BBQ Sides

Iron Works BBQ

It’s important that Iron Works serves good barbecue. As a barbecue joint in downtown Austin, one that is just steps away from the convention center, I’d wager that more Austin visitors get their first taste of Texas barbecue at Iron Works BBQ than anywhere else. General manager Aaron Morris agrees. “Something that’s been a focus of my time here is to give the best representation we can,” he told me while I ate a plate of…

A Ranking of Texas BBQ Sides

It began as a friendly meal. I had invited my colleague Christiane, to a barbecue lunch. I really just needed an extra stomach, but a shared meal turned into a debate. It began when she called the combination of beans, potato salad, and coleslaw the “Texas trinity.” I spit out my brisket to remind her that term already has a place in the Texas barbecue lexicon, and it refers to meat. Specifically, the trinity is brisket,…

Pickles, Onions, and White Bread

In the second season of 24 Hour Restaurant Battle,* it was a battle between fajitas and barbecue. A Texas barbecue couple, Michael and Katie Hunt, were in contention for an investment to open their concept if they impressed the judges. When Katie served a plate of smoked sausage to head judge Scott Conant, a Connecticut native, he bristled at the pickles and raw onions on the plate. “She said that this is a traditional garnish,” adding,…

Best Fried Sides in Texas

With this week being Sides Week on TMBBQ, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite sides that aren’t always in the Texas barbecue spotlight. Every joint serves slaw, beans, and potato salad, but not all of them have a fryer. That’s why it feels like a special occasion when onion rings or hand cut fries are on the menu.  With confident pretension, I often ask of the fried okra, “is it hand-breaded?” There’s only so…

Pressure Cooker Pinto Beans

Memphis, Kansas City, and Boston have their sweet baked beans, but in Texas, we prefer pintos, and we prefer them savory and a little spicy. Pinto beans have become a pretty typical mainstay on barbecue joint menus, likely because the canned kind is cheap and easy to buy. And, even out of the can, they’re pretty good, but it’s hard to compare with a batch cooked from dry beans. For many, the idea of soaking the…

Texas-Style Potato Salad

Mustard didn’t come anywhere near the potato salads of my youth. Chopped celery and mayo dominated those recipes, and the only pickle flavor might be in the form of some of the salty juice. The standard Ohio salad dressing—be it for iceberg lettuce, slaw, or potatoes—was mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar (sometimes in the form of pickle juice). That’s still what I use to whip up a batch of quick chicken salad, but it just doesn’t taste right…