Much-belated report (LONG):
Maybe I should’ve started another thread for this, but here goes:
I came across this thread again, after I had already decided I was too embarrassed to post about my January Texas BBQ run – you’ll soon see why: I checked into my San Antonio hotel early afternoon, immediately picked up my rental car, and headed for La Barbecue in Austin, as I’d heard so many raves about it. Except I couldn’t even get through to La Barbecue on the phone to find out how long the wait would be. Made a spur-of-the-moment decision to try Stiles Switch instead (also highly regarded by Texas Monthly). I’d checked Google Maps a few days earlier, (late in the evening) and it indicated that it would be a 75 min. drive to Austin. OK, I can live with that. Getting on the freeway, I noticed that Waze predicted over an hour and a half, and I was immediately slowed down by a traffic jam. Stubborn me, I continued on. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get there. I’d forgotten that it was Friday afternoon. Brilliant, huh?
Stiles Switch was great old-school BBQ (both the brisket and the hotlink), and would have been worth the trip, had it been the expected two-and-a-half-hour round trip. Ironically, Hwy 35 was so crowded on the way back to SA., Waze instead routed me close to BBQ Central, i.e. Lockhart and Luling. Of course I had just eaten (not that I should have let that stop me) – but I’d already been to Black’s on a previous visit, and I figured even if Kreuz was open, my chances of getting brisket in the evening were slim anyway. Also, I’d had enough driving for the day as it was.
Later that evening I walked over to my favorite near-the-hotel place, Boudro’s, where I had a reliably good piece of grilled fish with a nice sauce and vegetables. I repeated this over the next few days, as the conference hours were long and it was convenient. I’d returned my rental car anyway, and besides, one BBQ quest was enough for this trip. Being from Vegas, I don’t get fresh fish often, so it worked out nicely.
On my last day in SA (conference was over), my flight didn’t leave until early evening, so I caught an Uber over to the Pearl Brewery for an early lunch at The Granary, where I ordered a quarter-pound each of fatty and lean brisket. The difference was amazing – the lean brisket wasn’t tender and not very flavorful – not even worth finishing. The fatty brisket, however, was absolutely excellent in all ways – it was as if the fatty and lean were from two different places! I should point out that I’ve found the lean brisket best at some BBQ places (Maple Block, for example), so you can never tell… Mediocre sides of German potato salad and burnt end baked beans. Wandered around for a few hours, and had an excellent early dinner of redfish with Gulf crab mac & cheese at Southerleigh before picking up my bags and heading out to the airport.
Just as a footnote, my original plan was to get up very early the Saturday morning after arrival, drive up to Lexington to get in line for Tootsie Tomanetz’s famed brisket, and then drive back to start work at 1 PM or so. That would’ve been fine, except my clients added a 10 AM meeting to the schedule. I’ll just have to catch Snow’s on another trip.
Photos: 1. Brisket and hotlink at Stiles Switch; 2. Fat and lean brisket at The Granary; 3. Redfish with Gulf crab mac & cheese at Southerleigh (sorry, I started on #3 before taking the photo – it’s a bad habit, I know)