La Barbecue, one of Austin’s best barbecue spots, isn’t opening that Los Angeles food truck anymore that was originally announced last year. Barbecue powerhouse LeAnn Mueller and Ali Clem revealed the nixed move to Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn on his podcast Fire & Smoke before the holidays.
Los Angeles County “doesn’t allow you to have offset smokers because of emissions,” as Mueller explained, “so that’s a huge problem if you’re going to try to open a barbecue place downtown or in the Arts District.”
Mueller and Clem cited problems that smoked meats spot Pearl’s BBQ encountered, which had been shut down earlier this year by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, because of its offset smokers. Vaughn referred to the city’s “underground barbecue scene”
Mueller and Clem had originally planned on bringing out its bright yellow food truck to the West Coast. However, those offset smoker regulations, plus how expensive a commissary would be ($7,500 before electricity, as Mueller said) and how many smokers they would need to make money (six as opposed to the single one they already had), made them realize it wasn’t time for a Los Angeles La Barbecue.
When it comes to Austin, Mueller would want to expand the business and open a location where she could sell alcohol and offer a nighttime menu, but the current indoor location at Quickie Pickie on East Cesar Chavez in Holly is great for now.
Elsewhere on the podcast, Mueller and Clem talked about feminizing barbecue, how they like being hands-on with barbecue, that 40 North barbecue-pizza-calzone collaboration, and if frosé pairs with barbecue.