The first place on my hit list? Ruby's BBQ. I started with Ruby's for three reasons; the first because a dear friend used to live here and loved Ruby's. When we were recipe testing for our restaurant Smokin' Pete's BBQ, she always gave us her opinion on the brisket, using Ruby's as her ruler. It was like I was in a secret competition with them and only I knew. I wanted to meet this secret foe.
The second reason I started with Ruby's is because it's run by a woman, Pat Mares. Female pitmasters are an uncommon bunch, so what better way to begin the She-Smoke tour than with Ruby's?
The third reason is because Ruby's uses all natural meats like we do at Smokin' Pete's BBQ. They also have the brick pits modeled after those you find at Kreuz Market and Smitty's in Lockhart, TX. I'll post later about those locales, but I tasted some of the best barbecue, ever, in Lockhart (my husband was offended when I told him that. I reminded him that those joints have been in business 70-100+ years, so he should get over himself).
For starters, the sausage blew me away. I normally don't get too excited about sausage because it's easy to smoke. But this sausage was deeply smoky, with the right amount of spice, flavors, and texture. Baby El loved the sausage too, so mostly I got to eat the casing, while she ate the meat.
Now for the brisket, to me the truly important meat of any barbecue restaurant. Yes, I love pulled pork and ribs, but it is the brisket that is the greatest challenge to cook to tender without drying out.
The slices had a ruby red smoke ring, pun intended. It was good. Not amazing, but good. I had mostly center cut deckle, though, so I didn't get much of the bark.
The sides: The mac-and-cheese was also good, but I didn't care for the potato salad. Too heavy on the dressing and too much mustard for my taste. The pickle slices were delicious and definitely homemade. Lightly sweet and sour, they were lovely with the meats and sauce.
The sauce: I love the thinner, tangy, peppery Texas barbecue sauce. Ruby's has the right blend of molasses and red pepper heat. One of my favorite sauces on the trip.
They invite you to see their pit. It is the only old fashioned brick pit in the Austin City limits. Here is a smoke-filled picture.