America's Best Barbecue

by Jane and Michael Stern

TAYLOR, TEXAS

The great barbecues of central Texas are often secreted in out-of-the-way nooks, and amenities are scant to nonexistent. Louie Mueller's, located in a former school gymnasium on a side street in the sleepy town of Taylor (west of Austin), is one of those places. Smoke-cooked beef is cut, weighed, and slapped down onto a sheet of pink butcher paper, along with a stack of soft white bread. And while an au jus–like sauce is offered, it's inconsequential. Meat is all that matters in this churchlike shrine to the transformative power of smoke: Brisket, prime rib, and beef sausage are cooked in the haze of oak smoke, so low and slow that little fat seeps out, keeping all the moisture in. The fibers of the meat absorb all its flavor. Even the dark-crusted rim of brisket drips with protein potency. And the outer, less pink circumference of a slice of prime rib radiates the earthy perfume of burning wood. School lunch never tasted like this.

Louie Mueller's
Tel: 512 352 6206

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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