BBQ City Limits: Bar-B-Que Heaven
An ongoing series of barbecue reports from Austin. Not Llano, not Lockhart, not Taylor. Austin.
A trailer at Seventh and Red River streets. 945-8970, www.bbqheavenaustin.com.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Wednesday-Saturday. But through the end of South by Southwest on March 18, they’ll run 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 03.09.12
Why don’t more barbecue places do smoked pork chops? They’re full-tilt attractions at Kreuz in Lockhart and Cooper’s in Llano, but in Austin they go begging. Leave it to Glenn and Darrell Simms to tackle a bone-in loin chop at their Bar-B-Que Heaven trailer in the heart of the club district. It’s not the monster pork chop of the hinterlands. It’s broader and thinner, mostly lean save for a ring of fat on the outside. But it’s all about the armor, and this chop gets full-body bronze from the smoke generated by a gleaming oak fire in a pignose firebox that juts from the trailer’s screened-in barrel smoker. That smoker is joined by two others for the South by Southwest crush, including a black double-door goliath big as an oil pipeline with one key difference: Nobody would mind letting it cross their land.
The pork chop is one of six or seven meats from which to build a “Goodnight Plate” with four meats and two sides for $13. The Simms make a brisket that works a safe space between mass-market and the deep, pepper-knobbed crusts of the more reputation-minded styles. There’s good smoke flavor here, but more time in the heat might have brought the brisket to a more tender place.
I traded Elgin sausage in favor of pulled pork, the trailer’s MVP (Most Valuable Pork). I’ve never seen pork shoulder pulled quite so thoroughly. It’s like floss, almost liquefied in spots, mixed with something to make it sweet. It’d make a hell of a sandwich, the pig’s jealous answer to chopped beef, but as a stand-alone meat it’s more processed than I want my pork. Ribs, for example, are best when they’re left mostly alone, like Macaulay Culkin in that movie if his parents’ empty house had been on fire with him in it. The smoke leaves behind a mahogany shell and a coronal ring that paints the ribs like bacon.
Two sides: If you can work a fork with one hand and hold a carryout box in the other, knock yourself out with food-service pinto beans and sweet, chunky mayo-mustard potato salad. Come to think of it, it can’t be any harder than walking and texting. Unless you’re trying to do all those things at once. Grab napkins.
Dessert: The trailer usually has banana pudding or cobbler in the fridge, but none right now as the gear up for the pulled-pork sandwich mobs of SXSW.
Sauce: The Simms family makes its own straightforward vinegar red as smooth and sweet as the guys who run the smokers. Their attention counts more than sauce ever could.
Mike Sutter’s BBQ City Limits
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)