Pit Master John Mueller

Discussion in 'Texas' started by SAFE4NOW, Dec 16, 2021.


    SAFE4NOW F1 Rookie
    Sponsor Owner

    Aug 25, 2004
    Dallas Texas
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    If you know you know
    For tbose that know, a legend has passed….

    John Mueller, the legendary barbecue maverick and scion of one of Texas’ great barbecue families, died this week at his home in Frisco. He was 52.

    Mueller grew up working for his father, the late Bobby Mueller, at family patriarch Louie Mueller’s barbecue
    restaurant in Taylor, bussing tables from the age of 8, according to his sister and La Barbecue owner, LeAnn Mueller, and eventually learning how to smoke and slice meat at his father’s side.

    The barbecue master, who attended Texas Tech University before permanently getting into the business that made his family a household name in Central Texas, opened his first Austin restaurant, John Mueller Barbecue, on Manor Road in 2001.

    Mueller built his reputation on sturdy but supple brisket cooked hot and fast, gargantuan beef ribs with a soft side that belied their imposing stature, and a mercurial personality that often burned with the same intensity as his off-set smoker.

    Mueller would play up the caricature of “the dark prince of Texas barbecue,” a moniker bestowed on him by Texas Monthly, later in life, blending barbs with banter that made him an unpredictable if entertaining presence at his businesses.

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    Last year, John Mueller opened a new barbecue operation in Jarrell, about 45 miles north of downtown Austin.

    But despite his love for giving people grief and straddling the line between famous and infamous, Mueller at his heart was a classic Central Texas barbecue man who took the lessons from his father and then burned his own path through the barbecue scene.

    “John learned from dad. It was John’s heart that went into everything. He loved doing it. He had a talent,” said LeAnn Mueller, who confirmed her brother’s death, which was first reported by Daniel Vaughn of Texas Monthly. “He was really hot and fast. I think what made John’s barbecue so good is that he learned from Bobby. And he loved grandpa more than anything.”

    Of the lessons he learned from his father, Mueller told the American-Statesman in 2012, "You did what you were supposed to do, when you were supposed to do it, and you did it well."

    Mueller left Austin for several years after closing his Manor Road restaurant in 2006 and after several dark years of wandering, by his own account, returned in fine form in 2011 to open his J. Mueller BBQ trailer on South First Street. The trailer served some of the best barbecue in the state and put the barbecue world on notice that the irascible Mueller was back on top of his game. His work at the trailer helped usher in a new era in Austin barbecue, as lovers of smoked meats started realizing they didn’t need to wander from the state capital to find excellent barbecue.

    But Mueller would always be a bit of a moving target. The run on South First Street ended after a couple of years, and Mueller decamped for East Austin, where he ran the John Mueller Meat Co. Mueller bounced around over the last half dozen years or so, with brief stints at Black Box Barbecue in Georgetown, Granger City Brewing in Granger and at the Granary in Jarrell.

    The final chapter of Patricia and Bobby Mueller’s eldest child took the barbecue master to the Dallas-Fort Worth area earlier this year, where he worked over the last six months for Hutchins Barbeque, a member of Texas Monthly’s august Top 50. LeAnn Mueller said she thought her older brother had found his footing, and was shocked to learn of his death.

    “I think the older he got the more he mellowed out. This was really supposed to be his swan song. They brought him and took care of him. He was doing really well,” LeAnn Mueller said, adding that her brother “should be remembered the way he wanted to be remembered, as a barbecue legend, and I think he should be respected as that.”

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  3. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    DFW, Texas
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    Tom C
    RIP. @ArizoniaItalian and I ate at his trailer in Georgetown - Black Box - and he gave us crap for taking pictures of the que before eating it.
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  4. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jul 30, 2001
    Dallas, TX
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    Jim E
    Wow, 52 is young.
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  5. stoked_7

    stoked_7 Rookie

    Nov 9, 2020
    RIP John, he created great BBQ at all of his venues over the years.
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  6. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    Austin TX
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    Brian Crall
    Way young.
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  8. ddrewesusa

    ddrewesusa Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Mar 29, 2021
    92,955,807 miles from the sun
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    Don Drewes
    That’s exactly why I bought a Ferrari. You never know when it’s your time and I will be damned if I had to look down on earth from the heavens above for eternity saying “I should have bought the darn Ferrari”.

    Way too young to go.
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  9. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
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    I too, "found him" on the Square in Georgetown, running Black Box while I attended a weddng there...he had "SOLD OUT" of course that afternoon as always..

    He wasn't lost of course, :D :D :D

    He never counted the beers he gave away to waiting customers.
    It was about the food, always.

    It's not always easy to inherit a famous birthright and name.
    But he was his own man, always true to craft, and it was always tops.

    You didn't see any meat thermometers....:D :D :D
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  10. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Dec 6, 2002
    Houston, Texas
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    Not when you live it, like that...........:/

    Although this seems very sudden,

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