A San Antonio Whirl Wind Food Tour
Pastry Chef & Professor Michele E Brown
We began our spring break family vacation feeling a bit like the Griswold’s; kids piled in among pillows, backpacks, laptops and coolers, bitter that we did not leave at the early hour of 8 AM but closer to 10 AM because mom had to color her hair lest she look like Cruella Deville. Resigned to the fact that I will embarrass them no matter what color my hair, we push on our journey driving our bland, Stay-Puff Marshmallow Van thru Garland Texas, Dallas, and Ennis, Italy and beyond.
First planned stop was at Louie Mueller’s BBQ in Taylor Texas. Walking into this James Beard Award Winning joint, it hits you square in the face: smoke and history. The walls are a shade of brown reserved for a hallowed place, a place of worship. The natural casings on the sausages snap with the first bite initiating you into a club of dedicated gastronomes who take pride in their sophisticated palates, not necessarily sophisticated tableware. Opened in 1949 this establishment is family run with reverence and love for its patriarchal founder, his son and his children and the art of BBQ itself. Paper- no plates, plastic- no silverware, white bread slices-nothing fancy to see here but the aroma, the flavor- oh my!
We had heard of Mueller’s by way of an article in the Dallas Morning News that my husband had been holding for the year and a half we’ve been here in Texas for just such an occasion. Being from New York, what do we know of Texas BBQ? Not much, so the kids were expecting sticky sweet tomato based “Kraft” brand style BBQ sauce dripping pulled pork sandwiches.
Welcome to the world of intensely delicate smoke that haunts each bite allowing the meat to just cling to the bone of the beef ribs causing my 9 year old foodie to exclaim, “These are the best ribs I’ve ever had in my whole life!” My teenagers ate their brisket sandwiches so fast, I have no clue what they ate, and there was no trace left … Wayne Mueller gave me the 5 cent tour of the well seasoned kitchen space, it was a thing of beauty to behold in smoky sepia.
Come to find that many media outlets had been there before and since including all manner of Food Network folk, radio hosts, rock stars, movie stars, culinary professionals, enthusiasts and novices alike.
It’s not a small place, but not a barn either, situated in the heart of Taylor, Texas well wroth the detour, well worth the drive and well worth the experience: a slice of Texas history.