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A couple Austin lunches

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A couple Austin lunches

Rob Hargrove | May 8, 2002 02:06 PM

Yesterday, my boss and I decided to swing by John Mueller's for a dainty BBQ lunch, and it was outstanding. I had a chopped beef sandwich, with beans and potato salad, and the boss had the smoked prime rib. We split a pound of beed short ribs for dessert.

I should note two things initially:

1) I realize that the Board here has covered John Mueller's pretty well, but I thought I'd chime in anyway, for lack of anything better to do with my time; and

2) the chopped beef sandwich was a rather strange order and is, I think, not a great way to evaluate a BBQ restaurant. It is not too hard to make good chopped beef from pedestrian brisket. But, I've had John Mueller's brisket before and I know it to be wonderful, and I just love chopped beef sandwiches. I was in the mood, I ordered one, the boss made fun of me a little, and the sandwich was excellent.

That said, the lunch was great. The beef short rib is the subject of my Mueller comment. I had not seen a beef rib quite like this before: the meat rose above the bone almost two inches, like a mound of whipped beefy cream atop a boney shortcake. To call it a rib does not even do it justice, as it was more meat than bone. The meat itself was good and fatty with a thick peppery crust, and the boss and I decided it was the best thing we've eaten from John Mueller's yet. I suppose you all know about these kind of ribs, but I was pleasantly surprised by what we ordered as a sort of lagniappe, an afterthought.

Today, nearly 24 hours and a delicious Sarovar supper later, I was hungry at the desk once again. The boss was at a meeting, and I had to run by the Farmer's Market on Burnet to pick up some tomatoes for tonight's supper, so I decided to stop in the BBQ World Headquarters for another sandwich. This time I ordered the sliced brisket sandwich, since I'd never eaten at BBQWHQ before. It was the finest brisket sandwich I've had in Austin. Austin posters will no doubt know of BBQWHQ, but it does not seem to get much publicity on this board, and by golly it deserves some. The brisket was sliced fairly thin, and it was kind of dry, making a crumbly beefy mess with each bite. The dryness may have been unpleasant had I ordered just a plate of brisket, but in sandwich form, with the bread and sauce and onions, it was just fine. The flavor was outstanding, of course, and the dry-ish nature of the beef somehow did not detract from its succulence (a bizarre phenomena I don't quite understand). I took my sandwich "to go" and ate it at the office, so I did not get a chance to try a dessert sausage or rib, which I would have done had I been able to after the sandwich's brilliant performance.

Much is said about BBQ on this board, and I hate to give the impression that it and Mexican food are all our great city has to offer, but these two meals were so enjoyable that I felt I had to offer up some encouragement to anyone who may be hesitant about visiting one or both of these restaurants.

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