Been holding back on posting about this for too long . . . the giant smoked beef ribs at Little Austin's are off the charts. I've had them four times now since Feb. 2006 when the place was newly opened, and if anything they're better now. Deep smoke ring, well-integrated and complex rub, thick cap of well-marbelized and juicy beef with the richness of flavor only found next to the bone. I don't know how long they smoke these, but even the fell (the papery membrane on the back of the bone) is tenderized and edible. And, I do chew on it to get every bit of deliciousness off these ribs. They're not cheap at $10 per, or 3 for $25 (cut from the small end), but even my thrifty mother agrees they're worth it.
Even though this meat needs nothing else, the sauce is good here too. Savory, well-spiced and not sweet, in the Texas style. Regular with a splash of the hot version is my blend.
Our first visit, we went with the 5-meat combo with a good to excellent showing on everything. I loved the Elgin sausage too, flown in from Texas. In subsequent visits, the pork ribs and brisket have been variable, but can be very good, so ask to see the pieces first to make sure they're not too dry. The image linked below is big so you can see judge the smoke ring and succulence of the meats yourself.
Image of 5-meat combination plate (984x637 pixels):
Sides-wise, the cajun beans are my favorite. Potato salad is pretty good.
Smoked pork is an untried, new addition to the menu. And, I'll let someone else report on the lumpia.
Little Austin's Texas BBQ
1909 Natividad Rd
Salinas CA 93906
Open Daily 10a-9p
tel: 831.449.4835 fax: 831.449.4853