Brown's Bar-B-Que Review (Austin, TX)
A few weeks ago the Austin Eater held a survey for voters to decide the best BBQ in the Austin area. The winner? Brown's Bar-B-Que, with a plurality of 28% of the vote. While we had heard of Brown's before, it hadn't been on our radar as one of the best places. Obviously we needed to see what all the fuss was about.
Brown's is a trailer located on South Lamar in the parking lot of Corner Bar. They apparently have a deal worked out where you can get a free plate Sunday afternoons if you have a $10 bar tab. But Scott and I get there late Saturday morning so no drinking (I don't even think the bar is open). They have a good selection of meats here, as well as two and three meat plates. No prices on the plates. You tell them how much you want and it is based on weight. We get 2 three meat plates, and will be trying brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and turkey.
(Scott's comment: For those navigating by visual landmarks, it's literally right in front of the place called Corner Bar, look for the Chase ATM where South Lamar intersects with Heather Street and West Mary.)
Sausage: The sausage is a beef sausage. It has an excellent flavor, with some nice smoke and a decent amount of spice. Going by taste alone it is excellent. However, it does lack in consistency. There's no snap in the casing (mine fell apart on the second bite) and it is loaded with grease (by the end it is actually pooling on the plate). Again, it tastes good but is lacking in texture. They have a limited pit setup (at least onsite from what we saw) and this may be a limitation of the facilities. Scott and I both score it a 7.0/10.
Beef Ribs: They do them small but tender here. From the flavor it appears a wet rub goes on at some point in the process. The smoke flavor is lighter than other meats, but there's a good spice flavor on mine. Scott feels the spice is a little light on his but the meat speaks for itself. Scott scores 7.5/10. I score 8.0/10.
Pulled Pork: The pulled pork has a strong smoky flavor, with an underlying sweetness and a hint of spice. Flavorwise this is one of the better pulled porks I've had, and Scott likes the flavor as well. However, there's a lot of fat mixed in and it is very greasy as a result. If they could reduce the grease content by about 50% this would be a 10. As is, we both score it 8.0/10.
Brisket: The brisket (Moist of course) is extremely tender. It has a nice smoky flavor (which is dominant), with mild notes of salt and pepper underneath. The fat is well-rendered and they serve nice thick slices. We both agree we'd like a little more pepper. Scott scores it 8.25/10 and I score it 8.5/10.
Pork Ribs: Like the beef ribs it tastes like a wet rub was used at some point in the process. There's a light smoke flavor but it is complemented by some very nice spices and just a touch of heat. The ribs are juicy and tender with a nice crust, and there's a good amount of meat on the bone. We both score it 8.5/10.
Turkey: The turkey is tender and juicy. It has a light smoke flavor, but a very nice spice flavor. It is very well seasoned, and the flavor goes all the way through. This is really good. We both score it 9.0/10.
Brown's has definitely put together an impressive resume of BBQ. Is it the best in Austin? Scott and I discussed this. We decided that we personally would not say so, but we could see why it won the vote. It's excellent BBQ, reasonably priced, and reasonably located.
Just a note: the parking situation appears extremely limited. If there's any line at all you'll probably be parking somewhere else and walking over.
Is it worth a visit? Definitely.
Is it worth a trip? Again, absolutely. The BBQ is excellent, and it's one of the better priced places in the area.
-Tom & Scott