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Weekend Central Texas BBQ trek

Weekend Central Texas BBQ trek

Old Apr 19, 10, 1:04 pm
  #1  
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Weekend Central Texas BBQ trek

This past Saturday, Mackieman, Mrs. Mackieman, TexasYankee and myself made a trip out to legendary Snow's BBQ in Lexington to check out whether or not Texas Monthly's pick for best BBQ in Texas was on par.

We began our trip by meeting at The Waffle House on 290 East. Regrettably, I did not get up early enough to join Mackieman and the Mrs. for breakfast, but hunger was soon to be no problem. TexasYankee climbed into my Ford Ranger and we followed Mr. & Mrs. Mackieman to Lexington, heading out at 8:15 AM.

I haven't traveled that much on 290 East in recent years, but the one thing that struck me was the number of new red lights between the 45 Toll Road and Elgin. It seemed that every time we got going, we were stopping again. Also, there were quite a few new subdivisions and businesses along this stretch that were not there the last time I drove 290 East.

Regardless, once we got beyond Elgin, the road seemed more familiar, even though I would have driven past the turn-off to Lexington if we had not been following. The road from 290 East to Lexington (FM696) is a two-lane blacktop with quite a few rolling hills and turns, but minimal construction. Except for some tortoises, we traveled at about 65 - 70 mph the entire stretch since law enforcement seemed to be taking the weekend off. Regardless, it was approximately 45 miles from The Waffle House and we made it there in about and hour and fifteen minutes, the delay being mainly the red lights on 290 East.

Once in Lexington, we took a right onto Main St and headed into the business district, such as it is. Snow's BBQ is on the left about 1 mile from FM696 on Main St. Across the street are what looked to be some dilapidated silos and warehouses. Snow's complex is what I would describe as unpretentious. There is what looks to be a temporary pre-fab building, a small parking lot, a pit area, an outside dining area, and a separate building for bathrooms. The natural inclination is to go into the main building using the ramp that extends from Main St., but that would be a mistake. On the door, it reads, "Please use the side door to enter." Too late for me, but no one else was fooled.

It was soon clear to us that we had timed our arrival perfectly. It was 9:30 AM and just as we got into the door, a line began forming behind us. We had called in our order ahead of time out of fear of there not being any meat, so I mentioned this and my name to the lady behind the counter. She said, "I'll have to go ask him where it is." She was soon back and said that she could not find our order, so we would have to start from scratch. Frankly, I couldn't remember what I had pre-ordered, so it took a bit longer than anticipated to think it through, but I was soon on a roll. TexasYankee and Mackieman followed suit and we seated ourselves at one of the tables in the back of the building.

I ordered brisket, sausage, pork steak, pork ribs, and half a chicken. Anxious to try the brisket, I started there first. It did not disappoint. Better, I thought, than any brisket we had eaten in Lockhart or at the Salt Lick. Next, I tried the sausage and was surprised that it was in equal quality to that found at City Market in Luling. Perhaps better as it was less greasy. My next foray was into the pork ribs. I love the pork ribs at the Salt Lick, but I have to say that these were equal to or better. My last tasting was of the pork steak, which you really do not find all that often. It was probably my least favorite of the meats that I tasted, but still very good.

Snow's does put BBQ and Louisiana Hot Sauce on the table. The BBQ sauce seems to be a mustard-based sauce like the Salt Lick uses, but it is not as sweet and complements all of the meats I tasted very well. It has more of a red hue to it than the Salt Lick's sauce, which caused me to question whether or not there was some tomato product in it, but it may have been due to some other spice instead. Note: The sauce comes in various plastic/glass bottles that are "recycled for re-use". Ours came housed in a former Ozarka water bottle.

No doubt Mackieman will come along and post pictures from this portion of the trip, but once we were full, we packed up, hit the head, and departed company with him and the Mrs. TexasYankee and I placed our booty of meat into our respective coolers and then headed out to Louie Mueller's BBQ in Taylor.

