I'm a fan of Memphis' dry rubs and North Carolina's vinegar based sauce but beef ribs, rarely seen outside of Texas, are my favorite barbecue dish and so just arrived on the evening plane --I ventured out to see what the area had to offer.
In Austin and perhaps throughout the barbecue world the really great meat mecca's (like Austin's legendary Franklin -- tragically closed for renovation during my stay) are lunch only affairs. They open when the meat is ready and close when sold out for the day. Beyond that are the reliable though perhaps not spectacular joints that cater their operations more to modern style and family dinner schedules than the whims of the pit. One such outpost, Iron Works, is a downtown barbecue shack operating from a ramshackle metal building that sits securely (the building is on the historic registry) among present-day Austin's modern corridor.
I was determined to find beef barbecue on my first night in Austin. A meer 3 blocks from my hotel and still open when I went looking for dinner, Iron Works was the easy (I was on foot) choice. Outside of Texas meat like Iron Works' would probably cause quite a stir and gather a loyal following. Here in Austin it's just another spot on the landscape with fans and detractors serving absurd amounts of meat for a reasonable price.
Iron Works may not be the best ever but huddled into a checkered booth on a warm Texas night to me it was a welcome, comforting taste I'd been missing for years.