Downtown Austin is home to many new structures, many of them modern. In the midst of the building boom sits Lamberts, which is located in a historic two-story brick building with lofty ceilings and an open kitchen. On a Wednesday afternoon, there were no open tables during lunchtime, so we made our way to the concrete bar.
Detractors generally chalk up Lamberts as “fancy barbecue” and insist that it does not belong in the discussion of great Texas ‘cue. The descriptions on their menu do little to dissuade the first-time visitor. Rather than brisket, ribs, and sausage, you can instead choose from “Brown Sugar & Coffee Rubbed Natural Brisket,” “Maple & Coriander Crusted Natural Pork Ribs,” and “Homemade Jalapeno Hot Link.” Fortunately the bartender understood when I simply asked for brisket, pork ribs (they do offer beef ribs), and sausage.
A thin line of fat hugged the bottom of each beautiful thick slice of brisket. The black crust held a deep smokiness that permeated the meat and the fat. I initially peeled some fat off before my first bite, which I rescued later after realizing just how good each previous bite was. The only negative I could find was a slight toughness to the meat which could just be chalked up to a consequence of the thick slices. The sweet rub on the ribs was incredible. It wasn’t cloying, but it married well with the smoke flavor. Each rib had a deep red color with well-rendered fat and excellent flavor throughout. The rib meat was also less than velvety in texture, but not uncomfortably tough. The jalapeno sausage is house made and features a bold pepper flavor, a fine grind, and great snap. Each bite of link also had a great smoke flavor. Three sauces are offered in mild, hot, and mustard, but save it for your bread . . . this meat needs no adornment.
The owner has a sense of humor as evidenced by the menu, which pokes fun at this joint’s supposed reputation by adding the question “Fancy Barbecue?” at the bottom of each page. As far as this BBQ Snob is concerned, if it’s good tender meat that is caringly smoked over oak wood, then superfluous descriptions and cloth napkins are no reason to keep you from enjoying some paticularly scrumptious ‘cue.
(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)