the austin adventure continued bright and early saturday. no rest for these young travelers, no siree! with only a short 36 hours left on this trip, we needed to make the most of it, and we did just that. erin, shawn, kyle, kari, and i made our way over to la barbecue for what would end up being maybe the best barbecue i’ve ever had in my life. we had wanted to go to franklin barbecue, as it is probably austin’s best-known bbq joint, but waking up at 6 a.m…..on a saturday….on vacation didn’t sound like the most appealing idea. plus, our uncle craig had already given us the inside scoop that he thought la barbecue was better than franklin’s (ooooh, quite a statement to make), so we took his advice.
only around since 2012, la barbecue has created quite a following for itself at the somewhat sketchy corner of east 1st street and brushy. this dirt yard hosts picnic tables under tents and umbrellas to shade you as you eat. the smoker is right there also, and you order, as you would expect, from a friendly cashier at a food truck. there wasn’t much of a crowd just yet, but as more folks started showing up, we decided we’d go ahead and create the line. we weren’t first, no, we left that to a group of younger twentysomethings that were drinking water out of previously full vodka bottles. rrriiiight. we got there about 9:30 and held down the fort as the rest of the crew arrived around 11 to hold some table space for us. when you’re traveling with 13, you’ve gotta be on top of it!
the texas morning was warming up nicely, so as we waited, we gladly took part in the free keg of beer that was being served up to the thirsty la barbecue patrons. just give ’em a tip and enjoy!
there was no sense in having everyone get in line individually and order, so shawn, kyle, kari, and erin took the lead to order for the whole bunch. what did we end up with, you ask? almost a pound of everything! yes, let’s see what we had here. a quart of the potato salad, a quart of spicy cole slaw, a quart of beans, three links of spicy sausage, one frito pie, a pound of pulled pork, a few pork ribs, a pound of fatty brisket, a pound of regular brisket, and a handful of white bread because, you know, no barbecue meal is complete without good ‘ole white bread.
when we were ordering, we were so kindly given a sample of the brisket. the gentleman pulled out a brand new parchment, and as he unwrapped it, a charred slab of meat peeked out between the folds. he cut off a few hunks for us to sample, and we all looked at each other with that thought “oh man, we’ve never had good brisket until this moment.” kyle took his bite and closed his eyes. he was quiet for a solid 15-20 seconds, and finally when we he finished, he opened his eyes with a smile and said something to the effect of, “i could die right now and not be unhappy.” that, ladies and gentlemen, is what should happen when people eat food.
as we grabbed utensils and waters, the girls got place settings put out, and we passed the trays among everyone, one tray down one side and the other down the the opposite. they don’t have plates here, so you’ll either be eating directly off the tray or off a piece of brown parchment paper. hey, whatever works!
the next hour or so was full of “mm’s” and “ooh’s” as we all got a taste of this austin staple. i can’t speak for the other end of the table (i mean, it’s a little tough to get reviews from 13 people all at once), but on our end, there were different takes on all we had eaten. we’ll start with the sides. the potato salad, from what i remember, was quite good, while the spicy coleslaw may have been a touch too spicy. i am, though, a spice wimp as many of you know, so if you, i don’t know, grew up in texas eating spicy food all your life, you’d probably be embarrassed for me. whatevs! now, let’s talk about the beans, and, just beans in general. i feel like beans get a bad rap around town because of their, ahem, after effect, but you know what? i’ll just say it, though: i like beans! i like refried beans on my tacos, i like black beans in my chipotle rice bowls, i like great northern beans in my chicken dinner, and i like baked beans in the summertime alongside some good barbecue. there, i’ve come out with it! and these baked beans at la barbecue were yummy. i liked them so much i wanted to ask for another helping but didn’t get the chance before the leftovers were chucked in the garbage. well, another time then, baked beans, another time. the summer season has just begun!
now let’s talk about the important stuff, the barbecue. the spicy sausage, as you can guess, wasn’t really up my alley. it actually looked quite red when you cut into it, and i gladly let phillip eat the other half of my hunk. i really liked the pulled pork and could not get enough of the pork ribs. what we all agreed on, though, was that the brisket truly was to die for. kyle and i had excellent brisket up in salt lake city, but this stuff wasn’t just out of this world; it’s like it was in another galaxy completely. to this day (a mere 14 days after having been there), i have dreams with slabs of brisket dancing around me, hunks of it jumping into my mouth as i savor each bite. hm, did this just get weird?