Down By The River: One Meal At Live Oak Barbecue And Beer In Austin Texas

Initial thoughts on Live Oak Barbecue and Beer.

A lot of time energy and effort has went into this restaurant and while it’s too early to issue any ringing proclamations a few first impressions can be wrought.

1: Authentic Central Texas barbecue always offers pickles and onions with the meat. At Live Oak BBQ and Beer they offer a salad.

A salad.

Of cucumbers and onions dressed in a bread and butter style marinade. Over in the South,  where I grew up, I do know the bread and butter style to be popular but out here in Texas we like our pickles dill…and we like our onions to be thinly sliced 1015s. This is an issue that needs to be addressed.

2: Talk to any Texas pit boss of a certain age and he’ll tell you you eat crackers with barbecue. There are no crackers available at Live Oak Barbecue and Beer. Bread is available if you ask but what happens if a crusty old prospector from out near Abilene wanders in and asks for some crackers to go with his brisket he’s going to try and trade some gold nuggets for?.

3: My favorite barbecue joints in the Central Texas pantheon put a good thick crust of cracked black pepper and salt on their brisket. Louie Mueller up in Taylor is the paragon of this style. Barbecue startups would do well to imitate Mr Mueller [ RIP ] and have a good assertive rub on their brisket. I found myself wanting a salt shaker at Live Oak Barbecue.

4. Everybody was friendly and happy to see us.  This is  the way we like our barbecue workers to be. The meat cutter gave us the exact slices we asked for in the exact way we asked for them. I felt  good  dropping 18 bucks in Randall Stockton’s coffers  for supper.

5: Sauce. I don’t put sauce on barbecue unless I’m at Archibald’s in Northport Alabama where the sauce is pure sorcery or perhaps  R & G in McMahan where ol’ Roy Jeffery has spent 50 years perfecting his mustard base .  So I can’t speak to the sauce at Live Oak BBQ and Beer other than to say they have it and when I dipped my pinky in it,  it was sweet.

And the meatman informed me that it’s vegetarian.

I love the vegetarians and I like to think we can all rub elbows together while we dine at a barbecue restaurant.

6: Live Oak Barbecue and Beer offers side dishes such as slaw and Borracho beans. I do not eat non meat sides when I’m at barbecue so y’all will have to judge them for yourselves.

7: To be top a flight barbecue you have to grind and stuff your own sausage links in house. Live Oak Barbecue and Beer offers a commercial grade, finely ground link that is in no way comparable to the temples of smoked meat that we are fortunate to be surrounded by.

The rumor mill is abuzz right now about a new barbecue house opening this Summer that will feature house ground and stuffed sausages. We’ll see how that plays out over the coming months.

I’ll be writing more about Live Oak Barbecue and Beer in the coming weeks as we watch this business grow from  suckling infant to toddler hood.

The devil is always in the details so we’ll wait and see if this joint is going to be a new and major player in the smoked meat game or simply another place to grab a plate of brisket and a cold brew.

Either way I can see those patios filling up fast and often.

2713 E 2nd St

Austin, TX 78702


About the stars
★★★★  Extraordinary, life changing
★★★   Excellent
★★     Very good
★     Good
Quality, price, service and ambiance are all taken into account when rating

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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3 Responses to Down By The River: One Meal At Live Oak Barbecue And Beer In Austin Texas

  1. RL Reeves Jr says:
    Mike Sutter checks in with a review of Live Oak Barbecue and Beer

  2. CarterB says:

    I added my experience on chowhound…

  3. Candice says:

    Have you been back to Live Oak now that they have worked out most of the new place kinks? They have a don’t miss “Saturday Special” every Saturday at 2pm, where Pit Boss Tom makes something special that is not on the menu. For example: Cabrito with Jicima Pico, Matambre with Chimichurri , Hatch Chili Tri Tip, Beef Ribs, Patagonian Style Leg of Lamb etc. Check out the photos of the specials on their facebook!

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