The Life-Changing Experience of Eating Brisket in Austin
Deeming a restaurant to be “the best barbecue ever” is highly controversial and highly subjective. One palate may prefer a spicy tomato-based sauce, another may like a vinegar sauce, while yet another may be all about the rub and the smoke. And none of them are wrong. They are all delicious.
However, I am here to confidently say that I have tasted the best barbecue in Austin, perhaps the best in the world. Fight me.
The first sign of a great barbecue spot is the long line. And Terry Black’s BBQ has the longest line you have ever experienced. It was less restaurant wait and more Disney World queue, with people crammed into every available inch of space, both outside and inside. And everyone was laughing and smiling and drinking beer and talking to their neighbors about what to order. No one seemed to mind the wait. With the smoke wafting overhead and the birds chirping in the trees, standing in line almost seemed part of the experience. The employee frequently updating the butcher paper list of what food was left only added to the anticipation.
And then when you finally cross the threshold of the restaurant, all your senses get bombarded. The sea of people buzz excitedly. There are so many things to look at. And the barbecue smell. Oh, the smell. Your mouth starts watering and doesn’t stop until you shovel the food into your mouth.
You know you can’t go wrong with your food selection because everything is amazing, and you’ve had a good hour in line to decide what to eat, and yet you still stand paralyzed at the food counter, mouth agape, drool running down your chin.
Then comes the proud walk to your table, past all the poor souls still standing in line. And the obligatory photos for social media to make your friends jealous. And then, finally, comes the moment. You get to eat the world-famous brisket.
You pick up your knife, only to realize you’re a complete brisket novice—brisket doesn’t need a knife! It falls apart at the gentlest touch of your fork. Like meat butter. The rub is a melody of spices that is better than you could have ever imagined. The sides are delicious, but don’t hold a candle to the guest of honor.
You both want to inhale your food and savor it for all eternity. But there are people waiting for your seat. And you have more exploring to do. So you reluctantly stand up and bid farewell to the best barbecue you’ve ever had.
And then you set off in search of your next meal.
For more reasons to visit Austin, grab a copy of the new Walking Austin by Charlie Llewellin.