UPDATE: JULY 11TH 2011: THE ORIGINAL OPEN DATE FOR JMUELLER BBQ HAS BEEN PUSHED TO THE END OF JULY. MORE ABOUT THE LEGEND RETURNING TO THE GAME BELOW:

It's easy to get excited by a new restaurant opening every now and again. Some young buck comes along who's good at curing hogs or some country fresh pixie makes the scene with a top flight pie she's serving up around town.

But then Moses comes down from the mount with a new tablet fresh off the smoker and everybody's nose gets opened wide.

It's hard to believe it's been five years since John Mueller shuttered his Austin operation and moved into the folklore of Texas barbecue . He'd been at the pinnacle since the day he opened and it almost couldn't be fathomed that he was gone.

Just like that.

Reminiscent of another legend, Shoeless Joe Jackson of whom Babe Ruth said "I copied Jackson's style because I thought he was the greatest hitter I had ever seen, the greatest natural hitter I ever saw. He's the guy who made me a hitter."

Like Shoeless Joe, who left baseball at the peak of his powers, only 31 years old, John Mueller folded up and the rumor mill swung into overdrive:

He's down in Bastrop, somewhere near the river, in an old shack and the brisket, if anything, is better than ever.

He's on the high plains, out near Amarillo like a pit boss version of Josey Wales, drifting and smoking brisket for hire.

He's holed up down in Durango Mexico using a thousand year old barbacoa pit and tending an agave plantation.

Now he's back.

And scheduled for a mid July opening on the southeast side of Austin

to be continued...with photos of the new joint.

All John Mueller coverage here:

http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/search.cfm?search=j