Real Texas-style brisket in Wheaton

May 13, 2011 8:29:09 PM PDT
Texas barbeque is known for its prodigious amounts of beef, slow-cooked over hardwood. You won't see much pulled pork, or even baby back ribs. And that's pretty much the theme at Austin Barbeque in downtown Wheaton, where a love of slow-cooked beef led to a business.

"I got into barbeque back in 2005 and started teaching myself how to do pulled pork and ribs and everything. I just really took a liking to barbequed beef and it's very difficult to find a good high quality barbeque beef here in the Chicago market," said Austin owner Douglas Pierce.

Pierce is talking about brisket, of course. The notoriously tough cut that must be slowly coaxed into submission after hours of smoke exposure at low temperatures. His prep is simple: just some basic dry rub, then into his Texas-made smoker for 10 to 12 hours. The result? Meaty, juicy brisket that has a charred edge and a picture-perfect pink smoke ring. They also offer tri-tip, which is more common in California. Side dishes range from Southern Illinois-influenced baked beans to a blue cheese coleslaw, macaroni or even a brisket-studded chili.

"We started practicing with these side dishes, my wife and I, several years ago and these are just the products that we liked ourselves. We went through a lot of different recipes, some we didn't like and these are the ones that we did," he said.

Pierce does offer pulled pork; you can get it topped with cole slaw in a "pig salad." There's also smoked sausage from the legendary Kreuz Market in Lockhart Texas, and Lone Star touches abound: from the obligatory saltine crackers to the sides of pickles and onions served with the brisket sandwiches. Pierce says it's all pretty simple actually. It comes down to good beef, a simple rub and a smoker that's 100% wood-burning.

"It's all wood-burning, there's no gas, no electric and burning wood only is key to the taste of the product we're putting out," said Pierce.

Over the next two weeks, we'll also talk ribs, pulled pork, hot links and rib tips.

Austin BBQ
226 W. Front St., Wheaton
630-690-0526
www.austinbbq.net

Other great BBQ places:

Q BBQ
70. S. LaGrange Rd., La Grange
708-482-8700
www.q-bbq.com

Lillie's Q
1856 W. North Ave.
773-772-5500
www.lilliesq.com

Chicago q
1160 N. Dearborn
312-642-1160
www.chicagoqrestaurant.com

Smoque
3800 N. Pulaski Rd.
773-545-7427
www.smoquebbq.com

Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division St.
773-772-6656
www.thesmokedaddy.com

Fat Willy's Rib Shack
2416 W. Schubert Ave.
773-782-1800
www.fatwillys.com

Uncle John's BBQ
337 East 69th Street
773-892-1233

Big Ed's
2501 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., North Chicago
847-578-1901

BBQ Zone
3309 E. 106th St.
773-374-9663

Honey 1 BBQ
2241 N. Western Ave.
773-227-5130
www.honey1bbq.com

Barbara Ann's
7617 South Cottage Grove Avenue
773-892-1233