The Dish: Barbecue Sampler Platter
With industrial redneck pride, Iron Works BBQ doles out the best, most reasonably priced BBQ I found during a week visiting Austin. It’
s a good, cheap lunch plate if you find yourself in downtown Austin and want to avoid the weekend crowds of South Congress Boulevard for some homier, heartier chow. Rib, brisket, and sausage are all very good here and the sampler platter comes with a little scoop of very good potato salad, some crisp pickle slices, pinto beans and a slice of white bread to sop up the barbecue sauce. You get in line, order a platter, pay and take your plate to your seat, with a stopover for condiments, napkins, and whatever hot sauces you need to dolly up your meat choices.
The Spot: Iron Works BBQ
Iron Works BBQ, in a converted iron works of course, is a big old red corrugated tin building decorated with the steely fruits of the former laborers of the wrought iron company. The converted space is authentically Austin, with a low-key and straightforward approach to food and décor that includes old wooden tables topped with blue (nylon) gingham tablecloths and food served on paper plates. (I wish plasticware would not be the option, as I really like silverware when I eat, but oh well…)
There’s a covered back room, like a porch, that overlooks the wild verdant growth of the river, including shady trees and vines. It will probably still be hot in Austin during most days you’ll find yourself there, but it’s shady and cool enough on the Iron Works back porch to feel like a little breather from the city bustle. Families come with kids after their sporting events, and hungry regulars like construction guys and local office workers and even some hippies and hipsters will make their way in for a plate. There’s a charm about this place that makes it an Austin icon. They have barbecue sauces for sale as well.
The Damage: $12.95
The Grade: Very Good (food); Great (vibe)
The Skinny: Iron Works BBQ
100 Red River Street, Austin TX 78701
Phone: (512) 478-4855