A hunk of brisket at VooDoo BBQ & Grill begins its journey suspended over a bed of pecan and oak logs. Coated in a dry rub of local spices, the meat slowly turns on a rotisserie rod for up to 16 hours, its skin crisping while the inside stays a warm pink. The chefs smoke all their beef brisket and pulled pork over logs from Louisiana-based trees to lend them the region's unique smoked flavor, even at the risk of confusing passing botanists. They lightly coat grilled sausages, chicken, and burgers in three signature sauces inspired by the state's Cajun recipes. To complement their menagerie of smoked and grilled meats, they sling a variety of southern sides such as corn pudding, greens, and potato salads. At each of the 13 locations, the aroma of roasting meat fills a space of dark-stained wood and wrought iron; dining rooms awash in a palette of reds, greens, and oranges buzz with the sounds of jazz and blues.
Silver Grill Cafe is a rustic refuge for savory Tex-Mex fare, succoring the famished masses with hearty dinner plates and breakfasts served all day. Elephantine though devoid of elephants, the menu touts golden-fried appetizers, meat-replete barbecue, and russian nesting burgers in sizes for all appetites. Pioneer your meal with a border-blurring appetizer of barbecue nachos, then settle down on a customizable three-meat plate with options such as turkey, ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and more. Breakfast options include the chorizo mexicano, which hosts enough eggs, spicy sausage, and tortillas to fill both an empty belly and a pair of ears seeking protection from the neighbor's early-rising rooster. Between bites, take advantage of free WiFi to look up new chewing techniques.
Buster's BBQ offers meaty morsels in flavorful smoke, cooking meats to tender perfection in owner Tim Cook's pecan-fired smoke pit. The dinner and lunch menu boasts a slew of carnivore-pleasing chow, including sliced or block-chopped beef brisket, garlic-stuffed pork shoulder, or skinless turkey smoked in mayonnaise and cracked black pepper (each $6.65 per half pound). Meats can arrive delectably displayed atop a sandwich ($5.99), as a platter with savory sides ($8.99+), or dressed up in fashionably fringed leather jackets.
Mann's menu is the work of owner Jim Mann, an artist whose medium is meat and whose canvas is your face. No-nonsense noshers can order meat by the pound—sausage ($11.99), brisket ($12.99), ribs of bovine ($9.09) or porcine ($12.99) origin, pulled pork ($12.99), and more. To keep a hand open for impromptu gong solos, have Jim slap some of that meat between ground-wheat slabs for a barbecue sandwich ($5.59) and side it with potato salad, turnip greens, or black-eyed peas ($2.59 for one serving, $4.99 a pint). Larger appetites have their choice of combo plate with two sides (two meats, $11.59; three meats, $12.99; four meats, $15.79; veggie plate, $7.59). Once your plate looks like a pig exploded on it and your mouth and clothes are gloriously slathered in barbecue sauce, potato salad, and flecks of cobbed corn, finish up your power lunch with a jumbo Texas sweet tea ($2.29) and banana pudding ($2.89), then go nail that job interview.
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.