Austin

Austin….the final chapter @perrysdining, @jsm_meat

The last chapter of my bachelor party trip to Austin, Texas.  Up till now, we’ve stuffed our face with BBQ and hit up Torchy’s not once, not twice, but three times as a group (I only went twice actually). I figured a good dinner to cap off the trip would be to go to a steakhouse, although suprisingly there weren’t any definite standouts on Yelp.

 

Perry’s was one of the higher rated steakhouses, so that’s where we headed (didn’t realize it was a chain when I went).  A group of 9, and a rowdy bunch at that, they thankfully sat us at the quieter upstairs room, and by the time we were done with the apps, we had the whole upstairs to ourselves….

Seafood Tower!

Seafood Tower!

We started with a seafood tower, something I don’t get a chance to order very often.  Nothing here stood out too much, just some pretty standard solid chilled seafood.  Some jumbo shrimp cocktail, halved lobster tails, lump crab meat (one of the highlights) and some mild East Coast oysters.

Appetizer Plate

Appetizer Plate

While the seafood tower was across the board solid, the appetizer plate, while more unique, was a little more hit or miss.  The fried asparagus, topped with the jumbo lump crabmeat was a nice mixup and a combination that worked very well.  The Polish sausage (in the back, not well lit) was fantastic, had a smokiness to it with just a hint of spice, and not too oily.   The calamari in the middle, mixed with banana peppers, didn’t really work too well.   The calamari ended up being a bit too soggy, and the peppers dominated the middle.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

The casear salad here was average.  Very dressy, and the shaved parm was pretty subtle.  Fresh anchovies topped the dish but were a bit vinegary.

Bone-in Ribeye

Bone-in Ribeye

The steak here was a solid, above-average broiled steak.  They’re broiled and topped with their signature herb butter – it’s a bit heavy on the garlic and a bit dense in the center of the cut.  I ordered it medium rare and it came out medium rare, maybe a shade towards medium, but no complaining here.  It was well cooked, but missing a bit of char.

In the end, there’s not much that impressed me about Perry’s – it’s a solid steakhouse, but I guess my expectations were a bit higher for a Texas steakhouse.   Had a great time, though, and it gets kudos for the the service and putting up with our group….

 

So while most of the crew ended up heading to the airport on Sunday morning, a few of us had afternoon flights or flights the next day – my stomach was still reeling from a weekend of drinking and gut-bombs, but my buddy McC wanted one more taste of Texas BBQ before he left.  Locally, we ended up having two solid options – La BBQ and John Mueller – we went with John Mueller and weren’t disappointed at all.  (And reading into the backstory of the two joints was quite interested)

sd

More Texas brisket

The last of Texas brisket for awhile for me....

The last of Texas brisket for awhile for me….

While not quite Franklin’s, the brisket at J. Mueller’s was tender, smoky, and way better than anything I’m getting in Chicago.  A nice bark, and some great flavor.

Pork ribs

Pork ribs

The pork ribs were solid, but the weak link of the three meats we got – just a bit overcooked, the bark is the highlight here – nice and peppery, the meat itself fell off the bone but was just a bit tough.

Beef Rib

Beef Rib

IMG_4284

I believe John Mueller is known for his beef ribs, so we couldn’t turn this one down.  The crust had a nice sweet pepper flavor with just a bit of spice to it.  The ribs were kicked perfectly, a nice, crisp bark, meaty, but fall of the bone.

While not quite at Franklin’s level, John Mueller’s was close, and without the absurd wait (went on a Sunday morning at around 10am, ended up waiting all of 10 or 15 minutes).  If I’m headed down to Austin again, J. Mueller will almost assuredly be on the list  of spots to return to..and there will be a next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Four and a half hours for BBQ….@franklinbbq

Franklin BBQ – 900 E 11th Street, Austin, TX

I knew what I was getting into.  It’s on the short list of places to eat that have a twitter feed to monitor the line (@franklinbbqline).   It’s a 4+ hour wait for BBQ (If you’re lucky and get there at the right time, you’re probably looking at 2-3 hours on the front end, or maybe less for the scraps on the back end.  There’s clearly the “buzz” factor that adds to the wait.  But in the end, the food delivers.  Does it deliver enough to justify the wait?  That’s up to you decide, but here’s my take – this is the best BBQ I’ve had.  Hands down, top to bottom – the best brisket, the best pork ribs, the best pulled pork, the best smoked turkey, and the best hot link.  The cole slaw was alright, as were the beans.  I’m not a BBQ expert, particularly when it comes to Texas BBQ, but I’ve had a decent share of good BBQ over the years.

Hot link for waiting in line

Hot link for waiting in line

My first taste of Franklin’s started around 3 hours into the wait, when they passed out bites of hot links with bread.  That’s when it all began feeling real, and the anticipation really started to begin.  A crisp casing surrounding a peppery sausage with a smoky finish.

IMG_4255

Cutting the brisket

Cutting the ribs

After the wait

After the wait

After that wait (got in line around 9, served just before 1;30)   this is what we ended up with – 2 lbs, brisket, 2 lbs pork ribs (the 2nd to last order), the last 1/3 lb of pulled pork, a 1/2 lb of smoked turkey, and a few hot links.  4+ hours of waiting, and we just got served in time to try everything on the menu.

Brisket perfection

Brisket perfection

The brisket here is everything you would want – perfectly tender, nice smoke ring, great bark, and the smoky flavor that lingers in your mouth.  not too salty, and seasoned enough to complement the meat, but still allowing the natural flavor of the beef to come through.

