Preface - I am new to Austin and, while I love BBQ, do not profess to be an expert nor have I tried all (or even 25%) of the joints in town.
That being said, I just had lunch at Artz Rib House on Lamar - http://www.artzribhouse.com/ - and had their Monday lunch special: Smoked Country Style Pork Ribs (2) with potato salad, cole slaw, pinto beans, and a pickle spear. I was informed by the Central Texas BBQ Association that Artz is famous for their country style ribs: (http://ctbbqa.org/membership/artz_rib...). They were right - as you might expect from such an official sounding organization.
The ribs were moist, not too fatty (though a certain amount of fat comes with the territory) and had what seemed like a 1/2" smoke ring (OK it was smaller that that, but was distinct and noticeable). The crust was well formed and absolutely delicious - no sauce needed...if you could resist it! The sauce was just right; spicy, smoky and flavorful. The side dishes were nothing to write home about, though the cole slaw was crunchy and tangy - but whose eating at a BBQ joint for the salad?
Service was poor but, again, who cares?! The atmosphere was perfect for a city BBQ joint, with just a hint of smoke lingering in the air, so you weren't sure if your glasses needed cleaning, or if the exhaust fan was, well, exhausted!
As I said, I've been to just a handful of BBQ places here in Austin (Rudy's, County Line, Stubbs, Smokey Joes, Salt Lick, Buster's), and a few more around the country (Wonderland Birmingham AL, Rendezvous Memphis, TN, Jack Stack KC KS, several others in NC, TN and GA). This was one of the best BBQ meals I've had. I would recommend someone go 30minutes out of their way to eat here. (this is my favorite method of rating restaurants - better than stars, or 1-10)
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