John Mueller once stood on the mountain top of Texas barbecue. Then he fell. The rise and fall of the hot-headed Mueller of the Taylor, Texas barbecue dynasty has a new chapter being penned in South Austin.
It's been a wild ride. You know you've hit the big time when the New York Times comes calling and that's exactly what happened when rumors of the old pit boss's possible return drifted like blue smoke all the way to eighth avenue in mid town Manhattan. The Times sent one of their top scribes, Joe Nick Patoski, to Austin to investigate and Texan Joe Nick came up with a hell of a piece. "Titled Barbecue's New Battle Breaks Out In Austin," Patoski walked the readers through the dawn of Austin barbecue, documenting some of our city's ancient joints of the 1940s all the way to 2001 when John Mueller truly put Austin in the national barbecue conversation. He did it the hard way by breaking out of Taylor, Texas and leaving his grandfather, Louie Mueller's internationally famous meat house that the young Mueller had begun working in when he was eight years old. The buck wild Mueller of back then had decided to go it alone and set up shop in an old concrete block building on Austin's rough and tumble east side.
Austin collectively lost its mind as the city had never had barbecue of this caliber. John Mueller's quarter century spent in Taylor under the tutelage of his dad, Texas pit icon Bobby, had clearly been well spent as the pupil approached the level of master even way back in the early double aughts. After five years on the mountain top, the man fell. The business shuttered amongst a tornado of controversy and Mueller disappeared from the scene he had helped build. Then, in the early part of 2011 whispers were heard on the street that John Mueller was back in Central Texas and scouting locations for a new joint. Time passed and the whispers became a roar. Austin's underground media seized the story and news broke in late Spring that our city was about to have a new and major player in the industry.
After a Summer long series of fits and starts that would try the patience of Job, a new era of Mueller Barbecue in Austin officially began on October 8th 2011 when the doors swung open down in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood.