Austin’s Top 10 BBQ desserts

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking
1. Moon pies at Micklethwait Craft Meats. Moon pies are prefab s’mores for campers without campfires, the natural choice for a place where smoke is always on the menu. Micklethwait’s William Ankeney builds them two stories tall, with sweet, golden crackers for ceilings and floors and dense marshmallow cream for insulation, all of it neatly trimmed in truffle-grade chocolate. 1309 Rosewood Ave. (map),
2. Corn casserole at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. This is my list, and I can have corn casserole for dessert if I want to. Here’s why you want to, too: Shane Stiles’ Aunt Sarah always brings this dish for family get-togethers. I think she does it so the kids will love her best of all. Because sshhh: It’s technically a vegetable dish, but it eats like a pudding, all sweet and rich as French vanilla. Corn kernel camouflage makes it safe for the main dinner plate. Which means you can still have one of Shay Bozarth’s Oreo cupcakes. You’re welcome. 6610 N. Lamar Blvd. (map),
3. Smoked banana pudding at Freedmen’s. Why is it that most BBQ shop banana pudding tastes like it comes from a master vat in Plainview, Illinois? Because it’s not layered like a Texas trifle with whipped cream and smoke-brushed bananas in a Mason jar, the Freedmen’s way. 2402 San Gabriel St. (map),
4. Peanut brittle at Branch Barbecue. In barbecue’s bayou of puddings and cobblers, peanut brittle is a crunchy, satisfying throwback. It’s catacombed with whole peanuts and pockets of air that weave throughout the golden candy, making it crunchy without gilding your teeth like grill bling. Owner Chris Carby makes it himself, sold in Ziploc bags on the counter like sweets at a bake sale. 1779 Wells Branch Parkway, Suite 112 (map),
5. Brownies at Mann’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. UPDATE: After 18 years in business, Mann's closed 11/25/15. They’re worth paying for, but Mann’s dense tiles of shale-topped, full-fudge, walnut-studded brownies are even sweeter when they’re free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Wrap one up and bring it back on Fridays to go with free homemade ice cream in varieties like peppermint, Oreo, blackberry or — because this is the barbecue South(ish) — Big Red. 8624 Research Blvd. (map),
6. Anything at Bowie BBQ at Whole Foods Market. The barbecue counter carries the full trinity, plus adjunct deities and sides. But you have to step away from the counter for dessert. That's OK, because Bowie is in the middle of the wider WonkaWorld of Whole Foods: chocolate and vanilla Zen cake, dark-chocolate orange brioche, breakfast bread pudding with bacon, fudge-dipped potato chips. Because barbecue is its own debauchery, maybe just a wee fruit tart with vanilla custard? 525 N. Lamar Blvd. (map),
7. Ice cream at Lamberts Downtown Barbecue. Bourbon banana pudding was a ringer for this list, except that it didn’t rise high enough above mortal banana pudding to back up its $8 pricetag. Forever the refuge of grownup inner children, ice cream saved Lamberts’ place in line. Two memorable scoops from a changing list cost $6, my most memorable being strawberry lavender and pecan brickle, the first one all pinky-finger floral, the other a butterfat easy chair. 401 W. Second St. (map),
8. Banana bread pudding at Ruby’s BBQ. If you can’t decide between the syrupy density of cobbler and the twang of banana pudding, Ruby’s puts those textures and tastes together in a bowl of banana bread pudding with almonds and tannic pecans for character. 512 W. 29th St. (map),
9. Peach cobbler at Brown’s Bar-B-Que. There are days when Daniel Brown puts a Dutch oven full of cobbler directly in the embers for a smoky afterglow. That version would rank higher. But even the unsmoked cobbler — which he threw together in 45 minutes during lunch rush — is a warming torrent of sweet-talking syrup, resilient canned peaches and compressed biscuit crust with a full cinnamon blush. 1901 S. Lamar Blvd. at the Corner Bar (map), Facebook page
10. Pudding cake at Chief’s BBQ & Grill. Pudding cake. Sounds like a barbecue birthday party. It calls to mind Mississippi Mud, except with a crushed graham cracker base in place of nuts. Chief chief Jeff Turner builds from there with cheesecake icing, then a layer of chocolate-vanilla pudding followed by a billowy crown of whipped cream. 7811 S. First St. (map),
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)