Top 5 things I ate in Austin, TexasWritten on August 28th, 2021 by Jonathan Tsang
I ate a lot of food in Austin Texas. Specifically bbq and tacos. But upon living here for a month, I realized it is more than that. For one there are tons of craft breweries for wine, beer, and kombucha. The various ice cream places scattered throughout the city readily available for when the sun inevitably beams down on you. I knew before coming here BBQ was the classic, but the breakfast tacos or tacos in general might be my go-to here.
This is a pretty short entry as I prep my other articles for “rating all tacos in Austin” and “rating all bbq in Austin”.
- Migas taco from Granny’s tacos
- Horchata donut from Salty Donut
- Burnt ends from Interstellar BBQ
- Migas breakfast taco from Veracruz Al Natural
- Carne guisada taco from Joe’s Bakery
- Carne guisada taco from Tacos Guerrero
5. Birria tacos from Tunita 512
Cheesy and meaty birria tacos dipped in consomme
Crispy, cheesy, and meaty tacos with a consomme broth with onions and cilantro. That about sums it up.
These are the best birria tacos I’ve ever had. (I’ve only had them in Austin, Seattle, and NYC. I have yet to try them in LA) They’re pretty filling and not too pricey.The location is pretty barebones, but that’s what makes it good to just enjoy without extra frills. I’d gladly get them whenever I’m in the mood for birria tacos (or just meaty tacos).
4. Brisket Kolaches from Kerlin BBQ
Cheddar Brisket Kolaches are slightly sweet doughy buns filled with savoury brisket and cheddar
Kerlin BBQ is the lesser known, less renowned bbq on East Cesar Chavez (situated right beside La Barbeque). This sounds like a negative, but their brisket, burnt ends, and overall pricing being cheaper alongside less of a line makes it my go-to in East Austin.
They are ONLY open Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, and their kolaches are even more exclusive, only being available on Sundays. Waiting till Sunday seems daunting, but trust me it is worth it. I recently found out the Capital City Bakery nearby sells Kolache dough, (and Capital City Bakery sells their Kolaches for $5+ while Kerlin BBQ sells for $5 flat).
I think they should charge more for these delicious flaky, slightly soft, slightly crispy kolaches. They are only $5 at the time of writing this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go up in pricing. I see families sometimes order 7 kolaches at a time. (and I’ve even eaten 4 whole myself)
Kolaches are traditionally doughy pastries filled with sweet jams or savoury fillings but these are filled with really tender brisket. It’s incredibly good and if you compare the line-up to get these versus La Barbeque, it’s a no contest. I’m going to get these every time.
I could probably eat 5-6 in one sitting (not that I should), and bonus points for Kerlin BBQ burnt pork ends being also pretty good.
3. Breakfast tacos (egg and bacon) from Taqueria Libertad
There is beauty in the simplicity of these. I’d grab 3 of these for $6 and be sufficiently full. Located in a tiny food truck off of Airport Blvd these are (arguably) my best kept secret food place. Locals know about this spot and it isn’t getting much more traffic than that.
Getting breakfast tacos prior to noon is only $2 a taco and I love they do it the omlette style where the ingredients are mashed together. (Other breakfast tacos might just cook them separately with scrambled eggs and strips of bacon just in a tortilla)
Put some green salsa on these and they’re my perfect breakfast food. The other breakfast varieties are good too, chorizo and egg is solid, potato and egg is also good. These aren’t revolutionary by any means but they are cheap, consistent, and really good.
2. Real Deal Holyfield Taco from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Real Deal Holyfield Taco: brisket, egg, refried beans, potato, egg in a freshly made tortilla
Where do I start? This monstrosity of a taco is $12. ($9 for the taco and $3 to add 1/4 pound of brisket) This can only be created when the worlds of tacos and bbq collide. It’s a mix of amazing flavours. Salty brisket, soft eggs and potatos, a layer of refried beans, and the tortilla has a satisfying fresh chew to it.
This taco might be a meal in itself. In the land where you can get an abundance of affordable smaller tacos, just this one can suffice for a meal.
Aside from the price, the other downside of this place is located in south Austin and is near impossible to get to without a car. Also make sure to arrive before 10am or else you risk the chance of the taco being sold out.
p.s. I would argue their brisket is almost on par with Franklin’s and is only $30/lb as opposed to $34/lb from Franklin’s.
1. Brisket from Franklin’s BBQ
“Serving the best barbecue in the known universe.”
- Texas Monthly
The photo above shows 2lbs of Franklin’s brisket.
I’m talking exclusively about the Franklin bbq brisket here. I found their pulled pork dry and I didn’t even get to try their ribs. As far as I know they use black magic to make their brisket as good as it is. I could go on and on about the brisket. It melts in your mouth. It is the perfect salt level.
The worst part about their brisket? (other than it is the most expensive bbq brisket you can find at $34/pound) It is curbside pickup only right now and has a 3lb minimum on each order. (which usually can run you $100/meal) So I can’t get more of it easily. (Or else I will be reheating brisket for the entire week)
Austin Texas has some insane food. I might be biased but everything on this list is also in East Austin. I think East Austin has by far the best food in Austin.