Monday, July 24, 2017

Stiles Switch

A week after the 2017 Texas Monthly Top 50 came out, my family and I planned a trip to Austin to knock out some on the list.  I book ended the trip with two joints I had not been to before and that would be Freedmen’s, you can see that recap here, and Stiles Switch.  I had sampled their beef ribs at Reddirt BBQ and Music Festival (which were great), but had never actually gone to their place.  We arrived shortly after 11 and were shocked there was no line.  We walked straight to the counter, ordered the Trinity (brisket, ribs and sausage) and a brisket Frito Pie.

Stiles Switch
Texas Trinity

The brisket was good, standard hill country pepper profile, and a good amount of smoke.  The sausage was fantastic, not too greasy and nicely peppered. The ribs were phenomenal with the perfect amount of heat and sweet.  As for sides, I got french fries which were awesome and i wish more joints had them and mac and cheese which was approved my my 5 year old.  The standout for me was the brisket Frito pie.  I’m so happy we decided to get this as the corn chips, chopped brisket, bbq sauce, queso and jalapeno was a total flavor explosion.  This is a dish I will for sure have again.  If you are stopping by here on your own BBQ Passport journey and want something a little different, I cannot suggest this dish enough.

Stiles Switch
Frito Pie

After my meal, Pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick gave me a tour of the pitroom and talked to me about their process.  I had met lance a year prior at the Reddirt festival and he was super nice then and super nice on this visit.  It really is amazing how many great people you meet in the bbq world.

Stiles Switch
6610 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78757

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Freedmen's Bar

Freedmen’s has been on my BBQ Bucket List for a long time for two reasons:

11.       It’s housed in a building constructed in 1869 by a freed slave named George Franklin
22.       They serve BBQ Benedict on Sunday.

We arrived shortly before opening and were 4th in line.  As the doors opened, people were greeted by a hostess which is something not too common at a BBQ joint.  We were seated in their bar right under an AC vent which was awesome.  I knew exactly what I wanted and ordered the Brisket Biscuit Benedict and The Holy Trinity Plate (brisket, ribs and sausage).  Once my order was in I took a self-guided tour of the historic building.  I loved everything about it and took a quick (literally) video so y’all can get a quick glimpse.

The food arrived as soon as I was done with my tour and it looked AMAZING.  I’ve been anxious for so long to try the benedict, so that is where I started.  I punctured the perfectly cooked poached egg and dove in.  It was love at first bite.  The smoky brisket, fluffy biscuit, and hollandaise sauce mixed in with the egg yolk was indescribable.  It is easily one of my favorite BBQ dishes I’ve ever had.  Reluctantly, I let me wife have the second one (they come in pairs) but the good news is I still had the holy trinity plate.  The brisket was just as good by itself as it was with the benedict. It had nice smoke, fantastic peppered bark and was a top ten brisket in my opinion.  The excellence didn’t stop there as the ribs were just as good. They had a perfectly smoked, peppered bite and again a top ten meat.  As for the sausage, it was flavorful but just a bit too greasy for me.  Freedmen’s has had a rotation of pitmasters come in since Evan LeRoy left to start his own trailer. I can’t say if quality has dipped, but I can’t imagine so considering how fantastic everything was.

Freedmen's BBQ
Brisket Benedict

Freedmen's BBQ
Holy Trinity

All in all this has been one of my favorite new places to try (I know, I’m behind) and I can no longer imagine a trip to Austin without stopping here for Sunday brunch.  If you stop by here for the Yeti Texas BBQ Passport you would be doing yourself a disservice for only going for the sticker.  Make Freedmen’s food the priority and the sticker secondary, you’ll be glad you did.

Freedmen’s Bar
2402 San Gabriel Street
Austin, TX 78705