Flickchart Road Trip: Song to Song

We’re back on the Flickchart Texas BBQ Road Trip. Last time, we covered a small town to the west of San Antonio. Now we head back up the road towards Austin to cover our last spot in the state capital of Texas. There have been some great BBQ places in Austin so far – how does the last one measure up?

La Barbecue is located in East Austin, like several other BBQ spots, but closer to the river than most. There’s not much more to be said about Austin that we haven’t said already in our five previous visits; it’s hipster, it’s growing, and as we’ve seen, it’s home to some great Texas BBQ. Combine the central Texas locale with Austin money, and that’s no surprise.

La Barbecue is co-owned by LeAnn Mueller, part of the famous Mueller family that is one of the biggest names in Texas BBQ, and is currently run by pitmasters Francisco Saucedo and Brendan Lamb. It was previously run by John Lewis, who cut his teeth learning under Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ. Perhaps you’re starting to see how Texas BBQ is one big family. Lewis ran off to South Carolina to start a Texas BBQ place there, so perhaps those who live in the coastal South will be lucky enough to visit his place. La Barbecue originally opened back in 2012 as a trailer run by LeAnn and her brother John Mueller, but a spat between the pair led to John leaving.

This hasn’t slowed the place down, and it still carves out a spot in the Texas Top 50 list. Smoking with the classic indirect heat-pit method using post-oak wood, Saucedo and Lamb are serving up BBQ gold. Utilizing USDA-prime beef, La Barbecue serves up brisket that stands with the best of them. They also make beef ribs, sausage, pulled pork, as well as various sides including potato salad and mac and cheese.

I partook in a simple combo of brisket and a chipotle sausage, as well as some potato salad. This was some fantastic brisket with a nice succulent flavor. While every bite wasn’t as flavorful as, say, Franklin’s, it was moist throughout and never had a dull or dry bite. The bark was thin, but perfectly flavorful with a nice peppery pop. The chipotle sausage, meanwhile, was also excellently done. It had just the right amount of snap and spice to give it a delicious bite, though it could be a little crumbly here and there. The potato salad was a decent blend of mustard and mayo and the BBQ sauce was a nice addition, though not really necessary.

I award the brisket 4.5 slices out of 5, and the sausage 4 links out of 5. I award La Barbecue 4.5 smokers out of 5!

Our final film that takes place in the Austin area is Terrence Malick‘s Song to Song. Though Malick is not a native of Texas, he went to high school in Austin and has set several of his films in the Lone Star State. Song to Song revolves around the drama of the indie music scene in Austin with the main characters caught in a spiral of love, deception, and jealousy. Filmed in the city itself and featuring cameos from many indie musicians who perform in Austin, the film does a fine job of capturing a particular scene and aspect of Austin.

The film itself is a mixed bag on the whole. Malick’s direction is known for long quiet stretches, close-up shots of actors, and depictions of landscapes, and this film has them in spades. But whereas Malick’s best works use all of these techniques together to convey a moving mosaic of themes and deeper human moments, Song to Song struggles to connect those tissues. While there are some decent performances from a strong ensemble cast including Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, and Rooney Mara, their characters feel too flimsy to ever build any larger point.

The ideas about the conflict and intertwining nature of love and career do attempt to make some type of deeper point here. There are a few moments where it all comes together into something beautiful. A part near the end where Gosling and Mara reconcile on Enchanted Rock is a truly moving moment that highlights one of the great hiking spots near Austin. But parts like these are few and far between, and they don’t connect into anything truly cohesive.

Despite Song to Song‘s middling quality as a film, it is a highly suitable pairing for Austin and Texas. It uses the Texan landscapes well to convey its themes of isolation, passion, and love. Following musicians and those in the industry allows it to capture another uniquely-Austin part of the setting. Song to Song is a natural pairing for the project.

Does anyone eat barbecue in the film?


Texas Film Chart

  1. The Last Picture Show
  2. No Country for Old Men
  3. Rushmore
  4. A Ghost Story
  5. Boyhood
  6. Paris, Texas
  7. The Right Stuff
  8. Lone Star
  9. Chef
  10. Bernie
  11. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
  12. Leadbelly
  13. Tender Mercies
  14. Dazed and Confused
  15. Dallas Buyer’s Club
  16. JFK
  17. The Sugarland Express
  18. Planet Terror
  19. Frank
  20. Whip It
  21. Natural Selection
  22. This is Where We Live
  23. The Alamo
  24. Song to Song
  25. Outlaw Blues
  26. Selena
  27. Nadine

Texas BBQ Chart

  1. Franklin Barbecue
  2. Pinkerton’s Barbecue
  3. Terry Black’s Barbecue
  4. Pecan Lodge
  5. Stiles Switch BBQ
  6. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
  7. Hutchins Barbeque
  8. Joseph’s Riverport Bar-B-Que
  9. 2M Smokehouse
  10. Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que
  11. La Barbecue
  12. Hays Co. Bar-B-Que
  13. Smolik’s Smokehouse
  14. Lockhart Smokehouse
  15. Heim Barbecue
  16. Gatlin’s BBQ
  17. City Market
  18. Baker Boys BBQ
  19. Kreuz Meat Market
  20. Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ
  21. Micklethwait Craft Meats
  22. Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak
  23. The Pit Room
  24. Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
  25. The Smoking Oak
  26. Heavy’s BBQ
  27. Harris Bar-B-Que

Join us again next time for more delicious smoked meats and fantastic Lone Star cinema!

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