The familiar headline says it all. You can’t keep a legendary barbecue cook down. As first reported by Daniel Vaughn at Texas Monthly yesterday, Taylor native and longtime barbecue cook John Mueller has once again risen from the post oak ashes of a former operation to find life at a new one. That’s good news for Central Texas barbecue lovers, because when Mueller is on top of his game, few surpass the barbecue that he smokes hot and fast (relatively speaking).
The grandson of famed pitmaster Louie Mueller will operate Barbecue by John Mueller out of the Granger City Brewing Company (109 W Davilla St.) in the small town northeast of Georgetown, the city where Mueller’s Black Box Barbecue trailer closed this summer after its lease ended.
The mercurial talent will serve his famous brisket and beef ribs, along with sausage, pork ribs, pulled pork and turkey, and popular sides like cheesy squash. The barbecue operation, which opens this Saturday, will run 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or sold out) Thursday-Sunday. Follow updates, along with smack talk and Longhorn football takes at Mueller’s Twitter account.
Mueller told the Statesman that the opportunity arose organically when Granger city councilman Lynn Springfield reached out to see if the pitmaster would be interested in bringing his talents from Georgetown about 17 miles up RM 971 to the small town that’s home to about 2,000 people. Mueller intended for the new operation to be a trailer, but when Granger City Brewing Company owner Peter Maurisak heard about the possibility, he invited the barbecue master to set up shop in his business. The meat will be smoked in a new 500-gallon pit donated to Mueller by Primitive Pits owner Jimmy Daniel, as Vaughn also first reported.
"The people I’ll be working with are bad ass," Mueller said. "It’s a great spot."
This will be Mueller’s fifth Central Texas stop since he opened his original Austin location on Manor Road in 2001, which lasted until 2006. After battling some personal demons and leaving the city, Mueller returned in 2012 and opened a trailer on South First Street. It later relocated twice to locations in East Austin before Mueller headed up to Georgetown two years ago.
He says that a small group of angry neighbors unhappy with his smoky operation led to his exit from Georgetown, though he holds no grudges with the town.
"It wasn’t the city; the city did everything they could for us. The city wanted us there," Mueller said. "There are a couple of ringleaders in that neighborhood that got everything stirred up."
But Mueller says he’s more interested in looking forward than back.
"I think Granger can be just as good," Mueller said.
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From 2012: After years of battling personal demons, John Mueller is back and better than ever before