1502 S. First St.
Austin, TX 78704
After a great beginning, and a curious and mysterious end on Manor Rd. (replete with rumors of a family rift), and a few strange years in Bastrop, John Mueller the maverick smoker and mentor to the meteoric Aaron Franklin, is back where he belongs in a little joint on South 1st. The menu is limited but when you can produce BBQ like he does, quality trumps quantity. He grills and smokes as his father taught him: by watching the flame and using his intuitive skills.
Mueller’s joint is about picnic tables and fresh air and lots of smokin’ hot cue. The Pork Chop is the epitome of tenderness and smoky flavor with a texture that is simply almost beyond my meager abilities to comprehend. It’s that good. The Pork St. Louis Ribs are another serious contender. There’s lots of tender meat, and the Mueller famous salt and pepper rub is the simplest way to showcase the taste of the meat. Don’t look for Baby Backs at Mueller’s, ever! The homemade Beef Sausage is one of my favorites in this sausage-mad city. There’s an inherent quality about this sausage that just jumps out at you on the first bite. There’s no other way to describe it. The casing is spot-on, and every bite is just one seamless burst of flavor sans grizzle.
Are you getting hungry? Well, there’s still some more. Take a look at the Brisket. Some say Franklin’s has got the edge between the two masters: but I disagree. John Mueller gets Brisket more than the Salt Lick, Coopers, Kryz’s, and other iconic spots. He may not cook it for hours and hours à la Franklin’s but it’s the results count, not the clock. And the Beef Short Ribs are vintage Mueller. They fall off the bone and into that dark chasm of mouthly goodness that we all crave but seldom experience.
And on Friday you can get the best damned Smoked Prime Rib I’ve ever seen. So the enigmatic Mueller is back, and the local BBQ stakes have gone up. And our cup runneth over!