BBQ City Limits: Danny's Bar-B-Que

An ongoing series of barbecue reports from Austin. Not Llano, not Lockhart, not Taylor. Austin.
Danny’s Bar-B-Que
1814 Harvey St. 236-0858, no active website.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
UPDATE: Danny's Bar-B-Que has closed, replaced in the same spot — with the same cook — by Ed's Barbecue. Read that report here.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 03.28.12
Put wheels on this yellow-and-red cinderblock stackhouse with the saggy awning out front and you could call it a trailer. It feels temporary, a carnivore’s ice cream stand at the edge of a residential neighborhood. Except Danny’s beat the trailer crush by almost 20 years, smoking brisket, pork, sausage and mutton over oak in a pit out back.
A groaning styrofoam box with four meats and two sides is $10.89. The cutter had loaded Elgin sausage before I finished naming my quartet, because everybody gets it. But I had my heart set on mutton to round out a plate of pork roast, pork ribs and brisket, and so we settled on two extra dollars for the sliced half-link. The skin had caramelized and contracted, concentrating the fat and grain for an even drier Elgin experience.
Chopped into rough pieces with a shell as dark and shellacked as jerky, the mutton was about as challenging as jerky to eat, charred to strap leather over gamey yellowed meat. An acquired taste in non-acquisition mode. Pork ribs carried a similarly rugged character, deep red rather than black, and at least chewable with pork’s familiar fatty redemption instead of mutton’s exotic shock.
Danny’s scored a solid hit with pork roast cut from a football-sized section roasted and smoked like a root vegetable. It glowed coral pink and white inside and stayed true to its beast with a porkchop’s flavor profile. Danny’s brisket was both soft and elastically chewy, as if it were the alternate-universe version of the flake-apart dry briskets back on regular earth. I wouldn’t eat a few of the knobby cuts because they were shagged out in mostly uncooked fat. It might have benefited from less low-and-slow and more high-and-hot.
Two sides: Catering-style potato salad and pinto beans are just filler on a plate that needs no filler.
Dessert: Unless the bubble-gum fizz of Big Red counts, nothing. The man said they have banana pudding and peach cobbler, just not today. And today happens a lot.
Sauce: Burnt-orange sweet vinegar mop with onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. They sauced the whole stack before I could sing out. An extra side of it is $1, a dollar you should keep in your pocket.
Mike Sutter’s BBQ City Limits
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)