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Branch BBQ in Wells Branch: A Local Secret?

This entry is part of a series, Austin Scene»

Pork Ribs

Recently I met the spouse for a quick lunch, and we were planning to eat pho at one of our local favorites. However, Mai Lien was closed for the day (not permanently, thank goodness!), so we were at a bit of a loose end. Just down the strip mall we saw the sign for Branch BBQ. We knew the place was there, but since we don’t visit Wells Branch much these days, we had completely overlooked this one.

Time to change plans!

Branch BBQ is a small place at the east end of a small mall, one that contains Mai Lien, a bar and a hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place (which I’ll try later, of course). PJ wasn’t interested in Mexican, so we strolled down the lot and entered the shop. My first impressions included clean, gingham-topped tables and a mouth-watering aroma of smoked meats. The serving area’s not much bigger than a closet, very well-organized and sparkling clean. The advantage of such a small food delivery space is that one person can handle it all. The disadvantage, of course, is that one person can get Very Tired shoveling a day’s worth of food out to hungry patrons. Like us. We were there at just the right time, apparently, as there was no line at the server’s station. A couple of tables were full, though, and they were very quiet as they dined; smiling, too, with barbeque sauce painted on their lips and cheeks.

My kind of place.

Branch BBQ offers a nice selection of plates, with meat choices that include turkey, pork, brisket, sausage, pork ribs, and chicken-fried steak. You can also get half or whole chickens, and two- and three-meat plates are available. Everything looked and smelled delicious; and I mean everything! Each plate comes with your choice of two sides, and options run from beans and potato salad to mashed potatoes and gravy, French fries and fried rice. (Fried rice! With BBQ. Why didn’t I think of that?) Plate prices range from $7.99 to $9.99, and they include pickles, onions, white or brown bread and extra sauce.

For folks who prefer their ‘que between slabs of bread, Branch BBQ offers small and large sandwiches made from sliced or chopped beef, sausage, pork, turkey or chicken. You could also try a catfish sandwich, or chicken fried steak, or a two-meat combo; these last three are large-size only. They also have sausage wraps with Elgin sausage.

Desserts and beverages are extra. Apple pie, banana pudding, peach cobbler (a la mode if you like), cake, cookies and so on, classic dessert offerings with BBQ. Beer is available in addition to tea, lemonade and soft drinks. I didn’t check the selection, though, as I wanted iced tea.

Since we were there for lunch, I looked at the lunch specials. These are offered Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 2 PM, and include your choice of boneless chicken, chopped beef or Elgin sausage, with two sides. Price is a very reasonable $5.95; a great deal.

One unique element: This BBQ joint offers smoked catfish. Well, that’s not the oddity, exactly. I didn’t see it offered as a plate, just on their handouts (and their website), I assume by the pound. I’m not a fan of catfish, but for those who are, this might be just the ticket. Speaking of which, yes, they offer their lovely products for you to take home and enjoy at your leisure. Meats by the pound, and plenty of sides. Fried okra is available as a take-home side order, just in case you’re addicted to that stuff.

Branch BBQ caters their tasty food to events in the area. Cost is a flat $9 per person, hassle-free. If you have an event for 25 or 200, give them a call.

My overall impression of Branch BBQ is very favorable, and I’ll be back. Several of my old-time favorite ‘Q joints have closed in these tough economic times, so having Branch BBQ nearby is a definite plus for me! It’s been around for nearly twenty years, and with food this good, I don’t think it’s in any danger of going away…

Branch Bar B Que on Urbanspoon

Branch Bar B Que, 1779 Wells Branch Parkway, Austin, TX 78728. Phone 512.990.5282. Phenomenal barbeque in a cozy, casual setting, lunch and dinner, six days a week (Mon-Sat). Kid friendly. Beer available, not a full bar. Takeout available. Catering available (parties of 25 or more).

Enjoy the (Tasty Neighborhood BBQ) Heat!

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  2. Restaurant Review: Gumbo's Louisiana Style Café
  3. Restaurant Review: Chola Indian Restaurant
  4. Restaurant Review: Fujian Grand China Buffet, Austin
  5. Restaurant Review: Casa Garcia's Tex-Mex Restaurant
  6. Review: Mesa Rosa Mexican Restaurant
  7. Restaurant Review: Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House
  8. Restaurant Review Update: Fujian Grand China Buffet Restaurant
  9. Restaurant Review: Pho Viet Restaurant
  10. Sunday Brunch Anniversary Celebration: Moonshine Restaurant Patio Bar and Grill
  11. Late-Lunch Steaks at the Blue Oak Grill
  12. Mama Roux: So Good There's A Song About It, Sort Of...
  13. Phil's Ice House, an Austin-Weird Place for Great Burgers
  14. Easter Sunday Dinner: A Poor Experience at a Usually Reliable Locale
  15. A Sedate Spring Lunch at Zed’s
  16. Looking for a Taste of Germany? Well, We Tried…
  17. Fresh and Tasty Tex-Mex, Prepared by a Grandma
  18. The HomeField (Grill) Advantage
  19. Dinner for One: Sometimes the Good Stuff is Right Under Your Nose
  20. Smoky Heaven in Round Rock: Johnny T’s BBQ
  21. Tex-Mex, Better’n Sex (Says So on the Menu)
  22. The Quest Begins Anew (Just Pho Me): Mai Lien Bistro
  23. A Little Bit of the French Quarter, Here in Central Texas
  24. Quick Bites: El Caribe Tex-Mex
  25. It’s Good, It’s Italian, and You Don’t Have to Go to Europe to Get It
  26. Casa G’s for Lunch (Hint: It’s Awesome)
  27. Chola Indian Restaurant: A Good Indian Eatery Gets Better
  28. Tacos are Brain Food, and Brainiacs Eat at El Taquito…
  29. Get Your Indian Food Fix the Easy Way: Tärkă Indian Kitchen
  30. Late Lunch at Mandola’s Italian Market; Worth the Wait…
  31. I Didn’t Know Sichuan, China Included Round Rock
  32. Sunday Brunch at Pecan Street Station; Good Choice…
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  36. A Taste of Jalisco in North Austin
  37. The Great Pho Quest Continues: Pho Thaison in Allandale
  38. From New Pho to Old: Lunch at a (Nearly) Forgotten Friend, Tan My
  39. Z’Tejas, a Wonderful Place for Brunch and Clan Revelry
  40. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Round Rock: Great Meat; As For the Rest…
  41. LongHorn Steakhouse Round Rock: A New Family Favorite
  42. Salt Lick BBQ in Round Rock: More Than Finger-Licking Good
  43. Drinks and Snacks on the Deck at McCormick & Schmick’s
  44. Going Back Pho More at a Local Favorite
  45. Swagat Indian: A Disappointment With a Few Bright Spots
  46. Branch BBQ in Wells Branch: A Local Secret?
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  48. VooDoo BBQ & Grill: Their HooDoo’s Pretty Good, Actually
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