• September 11, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Sizzling Up Austin: A Local’s Guide to the Best Pork BBQ Spots

Calling all BBQ enthusiasts! Welcome to Austin, the Mecca of pork barbecue. Here, tantalizing smoky goodness, juicy, tender pork – this isn’t just food, it’s a tradition that Austin folks hold close to their hearts. Join us on this epic gastronomic journey as we traverse the sizzling BBQ realm of Austin, exploring the best pork BBQ spots that our beloved Texas’ capital has to offer.

Austin Barbecue Scene: Pork Magic in the Making

Welcome to Austin, folks! A place where melodies of South by Southwest music festival intertwine with the unique quirkiness of cowboys and the fascinating hipster culture. But that’s not all Austin is known for. Our city takes enormous pride in its meat-smoking tradition. When it comes to pork BBQ, Austin is the throne-holder. Our pitmasters, they’re not just chefs; they are craftsmen working meticulously to bring that irresistible smoky flavor to every piece of meat they touch. Secret recipes passed down through generations, homemade sauces blended to perfection, and the mystical blue smoke that will leave a trail of meat-lovers in its wake. The aroma? Well, brace yourselves, because this is the smell of a foodie’s dream come true.

Smokin’ Treasure: Franklin Barbecue

First on our Austin PorK BBQ guide is the Franklin Barbecue. This pitstop is not just a restaurant, it’s a pilgrimage spot for BBQ lovers hailing from every corner of the globe. Here, the James Beard Award-winning chef, Aaron Franklin, creates magic within the smoky confines of his kitchen.

At Franklin, every slab of pork is more than food. It’s a tribute to the art of BBQ. The pulled pork here is slow-cooked to perfection, giving it a texture so tender it could melt on your tongue. Each bite is an explosion of delectable BBQ goodness, making the wait in those notoriously long lines worth every second.

  • Expect: Slow-smoked pulled pork perfected by Aaron Franklin himself, special homemade sauce that brings out the flavor of the meat.
  • Location: 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
  • Operating Hours: Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11AM-3PM
  • Top Tip: Get there early cause they’re popular and the queue can be long!

Rustic Delight: Micklethwait Craft Meats

Next up, we venture over to Micklethwait Craft Meats, a hidden gem tucked away in the heart of the vibrant East Austin. The word ‘rustic’ genuinely comes into its element here. Housed in a vintage Comet trailer, this novel smokehouse offers a personal, intimate BBQ experience like none other.

Their pork ribs are legendary in Austin, the succulent meat seasoned and smoked to near-perfection. The sausages, made from scratch, exhibit Micklethwait’s commitment to quality. This terrific joints’ charm lies in its seamless blend of traditional techniques with innovative flavors, creating a BBQ spectacle you’d be remiss to skip on your Austin escapade.

  • Expect: Instantly lovable pork ribs, unique homemade sausages, smoked over post oak in the traditional Central Texas style.
  • Location: 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702
  • Timings: Open from Wednesday through Sunday, 11AM till Sold Out
  • Top Tip: Try their BBQ when it’s right off the smoker, for the best experience.

Hidden Gem: Kerlin BBQ

Here’s a sneak peak to a “hidden gem”, Kerlin BBQ, lovingly nestled amidst the chic food trucks of Austin. Kerlin is more than just a food truck; it’s a testament to the meat-smoking culture deeply ingrained in Austin. The folks at Kerlin BBQ are known for their slow-smoked pork shoulder, a dish that beautifully encapsulates the spirit of Austin BBQ.

Don’t be fooled by the humble appearance; the pork shoulder here is a meat-lovers dream. Its outer crust is a beautiful mix of pepper and smoke, while the inside is so juicy and tender, it will have you reaching for seconds before you even finish your first helping!

  • Expect: Unforgettable pork shoulder, traditional Texas Breakfast Kolaches on weekends, loaded baked potato salad.
  • Location: 1700 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
  • Timings: Open Thursday through Monday, 11AM till Sold Out
  • Top Tip: Do try their blue cheese coleslaw; it’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before!

Joys of the ‘Cue: La Barbecue

La Barbecue is more than another spot on our Austin pork BBQ guide. It’s a destination, a place of BBQ worship filled with mouth-watering pork ribs, sausages and more. Once a highly mobile food truck, La Barbecue has now found a permanent home at Quickie Pickie, a cool convenience store on Cesar Chavez.

What’s so special about La Barbecue, you ask? Picture this. Pork ribs so tender, they’re practically falling off the bone, each layer brimming with flavors so exquisite, they might turn even the staunchest vegetarians into die-hard carnivores. Every piece of meat is procured from heritage breed pigs, adding to the quality and the flavor profile.

  • Expect: Lip-smacking pork ribs, their famous ‘El Sancho’ sandwich, chipotle slaw.
  • Location: 2027 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
  • Timings: Open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 AM till Sold Out
  • Top Tip: Remember to try their extra spicy ‘El Sancho’ sandwich. It packs quite the flavorful punch!

BBQ Dream: Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Last on our list but by no means least is Valentina’s. Here, BBQ meets Tex-Mex, and the result is a culinary symphony that will bring joy to your taste buds. This family-owned establishment brings traditional Mexican recipes and Austin-style BBQ onto a common plate, creating a perfect balance of cultures.

Their pulled pork is prepared with traditional Mexican spices before being smoked the Texan way, resulting in a unique combination that delivers on both flavor and texture. Layer it onto a homemade flour tortilla, add a little BBQ sauce and guacamole, and you have a bite-sized piece of Tex-Mex heaven.

  • Expect: Pulled pork with a Tex-Mex twist, mouth-watering brisket tacos.
  • Location: 11500 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78748
  • Timings: Open daily, from 7:30 AM until Sold Out
  • Top Tip: Their BBQ is a must-tray, but don’t forget to sample the unique Tex-Mex items on their menu.

Treasures Off the Beaten Path: Honorable Mentions

Before we part ways, let’s take a quick detour to a few more spots that are worth your attention. – Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew – Known for their delicious pork spare ribs and succulent smoked beef brisket. – InterStellar BBQ – Unique blend of flavors, especially their pork belly burnt ends and dry-rubbed chops. – The Salt Lick – It’s a bit outside Austin, but their tender pork ribs and succulent pulled pork are worth the trip.

That brings us to the end of our pork BBQ tour. Remember, the charm of Austin’s BBQ world lies in its passion, tradition, and innovative culinary experiments. This guide barely scrape the surface. Be adventurous and explore the incredible offerings of our city.

So, go ahead and indulge in the heavenly goodness that Austin BBQ has to offer. The dazzling world of smoke-kissed, mouthwatering flavors awaits you. Ready to take on the Austin Pork BBQ journey? Just remember, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon, a race against your taste buds. Bon appétit!

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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