Table Talk

Eating Texas Barbeque with Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser

The mission was simple. Kidnap Michelin-starred chef John Fraser of Narcissa in The Standard, East Village. Smuggle him into Texas. Then offer him a few drinks and escort this devotee of carefully prepared farm-to-table to one of Texas’ most-renowned BBQ joints: John Mueller Meat Co. in East Austin.

Fraser was 'in' and on a gray Austin morning, he stepped up to the trailer for some Hill Country barbeque. For the uninitiated, John Mueller is the “dark prince of Texas BBQ” — a gruff, no-nonsense pitmaster Texas Monthly describes as, “irascible, hugely talented, at times erratic.” John Fraser, meanwhile, is known for his refined, while refreshingly simple take on California-style cuisine. Both men care deeply about the texture of their respective cuisines — Mueller for meat, Fraser for beets.

Though perhaps a mite cautious about this foray into foreign territory, Fraser's interest was piqued when he peered through the window of the trailer and saw what was on offer. Over brisket, burnt ends, pork ribs, pickles, and sausage, Fraser educated Standard Culture about brisket’s origins (traditionally the cheapest cut), as well as the ostensible method for achieving the charred-on-the-outside/tender-on-the-inside results of the BBQ craft (slow & low all the way). His verdict: "delicious."

Here’s a photo play-by-play of how it all went down…

Located in East Austin, John Meuller is short on decor and high on rustic charm

Fraser steps up to the window and places his order

The spread…

Fraser frantically consults his phone for emergency contact numbers…

At last, he’s ready…

Meat coma takes hold…

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