Where there's smoke

Favorite Austin barbecue joint debuts vintage Texas Hill Country roadhouse

Favorite Austin barbecue joint debuts vintage Hill Country roadhouse

Texas 46 BBQ burgers Spring Branch
Feast on barbecue and burgers at the Hill Country's newest roadhouse. Photo courtesy of Texas 46 BBQ

One of Austin’s favorite barbecue joints has branched out to the Texas Hill Country. Texas 46 BBQ, from Freedmen’s owner Cuatro Kowalski, is now open at 2 Sun Valley Dr. in Spring Branch, in the former home of Texas 46 Bar and Grill, according to a release.

Texas 46’s interior is slightly updated but keeps the same roadhouse feel of the previous occupants with vintage music memorabilia, neon beer signs, and taxidermy crowded on the wall. The front patio is open to a large lawn with picnic tables and yard games.

As the name implies, smoked meat — cooked using post oak wood on four 1,000-gallon smokers — will be the star of the show. Chef and pitmaster Austin Fry, who's had stints at Roaring Fork, La Condesa, and Hong Kong’s Blue Smoke, will minimally season meats such as house sausage, brisket, and beef and pork ribs to highlight the natural flavor.

“We are not trying to reinvent the barbecue restaurant,” Kowalski says in the release. “We just want to do barbecue well — and create a meeting place for the neighboring communities to gather, whether for a beer, a meal, or a celebration.”

A variety of other comfort dishes, including fried panko-crusted dill pickles with house ranch, a smoked salmon burger with green goddess dressing and fried green tomatoes, pork rib poutine, and a chicken-fried steak burger, will round out the menu. For dessert, the new restaurant's fired-up skillet pies include flavors like Texas pecan with a pit-smoked lemon crust.

Like any good roadhouse, Texas 46 serves up plenty of draft beer, with 20 brews on tap kept always at 20 degrees. The full bar offers seven signature cocktails, including a peachy frosé and a Texas 46 Manhattan made with pecan bitters, vermouth, and Makers 46 Private Select, a blend specially created by general manager and “Whiskey Princess” Myria Free.

Texas 46 BBQ is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 am-10 pm.