It is about a 40-minute drive from Lexington to Taylor down FM112. The road is much the same as FM696...hilly, winding, and two-lane blacktop. We left Snow's at about 9:45 and pulled into Louie Mueller's parking lot at about 10:20. The contrast between the two establishments is stunning. If you were on the Lockhart BBQ tour during the Austin Mega Do, Louie Mueller's would fit somewhere between Kreuz' Market, Blacks' BBQ, and Smitty's Market for atmosphere and surroundings. Snow's, on the otherhand, if not for the smell of the pit, you might pass it by without much notice.

Anyway, we were lucky and Louie Mueller's had recently expanded their hours to open at 10 AM. We appeared to be the first customers of the day. I ordered a pound of turkey breast to take home to the wife and a quarter pound of burnt ends to eat in. There was a stark difference to the rubs used at Snow's and Louie Mueller's as well. Snow's uses a very flavorable combination of spices, pepper, and salt while Louie Mueller's seems to use just coarse-ground black pepper and little else. They were both good. Just different. Snow's brisket seemed to be a bit fattier throughout than my burnt ends from Louie Mueller. Louie Mueller's does not have BBQ sauce on display and I did not ask for any. The brisket was served with a hot, watery sauce that looked like Louisiana Hot Sauce mixed with water. It was offered in a small styrofoam cup for dipping purposes. I tried it, but soon abandoned it because it did nothing to add any flavor to the meat.

After checking on the weather, we headed back to Austin down SH95. I was hoping to try the BBQ at Coupland BBQ, but attempts to find the place proved futile. After spending some time on the back roads and even after asking a local for directions, we never found it. But, seeing as we were no longer hungry, that might have proven to be a good thing. We got back onto SH 95 to Elgin and then headed back west to The Waffle House where I dropped TexasYankee off to pick up his truck. Shortly thereafter, about 11:45, I got a call on my cell phone from the owner of Snow's BBQ. He was calling to see if we were still coming by. I told him that we had indeed already been there and that I had told his staff that I had pre-ordered, but no one could find it. He said he had it set aside for us in the pit all wrapped up and ready to go. All I could do was apologize at this point and say that we really did try to pick up what we had pre-ordered, but he did not seem that placated. Hopefully, he was disappointed in his staff and not us, but I think I'll give him some time to forget before contacting him about arranging for a couple of tour buses to come by for Austin Mega Do 2.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

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Old Apr 19, 10, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
I ordered brisket, sausage, pork steak, pork ribs, and half a chicken. Anxious to try the brisket, I started there first. It did not disappoint. Better, I thought, than any brisket we had eaten in Lockhart or at the Salt Lick. Next, I tried the sausage and was surprised that it was in equal quality to that found at City Market in Luling. Perhaps better as it was less greasy. My next foray was into the pork ribs. I love the pork ribs at the Salt Lick, but I have to say that these were equal to or better. My last tasting was of the pork steak, which you really do not find all that often. It was probably my least favorite of the meats that I tasted, but still very good.
So what happened to the "half a chicken"?
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Old Apr 19, 10, 1:15 pm
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Originally Posted by uncertaintraveler View Post
So what happened to the "half a chicken"?
It went home to the wife as well.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

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Old Apr 19, 10, 2:02 pm
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***drools***
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Old Apr 19, 10, 2:30 pm
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I will indeed attempt to post pictures here this evening with my own play by play and agreements with what Starwood Lurker has written. It was on my to do list for the weekend but we had some unexpected (but very welcome) house guests on Saturday night and sitting on the back porch and enjoying our leftover Snow's BBQ was a higher priority than getting the pictures off of Mrs. Mackie's camera. It will be done, though.
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Old Apr 19, 10, 8:05 pm
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I thoroughly enjoyed our trip out to Lexington, TX, both for the food, the views, and the company. I won't rehash Starwood Lurker's thoughts but he and I were mostly on the same page concerning the quality of the BBQ at Snow's. I believe the ribs to be equal to those on offer at the Salt Lick, and the sausage is most excellent at both, with Salt Lick offering a wet sausage and Snow's offering a dry sausage. The brisket was most certainly better at Snow's, and the pork steak was delicious. It is indeed rare to find it these days and while it was good, I still prefer my semi-FT-famous pork loin. With that said, a few images of a grey morning in April:

Texas Wildflowers:


Texas Wildflowers:


One of several smokers full of glorious brisket:


MEAT!


