I've eaten a lot more bbq in the two years since living in AUstin than I care to admit - certainly more than is likely that healthy. I have been to most of the BBQ joints within 40 miles of here and have made it a personal endeavor to hit every one in Austin - regardless of reputation - to form my own opinions. I have read with great interest and enjoyment the BBQ threads on Chowhound and have occasionally chimed in. This time, I have to comment on a couple recent experiences.
The BAD - I have been enamored with Black's Jalapeno sausage and they recently started adding cheese. Bad call for my taste buds.
The FANTASTIC - The prime rib at Smitty's in Lockhart is worth a day trip - and fortunately is but 30 min. from Austin. Folks, get to Smitty's and fill up on prime rib that's something like 7 or 8 bucks a pound. Ridiculously good, nicely seasoned, smoked top notch beef. Seriously, it's a sublime piece of BBQ from one of our state's best pits. In my opinion, nothing at Kreuz comes even close. My second favorite beef in the area was the brisket from the now closed AUstin's John Mueller's - and better than his relatives in Taylor. Now he's in Bastrop. Good sausage too. But I dream of that prime rib.
I had the JERK smoked pork ribs at Hoover's downtown Austin (Manor) and was very impressed. They were sort of blackened, not charred, not too fatty - and fell tender off the bone with wonderful smoky hints of allspice and a touch of heat (could have been much more habanero laced for my jerk tastes though). Great ribs!