500 Tacos: Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q

A taco a day for 2015 — and then some
Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q
2451 S. Capital of Texas Highway (map), 512-329-5554, www.rudysbbq.com
Hours: 6am-9:30pm Mon-Thu; 6am-10pm Fri-Sat; 7am-9:30pm Sun.
Breakfast tacos made to order until 10am Mon-Fri, 10:30am Sat-Sun. Sold premade in the store after that.
Also at: 11570 Research Blvd. (map); 7709 FM 620 N. (map); 2400 I-35 N., Round Rock (map)
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 05.24.15
Hot food makes people happy. Hot barbecue makes people the happiest. Thanks to Rudy’s, I get to see it from the back of the Mobile Loaves & Fishes food truck I volunteer with. The four local Rudy’s are big contributors to the Austin-based mobile food charity, along with Blue Baker, Great Harvest, Snap Kitchen and others. Earlier this month, we lit the fires under the warming cabinet on a Sunday and stocked it with 160 breakfast tacos and barbecue sandwiches from Rudy’s. We served more than 100 people that day — moms, little kids, grizzled men, itinerant skaters, even a cook from another barbecue shop. And in those places where a bag of fruit, chips and breakfast tacos might be the day’s only dinner, hot food makes the difference between handout and hospitality. I’d include Rudy’s in this series regardless, for breakfast tacos and the barbecue that influences them. But I appreciate the fact that when Rudy’s isn’t serving you, they’re helping Mobile Loaves & Fishes serve others.
The taco: Chopped barbecue and eggs
Rudy’s doesn’t sell barbecue until 10:30 a.m., so this is the workaround at breakfast: a chop of brisket, prime rib, pork loin and turkey, drenched in Rudy’s sweet barbecue sauce. The sauce is a cheat, but it compensates for some of the juiciness and texture you lose by not having it sliced fresh. A two-ingredient taco is just $1.99, and I keep mine simple with scrambled eggs, even if they’re scooped out of a steampan on an assembly line. ($1.99)
 More tacos: If you’re still jonesing for barbecue at breakfast, sausage is another answer at Rudy’s. Full-size links for tortilla wraps, or that same sausage diced up with eggs for breakfast tacos. It’s spicy and fatty, with a respectable snap casing and good smoke. Rudy’s builds its breakfast tacos from eggs, bacon, diced link sausage, potatoes or cheese (2 ingredients for $1.99, extras for 50 cents each), plus sausage wraps and little sausages in biscuit dough (pigs in a blanket) for $1.99. Breakfast stops at 10 on weekdays, 10:30 on weekends, but you can buy premade tacos at the adjoining store after that.
 Tortillas: The most basic storebought flour tortillas. Corn tortillas are available.
 Salsa: Barbecue sauce is part of the chopped taco whether you want it or not. But you can customize the rest with Rudy’s Original salsa, a modestly hot pepper slurry. There’s also an overly sweetened mild tomato salsa and a tomatillo green with a citric twang and deceptive heat.
 Dessert for breakfast: I’d jump over banana pudding at Rudy’s for a bite of sweet creamed corn, with firm kernels suspended in candy shop gravy. It’s overvalued at $2.59 for a small, but at least I can say I ate my vegetables.
The 500 Tacos Project
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)