So, sadly we left Lockhart and headed towards Austin. When I first mentioned to Nancee that I wanted to go to Texas to seek out these BBQ bastions she expressed interest in wanting to eat at Stubb’s (www.stubbsaustin.com). I have seen Stubb’s BBQ sauce in stores (although I’ve never purchased it), and Stubb’s is a BBQ joint, so I heartily agreed. When we arrived in Austin we found Iron Works BBQ, first, because it was near our hotel. I had read a little about Iron Works and their “world renowned” BBQ and thought I might like to try it. It certainly radiated “old Texas” charm as it was a simple red tin barn. Nancee commented that their sign did say “real Texas BBQ,” but also commented that we had seen that on several BBQ establishments. I agreed. Funny, I kept thinking of the scene in “National Treasure” when John Voight, playing Nicolas Cage’s father, tells him that the clues are meaningless because they will only lead to OTHER clues which will lead to MORE clues with no end, or treasure, in sight. How long was I going to tromp around Texas searching for BBQ pulling Nancee along with me? I was enjoying myself, but I must admit that even I was starting to lose some steam.
Stubb’s. Stubb’s is located on Red River Street and is something of an Austin landmark. Not only do people go there for Mr. Stubb’s BBQ, but also for the outdoor live music venue directly behind Stubb’s. So on many night you can get a plate of BBQ, enjoy some cold beer and see a live show. Entertainment through the week runs the gamut–a recent listing featured Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters and mascara-core band Bullet For My Valentine. On Sundays they feature Gospel music, indoors, with brunch. This weekly event, with shows at 11 AM & 1 PM, has become so popular that it is best to call ahead for reservations: 512.480.8341.
Stubb’s was a lot more refined inside that I had imagined. This is not a bad thing although my original idea of Stubb’s did not feature hardwood floors and distressed, “shabby chic,” ceilings. I guess I was expecting something more rough-and-tumble and akin to a dive or hole-in-the-wall. Some of the best BBQ joints or “shacks” care little for appearances, it’s the BBQ that matters most, but in Stubb’s defense it was obvious that they took their BBQ and the establishment itself seriously. Mr. Stubbs takes his BBQ seriously as the sauce bottles on the tables states: “My life is in these bottles.” I was most struck by the large black-&-white photo showing Mr. Stubbs, wearing his distinct cowboy hat, at work tending a smoker in which one imagines brisket, pork ribs and turkey being slowly cooked to tender perfection. Three bottles of his sauce sat on the smoker if I remember correctly. Wow. To have been the one to have taken that photo and spend such intimate time with him.
Nancee ordered the pulled pork sandwich plate and I ordered pork ribs and brisket with cole slaw and some cornbread. Everything was excellent although I still believe Kreuz brisket to be the best because of its “melt-in-your-mouth” quality. Both with and without his famous sauce the meat was flavorful, although I could not truly discern what type of wood the meat was cooked over.
Hickory! It was hickory. I cheated and went to their website. I certainly need to further develop my taste-buds.
The ribs were very good and featured a slight rub which further enhanced the meat’s flavor and texture. I told Nancee that I would most definitely eat there again if she should choose to do so. Strangely, both Nancee and I thought that dessert would be good and I decided on the banana pudding. Oh, my…can you say, “delicacy”! Stubb’s banana pudding was some of the best, smoothest, creamiest banana pudding I had ever eaten. You could tell that it had not been frozen as the Nilla Wafers were still crunchy. You could tell they cared about their banana pudding–there was love in that recipe. I wanted to swim in it although Nancee thought that might be rather difficult. She’s so funny.
After our meal we walked down Red River Street which took us past Emo’s to 6th Street. Emo’s is a legendary venue and I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite bands, World Burns To Death, was playing there the following week a day after we were leaving! I missed them my previous visit to Texas by a day and I was missing them again by a day…I’ve still yet to see them…Maybe some day…
Following our walk we went to find Waterloo Records & Video (www.waterloorecords.com). Waterloo Records is much like Criminal Records (www.criminal.com) in Atlanta. In fact, both are members of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (www.cimsmusic.com). Waterloo caters to most everybody: CDs, DVDs, LPs (new & used), box sets galore, books, magnets and assorted miscellaneous junk. Most, if not all music styles could be found in their racks. They had some metal scattered throughout the store, but it was mostly larger label metal. It would have been nice to have found Nuclear Death’s “Bride Of Insect” on CD, they called Texas home, but I did not find it there. I was somewhat disappointed that they did not have the new World Burns To Death, “The Graveyard Of Utopia,” (neither CD nor LP), especially since World Burns To Death now calls Austin home, but I was able to find two John Zorn “Book of Angels” CDs, “Xaphan” and “Lucifer.” They did have a concentrated “Metal” vinyl section, but most of it was new and re-issued material that I either already owned or did not want. It is great to see that vinyl is making a comeback of sorts, but with rising oil costs, so go LP costs. Xasthur’s “Subliminal Genocide” 2xLP was retailing for $30! It came out on Hydrahead (www.hydrahead.com) so I imagine it’s a limited pressing. I don’t know, it is two LPs after all…
After Waterloo it was back to the hotel to relax. That was our Saturday and we made plans to eat lunch at Salt Lick BBQ (www.saltlickbbq.com) in Driftwood the following day, which was another renowned Texas BBQ establishment that I had not only researched, but that our diner friend at Rudy’s told us about.
[NEXT UP: SALT LICK…]