Good | Worth a Return
Review by: Devin Garza
If Stubb’s founder Christopher B. “Stubb” Stubblefield were still with us today, I wonder what he would make of our nation’s current barbecue renaissance, particularly in the smoke saturated hills of Central Texas. While our obsession over rankings and best of lists and cultish devotions to young celebrity pitmasters may have deep roots in an old culture of competition for bragging rights, the stakes could arguably be higher today as trends on social media so often help or hurt a restaurant’s business.
That being said, there are two ways you could approach Stubb’s Bar-B-Q: either as a barbecue joint that happens to have a music venue attached, or the other way around. Thinking of Stubb’s as a venue first spares it from the kind of tough judgment brought to bear on more artisanal barbecue joints that, by their existence, enter into the region’s fierce competition for “best brisket,” “best pork ribs,” and so on. If you’re looking for the best barbecue in the area, there are many other places within a five-mile radius of Stubb’s I might recommend. But you could make a case for it as the best place in Austin to watch a live show with a pretty good chopped beef sandwich in hand.
Out of the six traditional barbecue meats we ordered—brisket, chopped beef, pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and sausage—the pork ribs were by far the best. Meaty, pull-apart tender—but, it’s important to note, not until you pulled them did they fall apart—peppery and well seasoned, the fat sweet and sticky and nicely rendered (and not too much of it), these ribs are good anywhere. And they didn’t need any help from the famous Stubb’s BBQ Sauce sitting on the table.
This is more than I can say for the lean sliced brisket, which was decidedly improved by the sauce, which, despite being one of the top-ten best selling barbecue sauces in America—or perhaps because of that fact—tastes little better than other store bought sauces.
(Full disclosure: As a native Austinite, I tend toward barbecue purist notions in the Central Texas tradition, which eschew sauce for the flavor of the meat itself. When I do opt for sauce, I prefer mustard-based rather than the sweeter tomato-based sauces offered from the Stubb’s line.)
The chopped beef, made with fattier cuts and with sauce already mixed in, is a tastier derivation of its sliced counterpart. For the best value I recommend ordering a chopped beef sandwich or a Stubb’s Minor two-meat plate with ribs and chopped beef, and you can make a sandwich yourself with the “Texas sliced bread” that comes with the plate. Both options come with your choice of two sides.
As for the sides, tradition wins out: the beans and potato salad, both delicious and predictable in the best way, are not to be wavered from. A highly popular Serrano Cheese Spinach was entirely too rich to complement barbecue, and the Homemade Cornbread neither tasted homemade nor justified its price.
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|