so might as well bring
some beers and hang out and, like, make it fun. Joe: All right. After all that waiting, we finally got our food. Sydney: But there was just one problem. So, you can’t eat the to-go orders at Franklin’s, apparently. Joe: But, you can them in your hotel pool. Sydney: Yes. Joe: We think. [laughing] Sydney: This is, like, the
most legendary barbecue in Austin, I think. I mean, I didn’t want to like it. Joe: Yeah. Sydney: You know? Joe: With all the waiting, totally come into this
with a negative attitude, like, oh you think you’re so great ’cause everyone’s waiting in line? Let’s see how great it is. That is great. Sydney: It is. It’s just the
right amount of everything. The right amount of fat,
the right amount of bark, it’s amazing. Joe: I gotta go for a rib.
Sydney: Let’s rib. Rib it up. Joe: I’m in these ribs. Whoa, that’s really flavorful. Joe: It’s perfectly
tender; it’s falling apart, but it’s not, like, sopping wet. Sydney: Mm-hmm. It tastes rich, somehow. Uh-oh. Ah. Bees. Joe: [kissing rib] Thank
you. Thank you, Franklin’s. Sydney: Moving on to the sausages. These are the most, like,
smoky-looking sausages I think we’ve seen, honestly. The rest of them have been…aah! Putting that in the end. Joe: I’ve heard of a beehive
hairdo, but this is ridiculous. Sydney: You have barbecue
sauce on your face. Joe: So what? You have bees in your hair. Sydney: It looks more like beef jerky than it does a sausage. You know? Joe: Not to be putting
anything down right now, but of the sausages we’ve
had, that isn’t my favorite. I like the snap to it. I don’t want to say dry, but
it’s, like, a little tough. Sydney: It’s got a very distinct flavor. It’s unlike the other brisket we’ve had, and I think if we were
to put it in a lineup with some other food, you would know. Joe: Look how jiggly that is. Sydney: Killing it.
Joe: Yeah, dude. Good call on this one. Hey, you wanna go jump in the pool? Sydney: Yeah, go for it. Finally, it’s over to LeRoy and Lewis for some less traditional smoked meats. Joe: They stand out among
barbecue spots in Austin by serving pulled pork
with crispy chicharrón and adding kimchi alongside brisket. Customer: It’s really
juicy, really tender, love the way they cook it. Their sides are really awesome. I mean, I feel like barbecue is, like, one of those, like, sacred things, but they’re trying to
do new stuff with it. Evan LeRoy: Growing up in
Texas, and central Texas specifically, barbecue is a big thing. I eat a lot of barbecue.
I like barbecue a lot. I want to eat it as much as I can, and I want to feel good
about the stuff I’m eating, the ranches I’m supporting; we do that with our business. We buy everything from Texas, from local, sustainable ranches, and just try to really push the boundaries on what we can call barbecue. Sydney: Often, sourcing
sustainably means not always having standard barbecue
staples on the menu, but that just keeps things interesting for Evan and his team. Evan: Without even looking at the menu, they’ll just order brisket and ribs and jalapeño cheese sausage
and coleslaw and potato salad and beans and all the stuff we don’t have. But as soon as we carve
them off a little piece of the beef cheek, as soon as
we give them a little piece of the pulled hog with
the crispy skin on it, they’re in, man. They’re in. Sydney: We do not have ribs here. Joe: They don’t have ribs? Sydney: No ribs.
Joe: Why not? Sydney: They only source from local farms and places that raise meat sustainably, and perhaps they can’t
get the ribs they want? Joe: Fair enough, fair enough. Sydney: Yeah, I mean, I appreciate that, I respect that, it’s 2019. Joe: Good for them. Sydney: I think the break from tradition, for maybe the younger
generation, is exciting. Joe: What do I do first? Brisket? Sydney: Brisket, yeah. Mm-hmm. Joe: Whoa.
Sydney: Whoa. Joe: I can already notice
the difference in the texture of this brisket than the
other ones that we’ve had. Especially the bark is
the crispiest, maybe? Which I love. Sydney: The fat is not
as distinct on one part or the other; I feel like it’s
got, like, a nice marbling and, like, fattiness all the way through. Joe: And what is this? Sydney: This is the beef
cheek, should we try that? Joe: Yeah, let’s do some cheek. Let’s work together. Sydney: Yes, thank you. Joe: Whoa. Whoa, that’s incredible. I’ve noticed that all of these meats, the best meats we’ve had have
somehow been defying physics, where they’ve been really
juicy and really tender, yet really put together and
not falling apart, not sloppy. No clue on how they do it, but. Sydney: Well, I think the
key is that you have to let it rest, and that lets
the juices kind of, like, fall back into the meat, ’cause if you slice something
open right when it’s finished cooking, all that
juice just falls right out. So resting is key; that’s
why you see everybody wrapping the meats, and
then they unwrap them and slice for service. Joe: I want to try the sausage. Sydney: Yeah, me too. Joe: Oh man, the snap. The snap! You’re so right, you’re so on the money with sausage having to
have that really good snap. Sydney: This is almost like crispy snap. It’s not like bounce
back; it’s like crunch. You know what we’re missing
out on is this kimchi. Joe: I’ve never had kimchi with barbecue. Sydney: I love the pickles and the kimchi. It cuts through the
richness of what’s going on on this plate. Let’s talk about this
pork, because this skin? Like… [crunching] that’s crunchy. I love this pork so much because
I’m tired of eating beef. Joe: And now it’s time to
determine the best of the best. Sydney: You know, we’ve had a lot of really delicious barbecue. I am full of barbecue. I
am sweating from the meat. Joe: And the insane humidity
that’s out here, it’s so hot. Sydney: The humidity, too. Joe: We gotta pick. Sydney: Let’s do it.
Joe: Let’s go. I can see your thing, hide it. Both: Three, two, one. Joe: Whoa. Sydney: Wow. Joe: I can’t believe it. Sydney: Is that an X or a T? Joe: T, it’s him going off the board. And I’m pretty sure I spelled that wrong. Sorry, Micklethwait’s. Sydney: OK, you know
what, this is my No. 2. Joe: Really? Sydney: Yes. I mean, look, this is OG. It was so good, the brisket was great, they had the beef rib E! Very! Day! the beef rib. Nobody else does that! They
all only do it on the weekend. Joe: All right. Sydney: I respect the beef
rib every day of the week. Joe: Right. Sydney: Everything about
that place just screamed perfect Texas barbecue to me. Joe: Sure, sure. What I liked the most about Micklethwait is they did everything great and they put their own little spin on it, but they didn’t reinvent the wheel; they just had their own specific way, and that to me elevated everything. I think with Micklethwait, altogether, everything just worked so perfectly. I’m, like, dreaming about that brisket. Sydney: Here’s what I’ll
also say about Louie Mueller. The sausage: all beef. Joe: Yeah, good point. Sydney: Everything had
its own great element, but I think, overall,
Louie Mueller. All beef. Texas. Best barbecue. Joe: So, I’m gonna go
ahead and fold and waffle and say that Louie Mueller was the best barbecue in Austin, Texas. Sydney: Look, Micklethwait’s
great, Franklin’s is great, LeRoy and Lewis is great,
they’re all delicious, but I think this is the best. Joe: I’m a city slicker;
I’ll say whatever it takes to get out of a sticky situation. Sydney: All right, well,
let’s go to the airport. Joe: OK, bye. Just look at this beautiful Texas landscape. Blue skies. Yeah. Supposed to get rain… Alright now we’re old people
talking about the weather so…