Texas Monthly’s barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn shared his thoughts on Texas Ranch BBQ trailer on South Congress this week. The trailer, which was formerly 12 Bones BBQ, shares space and ownership with Papalote’s newest location.
Vaughn recognizes that the trailer faces stiff competition in Austin:
The brisket at Texas Ranch BBQ would be headline-worthy if it was served in Temple, but a half-dozen other barbecue joints in Austin provide smoked meats of this quality.
However the sides at the trailer really shine, coming from chef Alonzo Sandoval (who worked stints at Vespaio, Z Tejas, Perla’s, and June’s). He uses a mix of Mexican, Italian, and traditional barbecue flavors to create unique dishes:
He rices red potatoes to get potato salad that scoops like ice cream, then adds a simple dressing and chunks of bacon (he’s emphatic about leaving eggs out of it)[...] the escabeche [...] mixes tender chunks of carrots, split jalapeños, and smoked cauliflower florets. The spicy pickled concoction is the perfect foil for the luscious slices of fatty brisket.
In terms of pitmaster’s Marco Oglesby’s work at the pit, Vaughn called out the “butter-dipped turkey breast” as “juicy and offer[ing] just a hint of smoke,” though he hopes for improvement with the sausage.
Jessi Cape at the Chronicle had mixed impressions of Bao’d Up. In terms of the basics, Cape says the restaurant has buns down pat:
The bao bread – plain, unfilled mantou – must be smooth as silk, offer only a whisper of flavor from the bamboo steam basket and yeast-activating sugar, and be moist but still able to withstand fat-laden pork belly juices. Bao'd Up's buns check off each criterion.
Cape enjoyed the pork bao and egg custard, which she described as “sweet and creamy.” She also had fun drinking the bubble tea and found the crinkle-cut Szechuan fries “on point.”
However, she was let down by the veggie bun and salad options (“an undressed pile of lonely, raw cabbage”). She found the chicken katsu dry as a side but ordered another round in gua bao form.
Overall, she seemed to have hope for the bright Mueller space, indicating that the restaurant is still adjusting its menu.
THE BLOGS — A Smoking Ho was in meat heaven at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest, hitting all 30 vendors.
- Texas Ranch BBQ in Austin [Texas Monthly]
- Restaurant Review: Bao’d Up [Chronicle]
- All Coverage of Texas Ranch BBQ [EATX]
- All coverage of Bao’d Up [EATX]