Where There’s Smoke, There’s Ire

Two grease fires destroyed Louie Mueller Barbecue's 1959 brick pit in Taylor this past weekend—just as John Mueller's new trailer opened in Austin.
Mon February 25, 2013 2:45 pm
The grease fire that destroyed the half-century-old brick pit at Louie Mueller Barbecue.
Wayne Mueller

In 1959, a decade after it opened, Louie Mueller Barbecue took over an old grocery store on Second Street in the central Texas town of Taylor. There was an obvious need for a brick pit to smoke the meat, so they built one, brick by brick, toward the back of the store. The business grew into one of the most lauded barbecue joints in Texas. This past weekend, that pit was destroyed by not one but two grease fires. Owner Wayne Mueller began posting photos of the fire to the restaurant’s Twitter account at 3:40 am early Saturday morning.

In a phone interview Monday, Mueller told us what happened. “We had had some smoldering action going on the last couple of days last week,” he said. “On Saturday morning, the pit was fully loaded with meat when an ember jumped into the grease trap and started the first fire.”

That fire was put out, but on Sunday morning, a second fire started. Said Mueller, “I was awakened before dawn by the Taylor police department,” adding, “before

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