I’ll bet when most Austinites hear the name “Hoover’s” they think about the ultra-delicious, downhome goodness of Hoover’s Cooking on Manor. Let me tell you… those shrimp & grits… oooh boy. (By the way, did you know that Hoover’s has been around for 15 years now? Quite the milestone!)
What a lot of people might not realize is that right across the street, a second Hoover’s mini-outpost has popped up, focusing on barbecue rather than all-encompassing southern food. I’d been noticing the trailer every time we hit up Mi Madre’s for brunch (which, let’s be honest, is almost every weekend) but hadn’t quite found the time to check it out, so I was super lucky to be invited to a tasting with a handful of fellow food bloggers last week.
If you couldn’t tell by the name, Hoover’s Texa Mexi Que isn’t your average southern BBQ. It draws inspiration from Austin’s famous Tex-Mex scene, and let me tell you: The hybrid works.
All mentions of food aside, one of the highlights of Hoover’s – the restaurant or the trailer – is the man, Hoover, himself. He’s such a warm soul and just so Austin: all about indulging in southern eats and having a great time, but also really conscientious about cooking the right way, using fresh, healthy ingredients and incorporating slow food techniques. It’s obvious that he cares a ton about the community here and fostering a happy environment in which to enjoy his cooking. His passion and care is just contagious.
Let’s talk about beef. The brisket and chopped beef were both tender and excellent. The skin-on potato salad served with the brisket was the perfect amount of cool and creamy, and of course the crisp cole slaw was an awesome complement to the soft, sweet-and-spicy chopped beef sando. We tried two different kinds of beans with our beef – basic baked beans and some jazzed up cowboy beans. Both were good, but I was partial to the cowboy. Yee haw!
Here’s what I looooove about Hoover’s sausage: it’s made from chicken and it’s nitrate free! (I’m one of those picky “nitrates are terrifying” people who always checks the back of the packages before buying bacon, sausage, deli meats, etc.) It was rich without being overly greasy or fatty, and it had a great spicy-sweet flavor to it. Here’s where the “Mexi” part comes in – the sausage is served with BBQ sauce as well as a couple different kinds of salsa (try the verde salsa made with avocado!) and a nice chimichurri. You can swaddle your sausage in white bread, wheat bread, corn or flour tortillas, or even sweet kolache rolls. Talk about options!
The pork tenderloin and smoked turkey were both tender, lean, and… to use a word we all hate… moist! Sorry. I think the turkey was one of my favorite meats. It’s honestly hard to say, though, because everything was so tasty.
Of course, it’s not allllll about the meat. I’m a big sides-lover when it comes to BBQ and Hoover’s doesn’t disappoint. What I especially appreciate is the healthy, fresh options instead of cream and butter laden mac and cheese, greasy casseroles, etc. (Not that I don’t love that stuff, but I never feel that great about myself after eating it, you know?) All of these sides were fantastic: beets, two types of greens – classic collards with ham and collards braised in apple cider vinegar with sweet potatoes – and Texas caviar, which I’m always fond of. Gotta love some black-eyed peas! (Both the band and the food. In this case, the food.)
What did we wash this down with? No basic iced tea, no sir. We sampled both watermelon and beet agua frescas (both were great and super refreshing, especially the watermelon) and frozen lemonade! Another one of my favorite things. Oh Hoover, how did you know…
Dessert was banana pudding, which was as creamy and sweet as any good southern banana pudding should be… but let’s be real, there was no time to snap a shot of that before it was quickly devoured by our table. We started out politely cutting and sharing portions from our family-style plates, but by the end of the evening it was a joyous free-for-all.