I abhor take-out.

I never, ever get food to-go.

It defeats the purpose of dining out; getting out of the house and enjoying a nice meal in a nice restaurant or even (most of the time) sitting on a diesel fuel-stained blacktop curb and eating a taco off a greasy wrapping paper. Some of the greatest conversations I’ve ever had were with rank strangers eating in weird places that nobody else considered dine-worthy.

I take my pleasures where I find them. But when a friend showed up unexpectedly with a styrofoam box filled with brisket from Micklethwait Craft Meats, I didn’t fly into a rage and start cursing the very concept of to-go food. I hunkered down.

I’ve reported on pit boss Tom Micklethwait before here http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2012/12/21/2012-Year-End-Review-The-Best-Austin-Texas-Barbecue-You-Never-Heard-Of-Micklethwait-Craft-Meats?adminview=true but unfortunately the brisket wasn’t ready on my first visit. I dined sumptuously, but my experience was beef-free. Now I can expound more fully.

With John Mueller’s second exodus from the Austin barbecue scene the Scrumptious crew has been at loose ends. His former disciple John Lewis is doing good work down in Bouldin Creek but we haven’t been spending as much time in south Austin recently. We need a top flight East Austin meat fix.

We got it.

Micklethwait’s brisket is not to be underestimated. The bark is rugged, beautifully seasoned and redolent with Bastrop County oak smoke. Riding just underneath the hide is a pearlescent layer of melty fat, giving way to a deep vein of delicious, ruddy-red lean. The pit boss gives deep justice to the institute of Texas steer as food.

We’ve got it good these days in Austin for brisket and this is as fine a version as you’re likely to find.

Micklethwait’s doing business the right way. He’s making all his sides from scratch and stuffing his own hog guts casings with everything from duck to pork to beef. Would that all local barbecue outfits were that industrious.

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