Texas BBQ Tour
Until I got to Texas I’d never eaten ribs. I don’t really like eating meat that’s on a bone, so it’s not something I went out of my way to find. Barbeque is pretty hard to escape in Texas though, so after we’d sampled the chuckwagon version at Stillwell’s, we tried Rudy’s in San Antonio. Rudy’s is a chain, and oddly some of the locations have a gas station attached. We went to the original location in Leon Springs, just west of San Antonio. (Where I should add that the houses are huge, proper Texas gigantic and possibly either based on Caesar’s Palace, or St Peter’s in Rome.) The original Rudy’s had a gas station attached, so that’s why they based some of the later offshoots on the original building. It seats about 100 people inside, and has patio seating as well. We got a half chicken, some ribs, the famous creamed corn, a peach cobbler, 2 bottles of Shiner, some beans and what was probably half a loaf of bread. (were we supposed to say when?) All of it was delicious, even the creamed corn, though it wasn’t something Paul would normally eat, and even the cobbler was top notch. The chicken was insanely tender. I regret not getting another half chicken to go. And also another cobbler. Not a fan of the bbq sauce, it was a bit thin.
There were about 2000 bags of white bread behind the counter to service the insatiable need for something to sop up the bbq sauce.
Our next stop on the Texas bbq tour was in Austin, at Iron Works. You may be familiar with this place if you’ve been to SXSW. It’s in a large shack that looks like it’s been there forever just around the corner from the convention center. The pork ribs were better here than at Rudy’s, but the chicken and beans from Rudy’s were better in my opinion. The pecan pie was really good, and I tried, and will never again go near, that abomination of a soda called Big Red. It’s basically bubblegum, and do not, for the love of god order this as your only beverage. Get a strong beer as well to wash the flavor away. The bbq sauce was better here than at Rudy’s.
Our third stop was at the original Salt Lick which is just west of Buda, where we were staying, and about 20 minutes southwest of Austin. This place is really well known in Texas. The restaurant is a building that would never pass code in California. I’m pretty sure there’s a load bearing oak tree, as well as lots of single pane glass, low ceilings, kinda weird ventilation, etc. The food, however was incredibly good. They have turkey that I wish I could replicate for thanksgiving, and I’m not that big of a fan of turkey. The ribs, chicken and beans were all standouts. The slaw and potato salad were light, and not full of mayo, and the slaw had a nice sesame flavor to it. (The founders wife was from Japan.) The pecan pie we got to go had a nice butterscotch flavor to it, and the crust appeared to be handmade, and was nice and flaky. There might have been actual butter involved, which is impressive. The bbq sauce here was my favorite.
So there you go. In the window between the Texas bbq tour and the Louisiana fried chicken tour I’m eating nothing but salad.
Rudy’s “Country Store” and BBQ 24152 west IH 10 San Antonio, TX 78257
Salt Lick BBQ 18300 FM 1826 Driftwood, TX 78619
Iron Works BBQ 100 Red River St Austin, TX 78701