Friday, July 3, 2015

Louie Mueller's BBQ Review (Taylor, TX) 

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Louie Mueller’s is in the heart of downtown Taylor, in an old building (maybe an old Firehouse?). It definitely has a rustic feel. The inside walls are covered with pictures. There’s always a wonderful smoky aroma. It can get overpowering during the summer since there’s no A/C, just fans. I decided to swing by today and pick up some lunch for my friend AJ and myself.  I should note that I first came here about 4 years ago with Al, Loni, Tish, and Scott, and have been a frequent customer since. 
(Al's comment: I remember it well. It smelled awesome, but goodness it was like the BBQ smoke cave!)

The wait is about 30 minutes (normal for a weekday at lunch time). I see the normal run of people, including a family from Houston who are visiting Austin, and stopped in Taylor because their daughter is named Taylor. We talk BBQ for a bit and I recommend the beef ribs. I get a chuckle when they are given their “tasting” (they don’t call it a sample) and I hear variations of “Oh my god”.
Incidentally, one thing I notice is that about half of the plates I see go past me have beef ribs on them. Not surprising as they are known for them here. Each one weighs about 1 ½ pounds.
At Louie Mueller's, the menu is 'old-school'
I place my order: ½ pound each brisket and turkey, 2 pork ribs, 4 links original sausage, ½ chicken, 1 beef rib, and ½ pint pulled pork. Note: There’s a miscommunication and I don’t get my pork ribs. As much my fault as theirs, as they did repeat the order back at the register and the ribs weren’t on it, and I missed it. I was not charged for them.

I also get to go back and take pictures of the pits. Jason verifies what I’d heard before: they only use salt, black pepper, and smoke for their flavoring. I leave and meet up with AJ.

 Pulled pork: This is nice and moist, if a little greasy. It has an excellent smoky flavor, and a nice peppery bite. I give it 8.0/10. AJ gives it 7.0/10, but he’s a self-admitted North Carolina pulled pork snob.

Brisket: Again, there’s a nice smoky flavor, and the pepper compliments it well. There’s an excellent bark on it, and the moist brisket is tender without being overly fatty. It’s one of the best I’ve had recently. 9.0/10. Interestingly, AJ only gives it 6.0/10, saying he thinks it is decent but not great.
Sausage: Nice peppery bite, and the smoke blends well with the beef. The casing makes a wonderful snap when you bite into it, but it’s tender and not chewy on the inside. It’s a little bit of a coarser grind then a lot of other places, but the flavor is excellent. I give it 9.0/10. While AJ thinks the flavor is OK, he doesn’t like the texture, saying it is too soft for him. He gives it 5.0/10.
Turkey: Juicy, tender, a nice smoky flavor with a peppery bite (I notice a theme…). This turkey is done right. I wish I had gotten more. I give it 9.0/10. AJ gives it the same (hey, we agree on something!). 

Chicken: I had this at home, so none for AJ. It’s smoky, tender, and tastes excellent even reheated. They’ve done it right. 10/10.
Beef Rib: I also had this at home. Even reheated, it has a nice peppery bark, good marbling, and an excellent smoky flavor. It’s the right amount of tender without being overcooked. 10/10.
I’ve always called myself a BBQ purist. Louie Mueller’s puts me to shame. With four ingredients (meat, smoke, black pepper, and salt), they manage to turn out one of the best BBQs in the area.
Wait… one of the best? With those scores why aren’t you calling it the best?!?
Because we’ve always maintained on this site that taste is subjective. An important thing to realize about Louie Mueller’s is that their method results in BBQ with very strong flavors of smoke and black pepper. I love it. But others may not. My wife is not a big fan of anything except the beef ribs, and AJ’s scores indicate he wasn’t quite as big a fan either. Usually my taste notes are explaining why my score might be lower than the average. In this case, it’s explaining why it might be higher.
Is it worth a visit? Absolutely. Unless you really dislike black pepper, everything here is excellent.
Is it worth a trip? Again, in my opinion yes. If you are willing to travel an hour or more for good BBQ then you need to try them at least once. You won’t be disappointed.