Hey, Jimmy Kimmel! Here Are SpareFoot’s Picks for Best Barbecue in Austin

By    March 13, 2014

Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo

On March 11, late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment featuring his trek with sidekick Guillermo to track down the best barbecue in Austin. That’s a tall order, to be sure.

Jimmy and Guillermo (pictured above) chowed down on some of Austin’s finest barbecue at four spots: Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats and John Mueller Meat Co. The duo porked out on brisket, ribs and other barbecued meats, with Guillermo grumbling at the final stop that he was stuffed.

In the end, Jimmy wimped out and picked all four barbecue joints as the “winner.” Here at SpareFoot, we aren’t wimpy when it comes to barbecue. We’re not afraid to say which barbecue spots we worship.

What follows, Jimmy (and we know you’re still in town), are our choices for the choicest barbecue in and around Austin.

Franklin Barbecue

Fanatics stand in the infamous line at Franklin Barbecue.

Worth the Wait?
The much-ballyhooed Franklin Barbecue received a little love in SpareFoot’s informal poll—along with one snarky comment. Judging by his remarks, I’m guessing that Michael Balagia, a member of our Business Development Team, isn’t a fan of Franklin Barbecue.

Balagia said that if I had inquired about the most Austin-y barbecue, the answer would be Franklin Barbecue.

“Nothing is more Austin than waiting in a parking lot like a jerk for four hours to get decent food because some other jerk told you it’s the cool thing to do,” Balagia said. “Plus, then you get to tell everyone else how amazing it was and how they ‘just have to go there!’ It doesn’t get more Austin than that.”

Fortunately, a friend of our CEO stood in the eternally long line at Franklin Barbecue on March 12 so she could deliver a gift to our office—a big pan of brisket. The brisket was devoured within minutes, and it’s no wonder. Franklin’s brisket is freakin’ amazing.

La Barbecue

Diners stuff their faces at La Barbecue.

‘To Die For’ Brisket
According to Michi Hu, a member of our Account Management Team, you’ll find the best brisket in Austin at La Barbecue. She said it’s “to die for. I dream about it in my sleep! It melts in your mouth and doesn’t require any barbecue sauce.”

Matt Schexnayder, a member of SpareFoot’s Marketing Team, also voted for La Barbecue as his favorite local barbecue spot.

“I checked out their trailer on South First recently, and after one bite, I knew that this was some amazing barbecue. The ribs, the sausage, the brisket—everything was delicious,” Schexnayder said.

James Goatcher, a member of our Development Team, threw his support behind Rudy’s. Goatcher said he’s fond of Rudy’s because it serves “lean,” “moist” and “cutter’s choice” brisket options.

Rudy's

Rudy’s serves three types of brisket.

“Also, the barbecue sauce at Rudy’s is outstanding—nearly drinkable! Their beans and cream corn are incredible—worth getting even if you don’t care for the meat offerings,” Goatcher said. “To top it all off, they have a wonderful sense of humor.”

Mario Hebert, a native of Canada, cast his patriotic vote for Potato-A, a Canada-inspired food truck. (We can’t blame Hebert for supporting his homeland.)

In praising Potato-A, Hebert said: “If you already tried that scrumptious combination of fries, curd cheese, barbecue pulled pork and sauce, you know this is one hard-to-beat opponent.”

A Smorgasbord of Choices
For the record, Craig Barrett, a member of our Paid Media Team, put these Austin barbecue joints on his “time is no object” list:

  • Franklin Barbecue.
  • John Mueller.
  • La Barbecue.
  • Micklethwait.

Barrett is hacked off that Kimmel featured Micklethwait on his show. “I was hoping this place would fly under the radar awhile,” he said.

Opie's

Opie’s Barbecue draws crowds from miles around.

Barrett’s other list—including two places near, but not in, Austin—takes into account price and wait time:

  • Kerlin BBQ in Austin. “This guy totally appeared out of nowhere and was cranking out bad-ass barbecue from day one. This is the new hotness. Expect them to blow up over the next few months. Go now, while they still give out free beer.”
  • Micklethwait. “Amazing meat and unique sausages.”
  • John Mueller.
  • Kreuz Market in Lockhart.
  • Opie’s Barbecue in Spicewood. “This is a no-B.S.-back-to-basics-get-lost-you-damn-hipster kind of place. I was totally blown away at how good the food was. Everything is solid and the beans are, surprisingly, a real standout as well.”

The Salt Lick

Many patrons at The Salt Lick order “family style” plates.

Away From Austin
Evan Huston, a member of our Development Team, applauded Opie’s for its true Texas barbecue.

“As soon as you walk in the door, that sweet, smoky aroma hits you as you are greeted by an employee who lets you choose your meat right out of the pit,” Huston said. “The brisket and ribs are outstanding. The jalapeño sausage and tater tot casserole are just ridiculous. They have free beans, too.”

Balagia, the Franklin’s critic, prefers The Salt Lick in Driftwood for satisfying his barbecue fix.

“It’s everything great about Central Texas—you sit outside with your friends, hang out, drink great beer that you brought and enjoy awesome food,” he said. “I recommend going ‘family style.’ You pay $20 and get a giant plate of meat, and when you’re running low, they just bring out another plate.”

Now, after reading this ode to barbecue, are you craving a giant plate of meat?

John is editor of The SpareFoot Blog. He first moved to Austin in 1999, when downtown Austin wasn't nearly as lively as it is today. John's loves include pizza, University of Kansas basketball and puns.

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