Friday, June 28, 2013

la Barbeque: The Best Brisket I've Ever Had

Let me start out by saying this: I have never eaten at Franklin's. I've had intentions, but then there's always something I'd like to do with my mornings, and one things leads to another, and it's 100 degrees, and I skip it.

So, it is entirely possible that better brisket exists. Just really hard to imagine what that might be after a lunch at la Barbeque.

LA BBQ sits on that fuzzy line between a trailer and storefront. It's outdoor seating (pleasantly shady and bearable even in late June Austin), and there's a pretty straightforward two-window trailer where you order and pay. At the same time, it's a permanent establishment, with two enormous smokers set up off to the side of the lot, firewood stacked up, and a gravel parking lot all on its own. A galvanized trough filled with ice holds sodas in glass bottles - Mexican Coke FTW.

It's kind of the perfect setting, actually, and the operation was remarkably efficient  - busy, but hardly a wait at all.

The glory here, though, is in the meat. I was there with my daughter and we split a few slices brisket and a link of the sausage. Both were off the chart. The brisket - smoked for about 16 hours over a combination of Oak and Pecan wood - was meltingly tender (go with the fatty - the lean was still amazing, but less of transcendental experience). The flavors were layered and balanced, with smokey, almost sweet flavors, against the peppery crust. There was sauce on the tables, but I have never been less tempted to use it. It was also thickly sliced - I used to think I only liked brisket sliced Rudy's style into thin strips - but this cured me of that right quick. It was simply ideal meat, no need to shave it off like deli meats or slather it in sauce like lesser cuts.

The sausage, which we ordered as an afterthought, was no less extraordinary. It was a little looser than others I've had, with a touch more crumble to it and just the faintest of spicy kick. I wish I could identify the spices in there, but it was all too completely integrated to pick out individual notes. Salty and blissful.

We ate all we could hold, and then some.This redefined the meaning of barbeque - we weren't leaving any of it on the tray.

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