Pork ribs

Pork ribs

The pork ribs are a bit firmer.  Didn’t seem quite as meaty as the St. Louis cut I’m used to but definitely not the overly tender Baby backs either.  A perfect mix of both.  Tender and fall off the bone, with a nice meaty bite to it.  The rub seems a simple black pepper rub, just enough to add some a bit of flavor that complements the natural flavor of the pork and the smoke perfectly.

Like I mentioned earlier, we got the last scraps of pulled pork, but even then, it was soft, moist, if not a bit too moist.  Lacked a bit of smokiness but mixed perfectly with the hot sauce.  The turkey is highly underrated and in more prominent supply, so if you go and arrive late, don’t feel baad about getting the turkey – it’s a stellar option.  Tasted brined as the meat itself had a nice salty flavor to it, and the turkey itself has a nice smokiness to it.

I wish that I could go back to Franklin’s but have to wait the wait again – 4 hours seems excessive and it’s against my general principle to wait for anything that long.   I’m glad I did it, but I’d be hard pressed to do it again.  Although maybe on a nice day, a comfy chair and a good book, some good company, maybe it’d be worth it again…

The final chapter of the Austin trip to come….

 

 

 

 

 

fsdf

 

An excursion to Austin…Da Meat Sweats (x12)…Part 1

When it came down to picking a spot for my bachelor party, I had quite a few options – I was able to narrow it down to a reasonably narrow list – Chicago, Vegas, NOLA, Charleston, and Austin.  I wanted to travel and go somewhere warm, as the near freezing April temps in Chicago were getting to me, so that ruled out Chicago.  Most people were traveling from Chicago or the West Coast so Charleston seemed unreasonable, and Jazz Fest was going on, which means NOLA would’ve been a bit of a shit-show.  So, it came down to Austin vs. Vegas, and as much fun as Vegas probably would’ve been, the thought of waiting in line to pay $500 for a bottle of Absolut at XS or whatever the hot new club is, just didn’t seem all that attractive.  Maybe I’m getting old.  Or maybe waiting in line for some Franklin brisket just sounded better.

Well, I arrived in Austin Thursday around noon – my buddy McC picked me up from the airport and I headed to our first food excursion for lunch – Gus’s.  For those of you who don’t know, Gus’s is a Memphis transplant, the original in a small town outside of Memphis.  It has, IMO, the *best* fried chicken I’ve ever had.  So when I found out that a location opened up in Austin, it seemed like a natural first stop.

Now sometimes, you remember something being awesome, and then you have it again, and you’ve built it up in your head so much that you can’t help but be disappointed…not so in this case.

Fried pickles

Fried pickles

The meal starts with some piping hot fried pickles.  Probably the only disappointing parts of the meal were a. The ranch was not fresh, but packaged ranch, and b. the lack of catfish on the menu here.  The pickles were well battered, mostly sweet with a nice bite to them.   Add a 16oz Lone Star to it and the bachelor party has begun (I couldn’t remember the last time I had a beer during lunch on a weekday – damn, it felt good)

Heaven

Heaven

The picture here and pictures everywhere won’t do the chicken at Gus’s justice.  It has everything you want in a fried chicken (as long as you want it spicy).  The skin is perfectly crisp, but doesn’t crumble when you bite into it.  The skin has a nice bit of cayenne to it, but the real spice hits when you bite into it.  The meat, always piping hot and perfectly cooked.  But it’s the spice of the actual meat that sets it apart from other fried chickens.  There’s a perfect underlying heat that lingers and is what makes Gus’s stand out.  It can’t be explained.  And it’s a well-kept secret.  People have tried to replicate, and thankfully, I have a fiancee who is on a never-ending quest to find the perfect fried chicken recipe.  We will try some of the internet copycats, and will see how close they come.

The platter

The platter

I’ll fast forward a few days to Saturday afternoon when we headed back to Gus’s – this time with a much larger group – similar story, and now after 4 trips to Gus’s (twice in Memphis), I have no doubt that the fried chicken here will be tough to beat.

Chess pie x2, pecan, key lime

Chess pie x2, pecan, key lime

I can’t say much about the pies here, although they were ordered.  The chocolate chess pie (front right) was pretty decadent and solid.

Thursday evening, we headed to Lambert’s in downtown Austin – a bit of a dressed up BBQ joint, it seemed like a good lowkey Thursday dinner spot, and a good way to start the trip, as the bulk of our crew had arrived by then.

Wild boar ribs, sambal, honey, blue cheese

Wild boar ribs, sambal, honey, blue cheese

We started with a pair of apps, the first, an amazing boudin fritter dish with a perfectly tender, soft texture with a nice kick and a firm, fried shell.  The second were a somewhat underwhelming wild boar rib dish.  The meat was a bit tough, and not quite as gamey as I would have expected.  The mix of the blue cheese and the sambal paste balanced nicely.

Brisket

Brisket

For an entree, I went with the brisket – it was pretty disappointing as a start (although I say this in retrospect after the rest of my trip).  The coffee rub had a good flavor, but the crust didn’t have enough bark to it, and the meat itself was very dried out.  Pretty average, and not quite what I expected out of Texas BBQ.

The meal at Lamberts was a great time, but the food was a bit underwhelming.   Thankfully, the trip was just beginning….more to come soon….