11. Do Yourself a Favor-Eat BBQ at Rudy’s!
Here’s the quick story of my first Rudy’s experience…I was on my way to downtown Austin to watch a Chicago Bears game (I know…) with my Sports Meetup pals. I needed gas and so I stopped into the Shell station off Rt.35 in Round Rock. I was pretty hungry but I was also running late and in a hurry. So, when I went inside the station to pay, I looked around to find something quick and easy to eat. I had noticed that the gas station was attached to a place called Rudy’s. I’d never heard of it and was not really interested in eating at some restaurant attached to a gas station, to be honest. Does that make me a snob? Yes? Oh well. So be it.
Anyway, there was a little warmer thing that said Rudy’s on the counter near the cash register and it had some foil wrapped sandwiches. So, I grabbed one. Literally, all it said was ‘chopped
sandwich’. I was dubious but thought ‘Hey, it’s pretty cheap and it’s right here ready to go so…why not live on the wild side? What’s the worst that can happen?’
Fast forward to 3 minutes later. I’m unwrapping the sandwich as I put the car in gear and get ready to head on down the highway. I’m a reasonably decent multi-tasker so… Anyway, I take a bite of this chopped ‘mystery sandwich’ and Oh Dear God! After just one taste of this thing, I think I must have died and gone to Texas Barbecue Heaven! I am immediately ashamed of my big city snobbery and am now a Die Hard fan of Rudy’s and Texas barbecue places in general…especially if they are attached to gas stations! Hehehe
Apparently, Rudy’s has been around these parts for quite a little while now. I did some research and here is what they have to say on their website…
‘Just north of San Antonio, at the edge of the Texas Hill Country, sits the small community of Leon Springs. Founded in the 1800s by Max Aue, Leon Spring’s cityscape changed when Max’s son, Rudolph, opened a one-stop gas station, garage, and grocery store. Bar-B-Q was added to the operation in 1989, and Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q has been serving up tasty food ever since. The same original recipes that built Rudy’s Leon Springs’ reputation are now available throughout the Southwest. Our pits are 100% wood fired with oak, a slower burning wood than the mesquite used by others. Along with time and oak, we cook with a dry spice that ensures each plate of Rudy’s Bar-B-Q is perfectly ready for you. Apply some of our famous “Sause” and dinner is served.’
Here’s some of that ‘Sause’ they mention. Both are kinda sweet and spicy and neither is too hot..just right if you ask me!
Rudy’s menu, as well as their decor, is ‘down home’ and un-fussy. The meat is insanely tender and melts in your mouth! So far, I’ve had the brisket and the pulled pork and both were To Die For! That Green Chile Stew on the menu sounds intriguing…may have to try that soon. You can get some coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob…that sort of thing…to go with your meal. Don’t forget to grab a cold beer or pop from the giant ice tub on your way up to the counter!
Between the simple and hearty menu, American (and Texas, of course!) flags, football banners, and beer signs hung all over the place, and the big communal tables with red checkered plastic covers, the whole vibe is Truck Stop Picnic! So far, I’ve been to the Rudy’s in Round Rock and the one in Waco and they are pretty similar in style and the excellent quality of the food. The price is right and the service was very friendly at both joints, just like at most places in this state. I think Texas has really spoiled me that way. Thanks alot, Texas! Well, I’m addicted so I plan to hit more Rudy’s whenever the opportunity presents itself. I recommend you do the same…but only if you love good food, of course! ;P