The Masters of Meat, quite pleased with their haul:


Starwood Lurker approaches the front door:


Ozarka brand BBQ Sauce:


My truck license plate, the subject of much conversation around the BBQ joint:


The sign of victory:


Additional pictures and whatnot are available here.
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Old Apr 19, 10, 10:29 pm
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Great hunger inducing TR! And I love Mackieman's awesome license plate!
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Old Apr 19, 10, 10:47 pm
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I will be hard pressed to improve on StarwoodLurkers's trip report! I do have to believe that Snow's was able to sell our misplaced order quickly considering how long the line was at 9:45 AM. I have never seen so many people taking pictures of food and/or their family and friends eating food at one place.

I found the pork steak to be ok - they were quite thick. As I also have a weakness for pork steak and prefer to cook at home for $1.49/lb vs $8.95/lb at Snow's. But, I would probably buy another if I was at Snow's ...

The ribs at Snow's were quite tasty - in fact I had them for the next 4 meals in a row (Mrs TexasYankee is out of town )

I probably should not have eaten so much at Snow's before trying Louie Meuller's as the pork ribs were average. I also tried the beef ribs which were ok and did not improve in taste a day later. BUT, if in Taylor, TX and hungry I would stop at Louie Meuller's again (unless I was on the way to Snow's ...)

One last note for those planning on attending Austin Mega Do 2 - Snow's has only 1 "unisex" restroom. Therefore plan ahead or use the bus!

PS: Now that Mackieman has posted his license plate I can comment - wow! I am honored to be in the presence of a true BBQ lover!
and wish that I had thought of it first!

Last edited by TexasYankee; Apr 19, 10 at 10:54 pm Reason: OMG BBQ
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Old Apr 20, 10, 1:11 pm
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Great pictures. My thanks to Mrs. Mackieman for the photo record of our trip.

Mackieman makes a good point about the BBQ difference between Snow's and the Salt Lick. At the Salt Lick, almost everything comes pre-basted with sauce and sauced again on top. This is in addition to a dry rub. They have a great sauce, so I am fine with that. At Snow's, however, I could not find evidence of any of their meat being basted at any point in the smoking process although they also use a dry rub. Their sauce is served on the side exclusively as a do-it-yourself operation and not pre-applied in a baste or otherwise.

So, the observation that Snow's BBQ is a dry application as opposed to a wet application at the Salt Lick is spot on. That being the case, if you like wet ribs, you are more likely to place the Salt Lick over Snow's in that category. Personally, I like them both equally.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

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Old Apr 20, 10, 2:24 pm
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Thank you for posting! Even a vegetarian, such as I, could enjoy this report. The bluebonnets were gorgeous.
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Old Apr 20, 10, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Mackieman View Post
My truck license plate, the subject of much conversation around the BBQ joint:
Awesome!
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Old Apr 21, 10, 5:12 am
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Man that looks good!
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Old Apr 24, 10, 7:49 pm
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No doubt as good as the water and from a nearby BBQ sauce spring!
Originally Posted by Mackieman View Post
Ozarka brand BBQ Sauce:
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Old Apr 24, 10, 11:18 pm
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Yum.. Looks good! Too bad I missed this but in true FT spirit I was on a plane Sat. AM.
I'll still have to get out there one of these days.. heading to Houston in 2 weeks, may have to make a detour.
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Old Apr 27, 10, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by hauteboy View Post
Yum.. Looks good! Too bad I missed this but in true FT spirit I was on a plane Sat. AM.
I'll still have to get out there one of these days.. heading to Houston in 2 weeks, may have to make a detour.
Be forewarned: It takes three times a long to get there from Houston, especially the south side, than it does from Austin.
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