My "Chow-Tour" of Austin continues, now unabated by the cold and ice! I feel the need to try as many BBQ places as I can, and all of the Austin "institutions" (understanding they may not have great chow, I feel like I must try them first-hand in order to achieve true "Chow" status!).
I went to Ironworks for lunch today, upon recommendations from a client and colleagues. Call me a sucker, but I really like a BBQ joint that reeks of smoke. Maybe that's why Salt Lick 360 doesn't work - too clean! Anyway, I ordered the Sampler Plate which included sliced brisket, sausage and a beef rib, along with potato salad, beans, pickles, onions and a slice of white bread. First off, I don't generally like beef ribs that much. Turns out, that's just because I've never had a good one. This was a FABULOUS beef rib - tender enough that I didn't feel like a cave man eating it, but still retained enough structure to remind me I was eating beef. The flavor was great; a nice developed crust, with smoky spicy flavor, lean enough to make my doctor (relatively) happy, but enough fat had basted the meat to keep it flavorful. I would return to Ironworks for these beef ribs!
The brisket was solid, but unremarkable. A bit dry for my taste, and the crust lacked the depth of flavor noted on the rib. The sauce (which was rather boring) helped dress up the brisket somewhat, but I've had better brisket elsewhere. The sausage was good, and had a nice spiciness (not so much that I needed a fire extinguisher, but enough to make note of it). Sides were fine (who cares - I'm here for meat).
The ambiance is good for BBQ joint or for tourists, though this is the real deal (unlike Stubbs). I would recommend this to folks staying downtown (though I have yet to try some of the other recommended spots like Sam's). Hope this is helpful!