Like a phoenix rising from the barbecue ashes, John Mueller has another rebirth in store. The longtime Texas barbecue boss and grandson of Taylor barbecue scion Louie Mueller will soon be cooking again, this time at the Black Box Barbecue trailer in historic Georgetown. Owners Gary Brown and Justin Bohls will soft open the trailer at 201 E. Ninth St. next weekend during the town’s Red Poppy Festival.
The black trailer will serve Mueller’s famous brisket and beef rib, along with pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken and his various side dishes. The trailer is intended to be just the first step in Mueller’s reintroduction to the Central Texas market. His partners, with whom Mueller has been friends for decades, plan to open Black Box barbecue on the adjacent property, with construction to begin soon.
“It feels frickin awesome,” Mueller said of his return to professional cooking.
Black Box Barbecue will be the third barbecue business the enigmatic pit masters has been associated with in the past six years in Central Texas. He opened J Mueller Barbecue on South First Street in 2011, but his involvement came to an end in 2012 following a fiscal dispute with his sister, LeAnn Mueller, who transformed the business into La Barbecue. Mueller then headed to East Austin, where he operated John Mueller Meat Co. at East Sixth and Pedernales streets from 2013 until last August, when the State of Texas closed that business, citing Mueller’s unpaid taxes.
Mueller says that those who may wonder about his business acumen and relationships this time around shouldn’t worry.
“I’m going to cook for people who’ve known me all my life, who’ve read everything there is to read about me and still want to work with me,” Mueller said. “We’re gonna have a really sound business and cook really good food.”
Mueller first came to recognition in Austin, almost as much for his surly attitude as his stunning brisket, while running John Mueller BBQ on Manor Road from 2001 to ’06, during which time a young Aaron Franklin cut onions and worked the register. Following that shutter, Mueller took a hiatus from Austin before returning for his tumultuous run of the last seven years.
As for any doubters or haters, Mueller laughs at the idea.
“Are there still any out there?” asked Mueller. “I don’t think anyone remembers who I am.”
- 2016 Austin360 Dining Guide: The best barbecue in Central Texas
- From the archives (2014): The best barbecue in Austin
- From the archives (May, 2012): Barbecue’s prodigal son: After years of battling personal demons, John Mueller is back and better than ever before
John Mueller timeline in Austin
- 2001-2006: John Mueller Barbecue on Manor Road
- 2011-2012: J. Mueller BBQ on South First Street
- 2013-2016: John Mueller Meat Co. on East Sixth Street
- 2017-?: John Muller Black Box Barbecue