Green Mesquite. Our latest entry in the never-ending search for the best BBQ leads us to the capital of Texas—Austin.  While Austin is a huge city compared to most of the BBQ places we have reviewed, the “River City” is known more for its Tex-Mex and Margarita’s than BBQ.   As a side note, Austin calls itself, “The Live Music Capital of Texas”.  With its well-known love affair with ‘Rita’s, it is only appropriate that Jimmy Buffet wrote his huge hit, “Margaritaville” when he was in Austin.  But let’s get back to the ‘Cue…

Green Mesquite Has Been Green A Long Time

Taking an out of town visitor to the downtown area, we pondered a bit before deciding on an old standby on Barton Springs Road, near to famous Zilker Park—The Green Mesquite.  I had not been there in perhaps 15 years, and they had suffered a terrible fire, but had rebuilt.  Still funky, still crowded, with a large outdoor seating area for live music—this is Austin, after all.

The menus were handed on a large laminated sheet, with the specials listed on a chalk board next to the draught beers for happy hour.  A good sign.  The staff was very casual, but pleasant and knowledgeable.  No pretense, no attitude, just “what do you need, here’s some suggestions, we’ll get it out to you in a few minutes”, then leave us alone to chat, with the exception of filling our tea glasses.

I tried the three meat plate, brisket, turkey, and sausage, with potato salad and coleslaw.  One companion got the pulled pork sandwich and another got pork ribs and pulled pork.   The meat servings were large, overflowing the plate.  The brisket was good, tender, with a nice smoke ring.  Didn’t have a large smoke flavor but one could tell it had cooked for a while.  The turkey was moist with a touch of pepper.  The sausage was a long, thin link that was disappointing.  It was extremely juicy, greasy, tough to eat, and the flavor was bland.  The ribs were not overly meaty, but had good texture and flavor.  The pulled pork was good as well, but lacked the necessary smoke kick that sets the good apart from the great.  The sauce was tomato based and was on the table in a plastic ketchup bottle.  This sauce was very good, deep, dark, smoky, with a touch of black and red pepper, perhaps?

The sides were well done.  The potato salad, while not outstanding, was good, with generous amount of mustard, which I like.  The coleslaw looked and tasted like it had just been made before being served.  Crisp, flavorful, mayo-blended.  The cabbage was cut in large pieces, somewhat unusual in my experiences so far on the BBQ Road.

For a grade, I give The Green Mesquite a solid B+.  Good Brisket, good turkey, good sides, very good sauce, OK pork ribs and pulled pork.  The only real negative was the sausage.   The prices were very good, especially for the amount of food on the plates.  They even have an “All you can eat” special, that would have been a target in my younger days.  I am tempted to bring some college students with me next time, to see what kind of damage they can do.  The Green Mesquite is worth a repeat visit!

 

The BBQ Road goes ever onward…..

 

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