barbecue and bubbly at Freedmen's
I just recently attended the Austin Food Blogger Alliance cookbook release party at Freedmen's, the relatively new pourhouse in a historic building near campus. But, unlike most establishments in the area, this ain't your pitcher-slingin', co-ed hangout (at least I hope it doesn't go too Greek on the weekends??). Freedmen's carries some great local beer, craft cocktails, and barbecue that went above and beyond my expectations!
photo courtesy of Austin Food Blogger Alliance
I was incredibly impressed to hear that chef, Evan LeRoy, makes all this food practically sans-kitchen! Just two induction burners and a smoker, he says. That would explain the (delicious) smoked beets offered as a side, as well as the subtled smoked bananas used in the pudding dessert.
The brisket had one of the thickest cuts in town, with a perfectly peppered, blackened crust and fat that just melted in your mouth. I can definitely be squeamish about meat fat-- if it's too chewy or slimy, it's a no-go. But the fat on this brisket was just perfection. No bite left behind.
My hubby found the course-ground pepper on the pork ribs to be a bit overpowering, but I was a fan. The meat didn't fall off the bone completely but had a good amount of give to it and a nice, moist texture.
Rather than a traditional, cold potato salad, they make theirs German style, served slightly warm. It was smooth and satisfying, a welcome accompaniment to the meat. Their slaw is also a bit off the beaten path-- they opt for a grilled cabbage, shaved into fine strands, brightened with cider vinegar, and given depth with caraway seeds.
I can't wait to return and try more of the menu-- as well as their craft cocktails! Freedmen's was the perfect setting to commingle with fellow bloggers and admire the newly released cookbook. While I'm sad I joined AFBA just too late to contribute to this edition, I'm really excited about the likely second edition... and so proud of all the bloggers who contributed to this gorgeous and diverse collection!
If you haven't checked it out yet, come out to Book People on May 11th to get a copy signed by Addie Broyles of the Statesman!