Austin >Food & Dining >
Catering >Iron Works Barbeque
100 Red River St, Austin, TX | Directions 7870130.261825 -97.738840
Neighborhoods: South River City, Greater South River City
The Iron Works barbecue's home is in the historic Weigl Iron Works building, which was designated as an historical monument in 1982. Since 1978, it has been used to serve the legendary official Texas barbecue. The Iron Works is visited each year by thousands of dignitaries, celebrities, officials and visitors from all over the USA, in addition to local fans. It should be at the top of your list of places to enjoy.
We were sad to find that an Austin icon has chosen to rest on its laurels. Being next to the convention center likely brings in fresh “meat,” but for folks who know what both good and mediocre Texas BBQ is all about, this place was bottom of the barrel.
Fact – They don't offer a combo plate. Really?! You have to be standout great to operate like the Soup Nazi, and even then it only makes sense to offer what many customers want.
Fact – You can't order less than 4 pork ribs. Really?! Why choose to exacerbate the no-combo oversight with such a silly requirement. The choice was simple – “No thanks.” to their rude insistence that we order more than we wanted.
Experienced Opinion – The brisket was terrible. We opted for moist because we find that it has more flavor than lean, and while it was very fatty, it offered absolutely no flavor. None?! Really?! Our best description was if you took a piece of unseasoned (and clearly un-smoked) meat and boiled it, you might be able to reproduce what was offered to us. Thankfully there was some hot vinegary BBQ sauce to soak it in, otherwise we couldn't have choked it down. It also helped knowing that Rainey Street was our next destination and that some trendy food trailers were waiting.
Conclusion – There are too many great BBQ joints in Central Texas and even in Austin to waste time giving Iron Works a second chance. Of course we were disappointed for ourselves, but almost as much we're disappointed that so many BBQ virgins will continue to flow out of the convention center and keep this Austin icon afloat. We just wish Iron Works would choose to impress them and give them a true experience of Texas BBQ. Maybe with enough constructive feedback they will.
Tourist Trap – Dear BBQ fans across Texas,
Iron Works BBQ is the most over rated BBQ joint in town. Not only is Iron Works mediocre at best, their customer service is down-right awful. If you are visiting Austin for a short-time please do yourself a favor and check out Rudy's, Franklin, or Live-Oak BBQ.
Don't be fooled by their history or the pictures of celebrities. It fools only the unsuspecting tourist.
Do not go here if you have a group of more than two people since their parking is horrendous. Let me repeat.Their parking policy is absolutely ridiculous. I once parked across the street for dinner in a designated Iron Works parking spot only to have my car towed. Apparently, this is not something new. Iron Works is notorious for towing their own customers.
Do not go here if you like BBQ. My beef-rib plate was dry and the sauce tasted like Chef Boyardee sauce. The beef-rib plate was also pricey at a whopping $14.00 per plate.
Very good bbq – This is a pretty good BBQ place, even by Texas "standards". I'd rate it a 4.5 but there are no half-stars. It surprised me how few people in Austin have actually been here, when I talk with them about BBQ.
Service is usually pretty fast, the brisket and sausage are great and never dry and of course you can ask for leaner or fatty cuts. It didn't make the Texas Magazine for 50 greatest BBQ's in Texas, but you have to know those ratings are not exactly spot-on.
There is a nice big deck in the back and usually plenty of seating. It's right near the freeway, so its easy in-out here.
Be aware its closed on Sundays and their parking lot is tiny, so you have to park across the street or down the street. These are probably the two worst things about the place.
Best BBQ Downtown – This place is MUCH better than Stubbs. If you're in downtown and have the choice, no question, go to Iron Works rather than Stubbs. Just be aware that you order at a counter and carry your food to the table, so don't expect to be waited on.
I had the brisket plate and really enjoyed it. It wasn't quite as good as Rudy's is, but it was very good. The BBQ sauce is excellent. You have an option of original or spicy. I liked them both. I hear the ribs are great.. I'll try those next time.
No Frills, Good BBQ – Iron Works is a no frills restaurant with great tasting bbq. You walk in, order off the menu on the board, and get a paper plate with your food and plastic tray to take it to the table. Nothing fancy about the decor and on a busy night expect to be seated family style at one of the long rows of wooden tables. The main attraction here is the food and it tastes great. Pork ribs were tender and juicy---not falling off the bone but still very good. I preferred their beef rib which was also tender and tasted great. Location-wise there is not much around it and the parking lot is small but there are lots across the streets. During my stay I went to Iron Works and Salt Lick in Driftwood (about 20-30 mins from Austin) and both were enjoyable for their own personalities.
Good but NOT GREAT – We have read about this place for years and was really expecting it to be something really SPECIAL. NOT!!
Really good BBQ, especially the beef ribs – I was very pleased with Iron Works this past Friday night. Very much like some of the more remote BBQ joints around Austin, more of a lunch counter style with delicious beef ribs. Tooks the whole family plus so got to try different dishes. Hands down the beefs ribs were the winner, in fact I can hardly wait to go back to have more with the delicious sauce the have (both regular and spicy were excellent). The pork ribs were loved by all, although I thought they were a little over-smoked but that tends to be Texas BBQ fare. The sausage was good, but not great. Nothing the sauce couldn't liven up.
Side dished were there, not really sure why every place in Texas has to have the bland watery chili bean side. Everyone has it and I dislike it at every place. So many better options out there for beans.
I would have liked my food to be a tad warmer but that is pretty minor. Have to rank this as #2 on my list so far because they do have one dish far and above all others. Good stuff.
this place has the best ribs. The meat just falls off the bone. Truly cooked texas style. We enjoyed the decor as well.
BEST BBQ IN TOWN!!!!! – This is honestly the best BBQ I've ever had in my life. Every time I have family come into town I bring them straight to Iron Works to eat their famous ribs. Everything is slow cooked to perfection so that it falls off the bone. It seems a bit whole in the wall, but once you learn about the history of the place you understand why. Just know that in the summer you'll probably be hot in their lack of air conditioning, and in the winter you'll probably be cold unless you're sitting next to their old fashioned wood stove. Nonetheless, this place is the epitome of Texas BBQ. if you don't mind eating on plastic table cloths and picnic tables, then I would HIGHLY recommend eating here out of any restaurant in Austin-- you'll be in absolute BBQ heaven!!!!
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