Fifteen years ago Willie Lane had a good job tending the overnight fires at Green Mesquite barbecue over on Barton Springs Road. He had lived in South Austin since 1949 and his brother was the manager of the old barbecue joint. Now he’s sitting under a tree in Bouldin Creek, nursing a cold tall boy of beer and standing guard over a brand new food trailer soon to be emblazoned JMueller BBQ.

As I approach the darkened lot I notice what I take to be a group of hobos sitting off to one side. Spidey sense is not tingling so I pay them little heed. Til one man peels off, hails to me and approaches.

I allow as how I’m here to do no harm, just noticed the new addition to the lot and wanted to snap a picture or two.

Willie, as it turns out, is in a loquacious mood and he discourses for a few minutes on his place in the barbecue culture of Austin. I listen carefully as this is how I’ve garnered some of my best stories but all the while I’m appraising the food trailer and its significance in Austin’s here and now.

It looks like this is going to be where the rubber meets the road. After months of careful planning, endless speculation and a series of fits and starts that could try the patience of a saint, the new John Mueller Barbecue is damn near ready to build a fire and cook some meat.

It’s about damn time.

more to come as this story develops in the next few days.

all barbecue coverage here

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