Monday, June 30, 2014

Micklethwait Craft Meats: Austin's Hipster Barbecue

Tucked away in a rapidly gentrifying area of East Austin where ever increasing rents are forcing out the artists and hipsters who first brought attention to the neighborhood is Micklethwait Craft Meats.  

Flaunting all the classic hallmarks of Texas barbeque -- a smoke filled shack, picnic tables, butcher paper, plain white bread, pickles, and onions -- Micklethwait's meats boast a black peppery coating with mild smokey flavor and in very short time this little yellow trailer has become a pilgrimage point for food bloggers and fellow hipsters with long smoked meats and a rotating selection of homemade sausage.
Maybe I am too tied to tradition but Micklethwait's sides -- I tried the coleslaw and jalapeƱo grits --seemed off. Instead of creamy slaw to cool the sauce's spice their version is crowded with poppy seeds and orange and not the slightest bit sweet. The grits lacked flavor.
Where I expected spice Micklethwait's is restrained. They sauce is subtle and though the homemade sausage was described as lamb chorizo it had none of the familiar fire of the Latin specialty. Miklethwait's meats are well cooked and boast a lovely red smoke ring but to me something is missing. Their cue is just fine but seems to lack the soul of tradition and the assertive personality of a confident (and traditionally quite opinionated) pit master.
Micklethwait's may come into it's own and take it's place among the Texas barbecue legends but for now it has the journey to go.

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