While driving between Austin and College Park we stopped at Southside Market & Barbeque
located at 1212 Hwy 290 E. in Elgin, Texas 78621 (phone: 512-281-4650) on a whim as it was getting past noon and we were hungry. Southside turned out to be my favorite of all the barbecue we ate. It was less tacky than Texas Pride and Augies, but more of a massive meat market for serving large quantities of barbecue. It was housed in a large warehouse type building with two separate lines to order
and two large areas with cement floors and long picnic tables to sit and eat.
The only real frill that dampened the industrial mass-marketing aspect of the layout was the presence of mounted animals, mostly white-tailed deer heads, but also an elk, bobcat and some other animals.
Each table had a large bottle of Southside Hot Sauce that separated when it sat, with clear liquid on top and a red mixture settling at the bottom. But with a few shakes, the redness mixed throughout and it turned out to be a very different, nice addition to the barbecue, particularly those pieces that needed a little bit of rehabilitation. It was a vinegary, red peppery type of sauce, but not has hot as Tobasco. We found that, like Mexican restaurants in Southern California that have their own distinctive salsa, the Texas barbecue joints have their own distinctive barbecue sauce which provides part of the fun in trying different restaurants. As my goal was to try and test the same types of meat at different restaurants, I ordered brisket, jalapeno sausage (which turned out to be jalapeno and cheddar sausage), and pork ribs, with a side of potato salad. Judy ordered mutton ribs with sides of baked beans and potato salad. She won.
Her mutton ribs were so good that I want back for one of my own and I did a post on them alone, by far my favorite barbecue item of the trip and all-time. The brisket was very different, but good. It was more reminiscent of slices of fatty pot roast, not quite as moist as the prior brisket we'd eaten,
but very good in its own different way. I don't know that I would rate it higher or lower than the others, but kind of like with good cheeses, just different. The pork ribs were a little less fatty and not as moist as those at Augies.
This was where the nice hot sauce came in handy, it added some zip to them. I would not have guessed that hot sauce on barbecue would be good, but it is. The jalapeno and cheddar sausage was amazing.
It was cooked a little more than I would have liked, it was a tad bit leathery, but the mixture of cheddar cheese with the jalapenos provided a smoothness and creaminess, with a jalapeno zip, that gave me a near ecstatic experience.
I've just been looking on line at how to order some and have it delivered to our home, along with some mutton ribs. Amazing, amazing. I didn't know that addiction could come on so quickly. In addition to a mutton rib that I went back to order,
I got a beef rib. It was not as good as some beef ribs I've had, I prefer them a little more fatty and moist, but it had plenty of meat and a nice smoked flavor.
It far surpassed the very poor beef ribs I had at Augies and the one at Southside had much more meat than the two I had at Augies combined.
Fortunately we ate early in the afternoon and had the rest of the day to let this gut-busting food frenzy settle. As Judy said to me later, it is a good thing you don't live in Texas. I loved the lack of tack, the massive lined-up picnic tables, enough room to feed the multitude, and the meat wrapped in brown butcher paper with plastic utensils that were mostly for show on the sides as my hands and mouth did virtually all of the damage. We had tried to go to Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, the night before and they had sold out before we arrived. It had been featured on Triple D and I was very disappointed to miss out on it. But Southside made up for it. I have learned since that Taylor and Elgin are in the heart of the Central Texas barbecue belt. I want to go back to Southside again, and I want to try some other joints in that area.