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Here's some messages set in from our family in Texas...

 

 


Submitted  |  February 200
9

Family Member:   TX001

 

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Submitted  |  February 200
9

Family Member:   TX001

 

SI decided to quit my job in Arizona and try to open a brewery with a friend of mine in Richmond, VA. On my way to Richmond from Phoenix, I decided to fulfill my dream of doing the great American barbecue road trip.

 

For nearly three weeks, I would travel from Texas to Memphis to North Carolina, sampling some of the best barbecue our country has to offer. Along the way, I would meet some of the legends of industry, often getting a personal tour of their pits and a behind the scenes look at where the magic happens. I would talk with the locals to get a sense of the pride and passion they have for their revered locale. Every person had a story and over the years those individual stories had become interwoven to create the legend of each barbecue shrine.

 

On the third day of my tour I drove into Taylor, TX, home of the famed Louie Mueller Barbecue. I would say that this place is straight out of a movie, but there have been at least three already filmed there (most recently “The Rookie”), not to mention multiple visits by the Food Network, a Stevie Ray Vaughn album cover and an MGD commercial. The place is both vintage Texas and vintage barbecue.

 

While the City Market’s atmosphere was impressive, this place was better. Classic beer neons adorn the wall, along with pictures of famous people and other Texas relics. There’s a classic jukebox in the corner. It was timeless Texas and infinitely cool. The kind of place you could spend all afternoon lifting longnecks and listening to Willie Nelson.

 

Louie Mueller’s has their pits out in the open behind the counter, which added a whole ‘nother level of barbecue goodness to the place. As we made our way up to order, the nice man behind the counter informed us that they were out of everything but brisket and chopped beef sandwiches due to the influx of Ike evacuees. This would not be the last time Ike would interfere with my trip.

 

The guy behind the counter turned out to be Wayne Mueller, the third generation owner. Wayne then told me that his father Bobby had passed away unexpectedly the previous weekend, so it looked like he was going to be running the place sooner than he imagined. I was amazed at how nice and accommodating he was, especially given the circumstances.

 

Wayne was a great guy, and he’ll ensure nothing skips a beat. He mentioned that someone had been apprenticing under his father on the pits for ten years, and that “he’s ready”. Can you imagine that? Working ten years to learn how to make barbecue? To an average person, that probably seems crazy. But that’s what makes this place famous.

 

When I tasted the brisket, I instantly appreciated the ten years of hard work that led to quite possibly the finest piece of beef I’ve ever eaten. Seriously, if you offered me a medium rare bone-in ribeye from Ruth’s Chris or a pound of brisket from Louie Mueller’s, I’d take the brisket hands down. And that’s coming from a guy that salivates over Ruth’s Chris.

 

The brisket had a dark peppery crust and a deep smoke ring. The meat was tender and juicy with just the right combination of meat, smoke and a little fat. Each bite I took validated why Texans feel so strongly about brisket.

 

The other great thing about Louie Mueller’s was the hot sauce sitting on the table in giant old-timey Listerine bottles. Only at a famous barbecue joint would you find something as inimitably endearing as hot sauce in a mouthwash bottle.

 

Of the nineteen places I visited on my tour, Louie Mueller had the best brisket and the best atmosphere, and I can’t wait to go back!

 

 
 

 

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