This 68-year-old institution has long been hailed by smoked meat snobs as the OG spot for classic, Texas-style BBQ. Locals and visitors alike make the trek to Taylor, TX, located about 40 minutes outside of Austin, to marvel at what has been called the “Cathedral of Smoke,” which churns out masterful pepper-flecked brisket, fiery jalapeño sausage and beef ribs the size of your forearm.
The restaurant has gone through three generations of ownership, starting with founder Louie Mueller, who is now known as a local legend — and who fellow BBQ star Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ in Austin, TX, credits for first making him fall in love with smoked meat. Ask most Texans, and they’ll tell you that you haven’t experienced real Lone Star BBQ until you’ve housed a plate of ribs underneath Louie Mueller’s well-worn ceiling, forever stained with the scent of decades of smoke.
Wayne Mueller, the grandson of Louie Mueller is manning the spot, returning to barbecue after a career in professional sports and his own advertising business. He recently traveled to Japan to spread his knowledge on the art of barbecue and has mentored Billy Durney of Hometown BBQ in New York. He’s passionate about preserving the past through old-timey methods and original equipment. He’s seen prices double since 2010 and says the only reason he’s been able to sustain the business is the sudden interest in cooking methods and traveling, food as a destination and a way to travel, which he largely credits to Food Network, television and the Internet.