In a city where barbecue is as omnipresent as water and air, it may seem like smoked meats have already reached their highest level of perfection. The folks at the new LeRoy & Lewis food truck are here to show Austin all of barbecue’s untapped possibilities.
“Austin has a wonderful community of pitmasters and barbecue restaurants,” Sawyer Lewis, co-owner and head of operations, said. “While we’re really respectful of that, we want to make sure that we’re pushing the envelope and educating people about what barbecue could be.”
With Freedman’s original pitmaster Evan LeRoy running the smoker, LeRoy & Lewis specializes in creative takes on classic Central Texas barbecue. The preparation and service are the same, but cuts of meat like duck boudin or pork jowls will make some customers give a double take.
“It’s fun to see how people respond to different cuts of meat and styles of food,” Lewis said. “We’re definitely excited for the truck to be a fun opportunity to get some exposure and see what our customers like.” LeRoy & Lewis also makes a point of sourcing all of the meat and vegetables on its menu responsibly from local Texas farms.
“(It’s) a marriage of the farm-to-table style of food and barbecue,” Lewis said. “Just because you’re eating barbecue doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to know where your food came from.”
Lewis said their biggest motivator is seeing the faces of customers when they try and enjoy something completely new.
“It’s so fun when you see people have a fun and unique experience that they want to go tell their friends about,” Lewis said. “That’s what we look for and that’s why we do this.”
LeRoy & Lewis mostly stay away from the classic brisket, sausage and ribs trio, but on Saturdays it will indulge Austinites by throwing them on the menu alongside more exotic cuts.
It’s a shame the brisket isn’t on the menu every day, because it’s smoked to absolute perfection. Sourced from 44 Farms in Cameron, Texas, the brisket has a wonderful amount of marbling that makes for a deliciously moist and tender finished product off the smoker.
Upon trying the other menu items, though, it becomes strikingly clear that LeRoy & Lewis can still be wildly successful without serving brisket at all. The smoked pork belly in particular is delectably sweet and tender. It’s a fatty cut, but it’s smoked to the point of the meat and fat blending together to reach an ideal consistency and flavor.
Another notable piece of meat is the duck boudin, made with duck sourced from Countryside Farm right outside of Austin. This boudin has an interestingly soft texture, which will take Texans who are used to firmer sausage by surprise. The rich and smoky flavor of the duck will make people wonder why they’ve never tried duck or sausage in this fashion before.
Aside from the main meat options, LeRoy & Lewis also offers an impressive selection of equally original sides. The pulled pork dumpling propels a simple dumpling to a whole new level by stuffing it with delicious pulled pork. The kimchi deviled egg adds a little bit of spice to a traditionally sweet snack. Even the smoked beet and kimchi barbecue sauce will turn heads with a flavor that is familiar enough to pair well with barbecue, but creative enough to make a Texan actually want to put sauce on their barbecue.
LeRoy & Lewis does a great job of expanding the limits of barbecue without any air of pretension. All the crazy cuts and flavors served at this little truck are not enough to detract from its authentic Texas vibe.