photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Micklethwait Craft Meats image

Micklethwait Craft Meats


East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Impressing Out of TownersLunchDining Solo
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Everyone in Austin has a barbecue spot where they bring visitors. When we’re playing tour guide, we bring our guests to Micklethwait. Sure, Franklin's brisket might be a hair more consistent, but deciding where to get barbecue in Austin is a complicated, situational formula involving variables like wait time, brisket quality, side dish options, and probably pi. And no matter how many times we’ve run the numbers, the combination of excellent smoked meats, inventive sides (plus some actual pies), and semi-reasonable wait times makes Micklethwait perfect for visitors who want to see what Austin barbecue is all about. 

It’s located in a small vintage Comet trailer in East Austin, painted yellow and covered in illustrations of leaves and chestnuts in what feels like the home of a well-to-do squirrel. 

Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

There’s a large, partially-shaded lot with plenty of tables, but this is an outdoor situation. You’ll inevitably be met with a line, but unlike their famous competitor a few blocks down the street, the wait here won’t require you to set a pre-dawn alarm. Expect about an hour on weekends, but you can minimize your wait time by showing up on a weekday or a few minutes before they open at 11am.  

The barbecue here is some of the best in town, with a menu that covers the classics—brisket, pork ribs, and turkey—plus a few items you might not see every day like pulled lamb, pastrami, and barbacoa. If you get here early enough, you might even have a chance to take on a beef short rib (they sell out fast). They’re massive, incredibly tender, and, most importantly, make you feel like an extra in a Flintstones reboot. Sausage takes center stage here, with creative options that include things like lamb or wild boar.

Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

But before you eat your way into a meat-induced frenzy, pay attention to the sides, because this is where things really start to take off. While the rest of Austin is debating between vinegar and mayo-based coleslaws, the slaw here gets a glow-up with lemon poppy dressing. And the citrus beet salad—sweet, citrusy, and with a nice bite—tastes like something we’d get at some New American restaurant with tiny shared plates and an ampersand in the name. While most barbecue places might serve Mrs. Baird’s for mopping, Micklethwait offers a few slices of fresh-baked, pillowy bread, and the housemade pickles are sliced thick to help cut through bite after bite of rich, smoked meat. 

Like most barbecue spots in town, they generally sell out in the early afternoon. Fortunately, Taco Bronco right next door basically opens when Micklethwait closes, so you can always wolf down smoked meat tacos stuffed with braised beef cheeks or pork carnitas if you show up late. And if you want more than just water to wash it all down with, pop into their other sister concept, Saddle Up, to grab coffee, wine, beer, and pastries. 

At first glance, this little acorn-clad trailer might look like a barbecue restaurant for squirrels, but if squirrels are eating smoked meats this good, we’d give up our day jobs to take up a life in the trees. 

Food Rundown

Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary


The seasoning on the brisket steers a little away from the traditional salt and pepper, adding in things like celery seed, onion powder, garlic, chili, mustard, and coriander. The result is a thick, flavorful coating that acts like velcro to the post oak smoke it’s slow cooked in. The brisket here is generally very good, though we’ve had the occasional issue with consistency over repeat visits.
Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary


At Micklethwait, sausage is one of the stars of the show. The mainstay on the menu here is a Tex-Czech sausage, which is pretty similar to the classic beef and pork variety you see at most barbecue joints, just ground a bit coarser. But beyond that are rotating specials where we’ve seen everything from lamb to wild boar.
Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary

Beef Short Rib

Beef ribs tend to clock in around 1.5 pounds each, so they’re usually something you’re just getting one of for the table. They tend to sell out fast, so make sure you get here early if you want one. The bark on this is dense and packed full of peppery flavor—but once you peel it back you’ll meet a giant mound of soft, shreddable beef that’s some of the best in Austin.
Micklethwait Craft Meats image

photo credit: Nicolai McCrary


The sides here are all scratch made and some of the best—and most unconventional—you’ll find in town. If you’re here with a large party, try them all, otherwise focus on the lemon poppy slaw and the citrus beet salad—they work the best as tasty palate cleansers between bites of barbecue. If the meats here weren’t so good, we’d consider making a meal out of the sides alone.


Desserts here are in the form of individual pies, and considering Tom Micklethwait’s past life as a baker, these are the perfect way to round out your meal. Grab the banana cream for their take on a classic, or try the coconut chess pie for something a little different.

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Suggested Reading

Franklin Barbecue image

Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue in East Austin has earned a reputation as the best place for smoked brisket in the entire country, and rightfully so.

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ  image

Valentina’s serves a beautiful fusion of Austin's greatest cuisines: Tex-Mex and barbecue.

The Salt Lick BBQ image

The single best overall BBQ experience in Austin (which isn’t actually in Austin) is The Salt Lick.

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