County Line

Posted by on Feb 4, 2011 in Barbecue, Lake Travis, Reviews, West
6500 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 327-1742
5204 FM 2222
Austin, TX 78731
(512) 346-3664
Sun-Thu: 11:30am-9pm
Fri-Sat: 11:30am-9:30pm


The County Line

One of my earliest Austin dining experiences came when I interviewed for a faculty position at UT many years ago. No doubt to impress the young candidate from the Northeast they brought me to a place which seemed out in the country that offered something with which I was totally unfamiliar; Texas-style BBQ at a place called The County Line. Well that experience, as they say, sealed the deal. And I’ve been a fan both of the genre and the County Line ever since.

Way back when the County Line on the Hill was indeed out in the country, the menu was simpler: Beef Ribs, Sausage, and Brisket. But they have gradually evolved the menu to the point where while BBQ is still the main focus, there are many other delicious alternatives.

You can begin your feed now with a wide array of salads. I’m rather fond of the Smoked Turkey Breast Salad. It’s got taste and substance. Could stand on it own for lunch. And the Grilled Salmon Caesar salad is another serious choice. The salmon is perfectly cooked and blends nicely with the crispy romaine. I would recommend the Pecan Vinaigrette dressing.

You can also get a nice steak here if that suits your fancy. Shall we consider the Ribeye?

This is 12 ounces of wonderfully marbled, prime-aged beef. The first bite, tender and appropriately juicy, says it all. And the Grilled Salmon is not hard to take either. The texture is delightful and the smooth, pink meat goes down beautifully.

But the raison d’être of the County Line is still about the “Q.” This is vintage Texas-style BBQ and I think after all these years it’s fair to say they’ve got it down. The Sausage Platter is one of my favorites. This is tender, classic pork sausage accented with the Line’s tangy sauce. Add a little cole slaw and some potato salad and voila! And then there are the famous Beef Ribs. Ben Crenshaw has been known to export these to PGA tournaments when he’s on the road. Yeah, they’re that good. Eating one is a serious undertaking and the reward is serious as well. What amazing flavor! The Pork Ribs are a different but no less tasty consideration. They are invariably tender and have that immediately satisfying flavor rush common to the best preparations. The County Line also offers the discerning connoisseur of brisket two choices: the Lean Brisket and a more marbled or “2nd cut” brisket. I prefer the latter but that’s just my taste. Both have their own merits.

And for those big Texas-sized appetites, there are the well-loved All You Can Eat Platters appropriately named Country Style, The Cadillac, and, I love this one, the All You Can Stand Platter featuring 8 different types of meat and foul. The only rule is that everyone in your group has to order the same thing. It’s one of the great gorges in Texas.

One would be wise not to ignore either the Chicken or Pepper Turkey Breast at the County Line lest one get swept up in a tidal wave of beef and pork, And their homemade bread is well worth a try along with their signature Peach Cobbler. Bee Caves Road isn’t “out in the country” anymore but the view is still great and the place just oozes charm along with that Texas country patina.

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