Friday, June 14, 2013


During a recent trip to Austin, I had the opportunity to go to dinner with my father-in-law.  He had recently moved to Austin for work and has dined at many restaurants in the area.  One of his favorites is a fairly new barbecue joint and bar called Freedmen's.  In a barbecue-rich city, I had to wonder just how this place compared to the other highly regarded joints in the city.  The building itself has a rich history and a very "Austin" feel inside the building and in the adjoining beer garden.  It was very crowded for a Monday, so we chose to sit at the bar rather than wait for a table to become available.
Due to the crowd and heat, we took a seat inside at the bar
For appetizers, they had three dollar brisket tacos and brisket tamales.  Since I couldn't decide which I wanted to try, I got one of each.  The brisket taco came with two thick slices of brisket, onions, cheese, and jalapeños.  One bite into this taco, was all it took for me to come to the conclusion that this was going to be an excellent dining experience.  The brisket was perfectly smoked, with a great bark and was very moist.  The tamale had chopped brisket and was very good, but had a little too much masa for my taste.
Amazing Brisket Taco
Brisket Tamale
For my meal, I chose the "Holy Trinity Plate" of brisket, sausage, and pork ribs.  The brisket was of the same quality that was in the taco and the sausage was flavorful and had a nice kick to it.  As good as the brisket was, the pork ribs were the best I have ever had.  They had a nice bark, were seasoned heavily with cracked ground pepper, and came off the bone easily.  To make this meal even better, the beans I ordered were seasoned with cilantro and pieces of the same sausage I mentioned above.  Generally beans are not that different from one restaurant to the next, but these were absolutely phenomenal.  At this point in the meal, I had reached barbecue nirvana.  I was full and thinking I would be hard pressed to find a more completely perfect barbecue meal.
The Holy Trinity Plate (Brisket, Pork Ribs, and Sausage)
Before were were able to ask for the check, the bartender who was waiting on us recommended the Smoked Banana Pudding for dessert. Being the kind soul that I am, I didn't want to reject his recommendation, so I ordered the dessert. I am not sure how one "smokes" banana pudding, but it was delicious and actually had a smoky taste and smell.
Smoked Banana Pudding
Since this place is fairly new, Freedmen's did not make the list of Texas Monthly's Top 50 Barbecue Joints.  I have no doubt that they will make it next time if they continue to turn out such amazing food.  This was one of the best meals I have had in months and I can't wait to take my wife.  The service was spectacular as well.  I give Freedmen's a 5 on my 5-point scale.  I was able to eat at several other highly rated barbecue joints while I was in Austin, but this place stood out more than the other stops.  Hopefully they will continue to have barbecue of the quality I experienced there.

2402 San Gabriel St.
Austin, TX
Livin The Good Life Rating = 5
Freedmen's Bar on Urbanspoon