Resting on Barton Springs just off South Lamar, Green Mesquite BBQ and More has been “smoking the good stuff” since 1988. And it’s not just a clever, colorful name: the stools at the bar to the left of the entrance, plus all the seats and booths – not to mention the awning outside – feature some amount of forest green coloring. The restaurant is also straightforward in its specializes of all things barbecue. Diners can dig into brisket, pulled pork, sausage and other traditional meats – but it’s the signs intriguing “more” that often keeps customers coming back. Sometimes, it’s a Green Mesquite cheese steak taco basket, made up of two ribeye tacos with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and pico de gallo. Other times, customers call for a po’ boy, bowl of jambalaya or chef’s salad. There’s a little bit of everything found inside Green Mesquite.
Barbecue in Texas is serious business, and locally-owned Iron Works BBQ has some of the best brisket and dry-rub meat in the state. The downtown building, originally an iron shop that has now been designated a historical landmark, is an easy walk from the excitement of Sixth Street. It's also a magnet for local and out-of-town celebrities, many of whom can be found chowing down at the next picnic table over. Iron Works also offers local catering and a "BBQ Express" service that provides shipping of ready-to-eat feasts. It's not just an Austin phenomenon: between press attention and word of mouth, foodies worldwide try to recreate Iron Works’ recipes, often using the same signature sauces and seasonings that the company sells on site.
At Bone Daddy's, they do things the old fashioned way: pit-smoked meat and Southern-style barbecue sides. Start off a rib-sticking dinner with a pile of marinated and smoked Messy Wings or tortilla chips with smoked bacon and roasted red pepper queso. For the main course, meats collide in such featured entrees as beer can chicken, pork spare ribs, baby back ribs, and chicken fried steak. Or, if you've just got to go your own way, you can. Dinner platters can be designed from the plate up, with meat choices including brisket, pulled pork, turkey, and sausage. Make it a complete meal with sides such as classic macaroni and cheese, Roadhouse Spuds, and Skillet Beans and an ice-cold beer to wash it all down.
Smoldering post oak saturates Stubb's house-smoked meats with a complex bouquet of flavors, liberating mouthwatering aromas to surf through the air and into eager olfactories. The menu is a carnivore's concerto of mouthwatering pork ribs ($11.95) and beef brisket ($11.95). Nestle into a warm heap of pulled pork like a drowsy Paula Deen with the Bar-B-Q plate, which flanks a choice of meats with homemade sides such as fried okra and mashed sweet potatoes ($11.95). Desserts such as banana pudding ($3.95) are available to punctuate saucy meals.
Just a touch crooked, the timbers that hold up New Braunfels Smokehouse's awning impart both a rustic and timeless look, which hearkens back to the smokehouse's 1940s beginnings. The Dunbar family bought five local ice plants including one in New Braunfels that formerly housed a brewery. With limited storage options, farmers brought their meats to the ice plant for refrigeration. Then employee Benno Schuennemann had an idea: he'd help the farmers preserve their meats even longer by curing and smoking them using old German recipes. As word grew of the smoked meats coming from the icehouse, the Dunbars found a whole new business on their hands. They added a restaurant in 1952, and by the 1960s, they fielded smoked-meat orders from across the United States.
Today, the Dunbars continue running New Braunfels Smokehouse from a new location, producing hickory-smoked beef, chicken, pork, and turkey using Benno's methods at their USDA-inspected facility. They also bake their own bread each day, plus insist that their chefs craft every side from scratch and smith every utensil by hand. The restaurant surrounds visitors in rustic style with decor that incorporates old-barn siding and knotty-wood paneling—many of the materials salvaged from the original smokehouse. After savoring meals ordered from the counter, visitors can peruse the country store for sausages and other packaged meats fresh from the smokehouse.
When the New York Times highlighted the ribs, brisket, pork, and sausage at Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, it called the feast a "life-changing experience." That's just one press mention from a veritable briefcase full of articles that vouch for the barbecue destination's food. The menu isn't complicated: it catalogs 15 core barbecue meats as well as apple, blackberry, peach, and pecan cobbler. On the side, servers bring beans, corn on the cob, whole baked potatoes, or salad tossed into a bowl by a major league pitcher.