Austin has seen an upturn in pop-up barbecue joints over the last couple of years, especially after all the hype of Franklin’s BBQ in the papers, magazines, and on television. Not feeling like standing in line for 3-4 hours in mid-July heat and maybe not getting any meat, I ventured to John Mueller Meat Co. John Mueller has been a part of the Central Texas BBQ scene on and off for over a decade, being a descendant of Louie Mueller, deceased proprietor of Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor. After disappearing from the BBQ business for a few years after losing his first BBQ joint in Austin, which one could say gave birth to Franklin BBQ – Aaron Franklin is a former employee and bought John’s pit from his former landlords – he opened a trailer in partnership with his sister in 2011. The partnership fell apart late in 2012, and after a few months of silence, John Mueller Meat Co. sprung up last February.
Walking onto the lot behind Kellees’ Place on E. 6th St and Pedernales, I was welcomed by a live two-piece band and free samples from South Austin Brewing Co. I waited in line for exactly an hour after getting there an hour after opening time. The set up is pretty simple, a tent with several picnic tables underneath, a trailer for John’s pit, another trailer for serving up the meat, and a storage container with an awning for the band to take in some shade. When John wasn’t running around feeding the pit and delivering briskets to the serving trailer, he picked up a case of Lone Star and walked down the line handing out freebies. As I got to the front of the line, one of John’s employees showed up fresh from HEB with several cases of Lone Star and filled up the ice chest, leaving the lovely note pictured below.
I’m no professional foodie and I’m not a food blogger, so I’ll spare you the details of the food. However, I can tell you the brisket was probably the best I’ve ever had, the sauce was amazing but the brisket was so good I didn’t use hardly any sauce. The homemade sausage was amazing and I was sad I hadn’t bought a full pound so I had some extra to take home. The only side I figured I could fit in was potato salad, a mustard-type, that was without question the best I’ve had. If you’re in Austin and looking for some great barbecue, but don’t like the idea of waiting in line for most of the morning with a bunch of tourists at Franklin’s, I highly recommend trying out John Mueller’s smoked goods. John has developed a loyal group of followers over the years, and I have to say that I’ve joined that bunch for the long haul.