With Austin surrounded by good barbeque, it's inevitable that despite our own homegrown urban barbeque, our ambitious and justifiably well regarded neighbors would try to colonize us and bring some country barbeque into the big city. After all, there are so many people here and a limited number of truly good barbeque joints, so why not try to cash in on the market?
The most recent barbeque colony in Austin is John Mueller's barbeque which brings Taylor-style dining into the area near the University of Texas. John Mueller has barbeque in his veins. Which may mean they're somewhat clogged, but likely very tasty. His grandfather is the legendary Louis Mueller whose barbeque has been for sale at the same location on 2nd Street in Taylor since 1959.
John Mueller's Barbeque is very much in the Taylor tradition, but he's clearly made an extra effort to be sure that he outdoes his forebearers in both quality and variety. Variety is often an weak point with barbeque joints, which have an unfortunate tendency to all offer the same selections of meat and sides and hope that their particular version of the standards will win them a following. Mueller's doesn't have this problem, as he's always adding specials to the menu - he's willing to try barbequing almost anything - and he has a nice selection of sides. The catch is that the specials aren't always successful and they tend to run out right after the UT Atheletic Department slams through the place at lunchtime.
The location is great, just down Dean Keaton (AKA 26th Street) from Disch-Falk field, within easy walking distance of UT and on the border between the Blacklands neighborhood and French Place. It's a great area for hearty dining, with Hoover's Home Cooking across the street and East Side Cafe just down the street. Despite the fact that there was never a barbeque restaurant there in the past, Mueller's seems to have found an ideal facility, an old brick building which was already grimy, quirky and full of atmosphere, with room out back for some outdoor dining. There's a great big cutting table behind the checkout so you can see your meat as it's being prepared and shout out "don't trim off the fat." Even better, it means that as he's cutting the meat the cutter - usually John Mueller himself - brings you an end piece of brisket to sample before you order, an endearing practice and smart marketing since their brisket is truly remarkable.