Post Mountain BBQ is in a tough spot. This tiny barbecue joint has its back to busy Highway 281 that bisects Burnet, and it’s a half block off the town square. Unless your keen eye picks up the small sign hanging out front that reads “BBQ,” you’d probably miss it, but this is barbecue worth going out of your way for.
Bill and Susie Pell have ran this place since late last year, and they have put their own touch on every item in the limited menu. You’ll only find ribs as an intermittent special, so a three-meat plate generally means brisket, sausage and smoked turkey. All are smoked over live oak in one of three offset smokers out back.
Sliced brisket here comes only from the flat. The point is separated and its entirety is chopped for sandwiches. It’s really a shame knowing how good the lean beef was. The fatty would surely be a treat. The primary flavor is black pepper, even before any smoky or beefy notes. The finish is succulent with plenty of juiciness remaining in the beef. One reason may be the way the Pell holds the brisket. At the bottom of a steam table tray is a shallow pool of beef drippings. The fat layer in between the point and flat remains on the brisket, and it sits directly in the drippings. The fat itself doesn’t make for great eating, but it provides a protective layer that keeps the beef from getting mushy.
A good version of Elgin sausage had good smokiness and a nice snappy casing, but it’s the turkey that stole the show. The black pepper is less overwhelming than on the brisket, so the smoke is able to shine through. The meat stays moist, no doubt assisted by a factory-injected salt solution. At least that what the labels said on those Sysco boxes lying around the pit area. No matter, the turkey was excellent, as it’s got to be as one of a mere trio of meats.
The sides are all homemade by Susie Pell. She stays busy making fresh batches of creamy, celery flecked potato salad and a half dozen desserts on any given day. She also watches plenty of food TV, and did a double take after she ran my credit card. The food was already in the bag, but she insisted I try her signature vinegar cobbler. If you’ve ever had vinegar pie, it has just a bit of acidic sting. This cobbler on the other hand tasted like an extra shot was added atop before serving. You need some significant sweetness to counteract all that tartness, but Susie’s recipe was up to the task. I can’t say I’d get it again, but that has more to do with the fact that I also tried her buttermilk pie. The health department insists she keep it refrigerated, but it was the perfect temperature after spending thirty minutes on my dashboard.
Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak in Burnet, the subject of last week’s review, was one great barbecue discovery in the Hill Country. Finding it and Post Mountain BBQ on the same day seemed almost unfair. Whether you come by car or by rail (The Hill Country Flyer from Austin stops three blocks away at the Burnet Train Depot), Burnet is now officially a barbecue destination worth traveling for. Just don’t leave without having dessert.