There’s some life at John Mueller’s old lot at 6th and Pedernales in Austin. M-Train BBQ opened quietly last Friday to “test the waters,” as owner Mikey Perez puts it. A new food truck and a new trailer-mounted, custom-built smoker now sit in the lot behind Kellee’s Place (a bar owned by Perez’s uncle). It’s the first time Perez has owned a barbecue business, but he’s had plenty of experience working with John Mueller for several years. “I learned a lot from that man,” Perez told me, but stresses he’ll keep the books in order. “I wanna make this 100% legit.”

Ignore the old trailer parked in the corner of the lot and the pile of chained-up picnic tables. Those are pieces left over from John Mueller Meat Co. after it was seized by the state comptroller’s office in late August for non-payment of taxes. At the time Mueller vowed to reopen and told me “I’m never as dead as people think I am,” but John Mueller Meat Co. seems to be done for now.

Perez describes his cooking style as similar to Mueller’s, but maybe a little simpler. The pork ribs won’t get the sticky sweet glaze, and the pulled pork will come without sauce, too. “I’m basically doing what he did, but with more consistency,” Perez told me. A little mesquite will get mixed in with the oak, too. As for sausage Perez says, “I don’t have time to buy a sausage machine and crank it out every morning.” He’s a one man crew right now, so he’s starting slow.

Perez used a barbecue competition in Giddings over the weekend to help build some confidence. He placed 14th in brisket out of 63 entries. “I was told I was one of three teams that did a salt and pepper rub.” I guess you could call him a purist.

“It’s been a struggle,” Perez said of the last few months. He left John Mueller’s after July 4th, because, he said, “It didn’t seem right to me, so I had to take off on my own.” He was working odd jobs while getting his new trailer in order, and is excited to sell some barbecue. Now, he just needs an “open” sign.

M-Train BBQ
2500 E 6th St.
Austin, TX 78702
Open Thurs-Mon 10:30-Sold Out (ignore the incorrect hours on the FB page)