The Miller’s and the LA Barbecue
The nice trip of our good Faustino in the United States have come to an end and this is the fourth and last episode of his Texan barbecue reportage. His intention was to not do the classic BBQ tours among the various US states but to focus on one in particular and try to really know, to eat local specialties every day for lunch and dinner in as many joints as possible so to have at the end of the holiday a credible, accurate and less touristic idea of what an inhabitant of that area really conceives with the term “barbecue”. Among the many possible areas, he chose Texas, which means pure beef, SPG (Salt Pepper and Garlic) as the only conceivable rub, Beef Ribs, Texas Links and of course the mythical Brisket. This experience has led him to try the most famous Joints at the side of the lesser-known ones by giving you an in-depth idea of what the BBQ’s average bid in Texas is. For the benefit of those who read, Fausto has made a ranking of everything he saw and ate, expressing a vote from 1 to 5.
In the previous episodes, Fausto visited first the Salt Lick and the Snow’s BBQ, and then moving to Kerlin and Kreutz Market and finally taste the Black’s Barbecue, same in Lockhart and heading to north, to Taylor at Louie Mueller. In this last step Fausto stopped in Belton for trying the Miller’s Smokehouse on the way to get back in Austin where he tasted a relatively recent joint, the LA Barbecue.
Once we left Louie Mueller we continued our way north of Austin towards Belton, a small village on whose main street in a new and beautiful building is Miller’s. Both this and the next stage in the program, LA Barbecue are joint born a few years ago and unfortunately this is reflected in all its evidence: these are all-round restaurants, furnished in a modern style that some would call “industrial” to understand us, with the bricks and the pipes at sight. The tables, the windows, the counter, everything was precise and immaculate, maybe too much, ending to be cold and detached. He seemed to eat in Italy at Roadhouse
The menu is the classic of the joint, as well as the service: order at the counter and then looking for the place with the tray in hand. Two things have been warmly recommended by Miller: the desserts and the jerky for which he is famous. We didn’t get he dessert unfortunately, we ate out of time and reserved room only for the barbecue while thad eaten he Jerky and it was even good but it was sold at the counter in bags. Nothing that particularly looks as homemade, in short. Miller impressed us with the extreme cleanliness: a new restaurant is fine, but here they were particularly careful about this, so far above average
We tried two tastings of the classic turkey and brisket, which seemed to be a choice of many and we must unfortunately confess to being quite disappointed by both. Discreet anyway, but for sure nothing for which I would go the way back to here.
I LIKED: This is an extremely clean and orderly place to the standards of American barbecue joints
I DISLIKED: –
LA Barbecue is just a short distance from Kerlin, the joint where our friend Chieffari worked. It was Mauro then to warn us of a couple of oddities that happen among Austin’s joint: the queue outside the venue is seen as the best advertising possible and the locals they know they’re going to be sold out, they do nothing to avoid it, rather they almost want to seek it. At the moment it seemed to me an exaggeration and instead I have to say that the good Mauro told an absolute truth: outside LA Barbecue there was a very long line and we put more than two hours to get to the entrance unless we discovered, walking over the threshold, that the restaurant was only half full and that the bar personnel set up a “slowpoke” speedy service with obvious intention. Really shameful. For the rest, it is worth the same talk of Miller: new restaurant and a cold and distant atmosphere, much close to a restaurant, even with a small mini market at the entrance.
On the menu nothing special then other restaurants, which could suggest a variation to the classic tasting combo. We decide to try Brisket, Pork Ribs and Turkey.
I have to say that despite the disappointment of the two-hour unnecessary queue, judgment on the pork ribs can only be extremely positive: really good, juicy, very tasty. Even the Brisket was good, maybe just a step below. We did not like the turkey at all: no smoke, no flavor, nothing that let us suggest any possible barbecue cooking. It looked like boiled turkey.
PORK RIBS: 5
I LIKED: –
I DISLIKED: The line created by purpose is a shameful thing
The texan tour of Faustino ends, unfortunately not in the best way. In return, experiences such as those of Black’s, Louie Mueller, or Kerlin will remain in memory for a long time and define a point of arrival for those who, like Fausto wanting to venture between the Texas joint offer. But Fausto’s reportage does not end here: before returning home he visited two great names that made history of American barbecue but located in other states. Curious? You just have to wait for the final bonus track of this fantastic tour.
Waiting to find out who we are talking about, have you ever been to Miller and LA Barbecue? Do you agree with Fausto’s review?