BBQ City Limits: Chisholm Trail Icehouse & BBQ

An ongoing series of barbecue reports from Austin. Not Llano, not Lockhart, not Taylor. Austin.
Chisholm Trail Icehouse & BBQ
8650 Spicewood Springs Road. 258-3063,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | © Fed Man Walking | 03.30.12
My taste of Austin barbecue has come at a price, with my average bill for one person running close to $25 for a decent sampling. At Chisholm Trail, two of us ate for less than that, with two-meat combo plates for $9.25 with two sides. But in this darkened room in a strip mall with curiosities like Chen’s Noodle House, Asia Cafe and Sambet’s Cajun Deli, you get what you pay for. One plate hit just below average quality with leathery brisket crowned by loose, wet skin with just the barest peek of red at the rim. Sausage in that loose-weave Elgin style was the highlight, hiding black pepper just under the skin and tapioca-sized pearls of fat.
A second plate starred slippery bone-in chicken that tasted like it was an hour late for the party, with yellowing fat under a skin rubbed with grains of black pepper. Neither could I find complimentary words for withering pork ribs with mushy texture and tough skin with a reddish-yellow sheen and bones that pulled back far and fell away fast, like they were trying to escape.
Two sides: Squash casserole is like Thanksgiving here, with a breadcrumb topping herbed up like stuffing over soft yellow squash, cheese and onions. For color, green beans cooked salty and soft are a change from the off-white and milky orange of thick mayonnaise potato salad and soupy elbow mac and cheese.
Dessert: Chisholm brings in its pies, but they make banana pudding themselves for $1.75. The banana flavor comes mostly from the phosphorescent yellow pudding, which left just the half-soaked vanilla wafers to fight the artificial aftertaste.
Sauce: Both the regular and spicy house red sauces were too sweet to consider for the meat. Catch the server before he sauces your plate and ask for it on the side.
Mike Sutter’s BBQ City Limits
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)