Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review of Stiles Switch House BBQ - Austin, TX

Scott and I decided to stop there for lunch today after running an errand. It’s on Lamar a little south of Airport Drive. Atmosphere is decent. There are a lot of pictures like these on the wall…

Interestingly, pits are not visible from where we came in or anywhere inside.


I’ll order some to go, but Scott and I both get combo platters so we can share. Scott gets brisket, turkey, and pork spare ribs. I get pork loin, sausage (both spicy and mild), and a beef rib. We both get pinto beans and mac & cheese for sides. We will be sharing the meats.

Note: The score is based on how well I think they do that particular item compared to how well that item can be done. It is not in comparison to other items on the menu.  

Sausage: Sausage has a decent flavor, is moist, and has a nice casing snap. Mild is actually a little sweet. I’m not a fan of the spicy, but that’s a personal preference. It’s a solid 6 on a 1-10 scale.  

Brisket: Decent flavor, a nice bark, and we can see a smoke ring. It’s not dry. Could be a little more flavorful, but they did give him lean brisket (he was not asked if he wanted lean or fatty). Overall, 7 out of 10.  

Pork Ribs: Have a good flavor and a nice crust. They taste great. However, the meat to bone ration is some of the worst I’ve seen on ribs in a while. Not sure if this is the norm for them or if Scott just ended up with the runts of the litter. Overall, 7 out of 10 only because there’s so little meat on them. 

Beef Ribs: The large beef ribs again (sorry for the poor picture). They are nice and tender. Flavor is good, if not outstanding. A solid 8 out of 10.  

Pork Loin: Excellent. One of the best I’ve tasted. It has that balance of smoke and salt that good smoked pork should This is a solid 9 out of 10.  

Turkey: I saved the best for last. There are two mistakes it is all too easy to make with turkey: too dry and too salty. Stiles Switch House has done neither. It is perfectly smoky, just the right balancy of saltiness, and is perfectly tender. I don’t think I’ve ever had better smoked turkey from a BBQ place. 10 out of 10.  

Overall, this was a good visit. We’re adding two new categories to the reviews, so here they are: 

Is it worth going to? Just what it means. Is the BBQ place in question even worth bothering with.  

In the case of Stiles Switch House, definitely yes. If you are in the area and looking for some good BBQ, it is worth checking out. Nothing was bad and some of it was absolutely excellent.  

Is it worth a trip? And by trip we mean traveling more than an hour one way SOLELY for the purpose of getting their BBQ. This category doesn’t apply if it is less than an hour, or if you are combining the trip with a visit anywhere else for any other reason.  

(Obviously this is subjective depending on what is available in your area. My ranking in this area is heavily weighted based on the scoring of the trifecta (brisket, pork ribs, sausage). But since we are primarily doing the Austin/Hill Country area, I work under a default assumption of 1-2 places already within an hour of you that would be worth the trip if they were an hour or more away). 

Because the trifecta were actually the lowest scoring items of the bunch, I’d have to say it’s not worth a trip (unless you really love smoked pork loin or turkey). Most people seeing this review probably have a place that scores higher on the trifecta within an hour of them.  

Bottom line: great place to visit if you’re in the area or not that far away. Not worth an extended trip just for their BBQ unless you are a huge turkey/pork fan.



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