Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Louie Mueller Barbeque

206 West 2nd Street
Taylor, TX 76574
(512) 352-6206

So foodies, alot has happened in the last few months. For your information, I am no long a swinging single woman in the city. I now have an awesome boyfriend who doesn't seem to mind when I drag him to new restaurants and out of the way places. So, one beautiful Saturday last month, when he mentioned he was craving BBQ, I said "let’s go someplace different!" He had been telling me for months about the BBQ blog he read (yes, fellow foodies, he reads a food blog!) called Man Up about a group of guys who review Texas BBQ joints. We reviewed the list and decided to pick one of the BBQ joints outside of the city limits recommended by Man Up. BBQ in the country, what an adventure!

We chose a BBQ joint called Louie Mueller's up (and over) in Taylor. Its about a 45 minute drive from downtown Austin, but it’s all highway, so the drive seems faster. My shiny new boyfriend also has a shiny new Smart Car (which I don’t particularly like, but you can’t pick a man based on his car) with a shiny new convertible top (which I do love, and almost makes me forget I’m in a Smart Car). We relished driving with the top down, the air in our hair, the sun on our skin, all the way into the sticks dreaming about filling ourselved with tasty BBQ.

There’s something about Taylor, not because its particularly picturesque, but because people there love BBQ. Seriously LOVE BBQ. As soon as you cross into the city limits you immediately smell the smoky aroma of charred meat. It brought a tear to my eye - though that may have been the smoke – but I like to think it was for town-wide dedication to something so awesome (and tasty) as BBQ.

As soon as we walked into the rather unassuming door at Louie Muellers, we couldn’t help but immediately notice the line..

Yes that line. And for your information, it’s a rather slow moving line too. True to it being “a little bit country,” no one at Louie Mueller's seems to be in a hurry. This isn’t the 360 Rudy’s where you’re queued up and 8 people behind registers scream your order and toss containers of sides to each other. This is a place where you wait.. and wait.. and wait.. You keep staring longingly up at the order counter smelling the BBQ, wanting to satiate your hunger with a little bit of sausage.

(Thats me looking longingly at the order counter... )

And when I say the smell is everywhere, I mean it’s everywhere. It permeates everything. The walls are covered in the pitch black soot that's accumulated from all the years the smell has lingered in the air. But it is delectable, and it leaves you really, really wanting some BBQ. REALLY.

But, the people in line are friendly. And when you finally do get to the front of the line, you see the grand old hand-written menu that’s served this place so well over the decades.

This is the smoker where the magic happens (or at least where the magic is kept). I’m not sure whether this is the actual smoker they use now. When we were there, they pulled parchment wrapped bundles of meat out of the smoker. But it sure adds a nice effect.

So Louie Mueller’s has been operating in Taylor for almost 50 years. And, to be honest, it doesn’t look like this place has changed much in 50 years. Soda’s and ice cream are still served out of old timey coolers. You truly feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

Ambiance, however, is only part of the equation for a good restaurant. 'What about the food,' you ask. Well that’s where things start to fall a little flat. 'What's the BBQ at Louie Mueller's like,' you ask (you're a persistant rhetorical questoner, aren't you)? No matter what type of meat you get, the answer is always the same. Its incredibly greasy, but very tasty.

I've eatten a lot of BBQ in my life, BBQ from all over the country, too, and I've never encountered a greasier BBQ in my life. Even the turkey managed to be greasy, and thats a feat! You kind of look past all the grease and enjoyed the BBQ anyway, though. Maybe its because you waited in such a long line that you refuse to believe this BBQ will be bad. Maybe its because you've waited so long and are so hungry that the paper wrapper would taste good. I'm not sure what it is, but ultimately, the greasy BBQ does taste good. Be forewarned, though, if you eat too much, too quickly, you WILL regret it later. The grease has mind of its own and tends to expand rapidly with no warning.

All the meat, brisket, sausage, ribs, and turkey (oh yeah, we totally tried everything), had a deliciously oaky flavor that perfectly complimented the smell of the restaurant. I particularly enjoyed the smokey jalapeno sausage. It had a dense liver-like texture that was enjoyable and the flavor was strong without being too overpowering. The sides were all rather forgettable, but you had to eat them to keep the grease to food ratio in your stomach from reaching critical levels.

While we ate, we enjoyed the ambiance of the place. Including the wall of soot covered business cards that has probably been there since the beginning of time (we even added ours to the display).

Also be warned, if you venture here in the summer, you will sweat like a pig. Louie's doesn't have AC, just these giant (and surprisingly photogenic) fans.

All in all, a great atmosphere, slow service, and ok BBQ. I like it well enough, but will I go back? Probably not.

~Mariah: 7