I've been all around this great country of ours, seen a lot of things, tasted a lot of food.

I love BBQ or smoked meats and always seek out the "best" BBQ joint in every place I visit.

I am by no means an expert, but I feel I have a pretty well-balanced view of the different styles of 'Q' -- been to the northeast, the northwest, the deep south, the southwest, the right coast, the left coast and a lot of places in between.

And I can tell you without reservation that the best piece of barbecue I have ever had the privilege to partake of was in Taylor, Texas, at a BBQ joint called Louie Mueller's.


From the Louie Mueller website:

Louie Mueller Barbecue has been described as a "cathedral of smoke" due to producing the finest BBQ in all of Texas since the restaurant opened its doors in 1949. Founder Louie Mueller handed over the reins to his son Bobby in 1974, who ran the smoker for over three decades before his son (third generation owner/pitmaster) Wayne Mueller took control in 2007.  It was also around this time that the Central Texas BBQ restaurant was honored by the James Beard Foundation with an American Classics award, an honor given only to our nation's most beloved and best regional restaurants.

Awards aside, the unassuming restaurant (it was quiet, we stood in a short line and simply walked up to the counter and ordered) was like how you would picture a BBQ joint in Texas -- wood tables, salt and pepper on the crimson tablecloths, BBQ sauce on tap (not kidding on this, real BBQ joints have heated BBQ sauce in giant coffee-pot type receptacles with a tap and Styrofoam cups to fill).

We (I went with three BBQ "professionals") had one goal when we went to Mueller's -- try the beef rib, or more affectionately known as the "Dino Rib," although it's worth mentioning that they had the best ice cream on earth-- Blue Bell.

We ordered the rib -- it was not cheap at 9 bucks a pound (our 3 1/2 pounder was more than 30 dollars) -- and sat down to soak in the ambiance and snack on the Blue Bell.

In short order the rib arrived and, well, wow!


We had a few sides, and the little bit of ice cream, but the four of us, all grown men, couldn't finish the huge rib.

It was smoked to perfection in an offset smoker with real Texas post oak. And though we tried a dozen other BBQ joints during our four-day BBQ vacation, nothing measured up to the Mueller's Dino Rib.

They seasoned it simply with salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic, then let the post oak do its magic through hours of smoking goodness.

I remember asking one of the pitmasters down there about the lack of great BBQ sauces and their answer was simple: "I don't want my meat to be a sauce delivery system."

Truly, it was meat so good you didn't need sauce.


For more on great BBQ and the different styles in the USA, go to this site in thrillist.

Cattle is king in central Texas and the meat stands alone, “naked” without sauce. “Our style is no different than a steakhouse, other than the method we use to cook our meat,” says Wayne Mueller, owner of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas.


Gallery — Every Movie Theater Candy, Ranked:


More From KDXU 890 & 92.5