I have to admit I have a bias here.
Hoover Alexander, of Hoover's Cooking fame, is one of the nicest guys in town.
He's hospitable, he's warm, he's engaged, he's involved in his community. He loves what he does.
His enthusiasm for life, and food, and people, and community is infectious. We need more Hoovers in this world.
Last night, a few of us lucky bloggers came together at the request of Hoover to be (s)wined and dined at his charming new project, Hoover's Texa-Mexi-Cue food trailer, at 2021 Manor, in the ultra-hip and trendy East Austin, across the street from Hoover's dine-in establishment that has been pleasing tummies for 13 plus years.
I'm happy to report his barbecue pleased these masses, and as we ate, a considerable crowd of repeat customers had gathered, too.
The seven of us gathered around covered picnic tables to hear about the food, the stories, the three-pronged approach to serving barbecue that is hinted at by the little sunny yellow trailer's name. Hoover offers brisket, sausage, pork loin, and turkey, sold be volume, or by sandwich/wrap/meal, served in your choice of three unique ways:
- Texas Style-- served with white bread, pickles, onions, and BBQ sauce (a sweet and tangy elixir whose secret was revealed to be whole stewed lemons!)
- Tex-Mex-- served with tortillas and your choice of salsa (verde, fuego, and chimichurri, all fantastic. we licked the containers clean. No, we really did.)
- Tex-Czech-- served with (the slightly sweet, light, heavenly) kolache slider buns and mustard.
We had a little bit of everything, and there was not one detail we would complain about, but I must say, for me, that the surprising standout is the sausage! Hoover offers a chicken sausage with a perfect snap, coarse grind, lean, but not dry, moist, but not greasy, with bites of black pepper that don't get lost. I'm not one for sausage, really. I usually go straight for the brisket (and this brisket had the prettiest bark calling me....), but I can absolutely see me making a pilgrimage whenever I need a quality sausage for gumbo, or just a bowl of homemade coarse mustard. It's incredible.
Now some BBQ purists go strictly for the meat, but this girl loves the variety of sides offered, and Hoover did not disappoint. In-house potato salad with potato chunks still in their jackets, a not-too-sweet Mardi Gras Cole Slaw that we all loved, and the piece de resistance of sides: the beans. Oh the BEANS! Served simply as Pintos, these are the beans which cornbread was invented, and Cowboy Beans, kind of a Texas-bold riff on traditional pork and beans with all the usual suspects (brown sugar, molasses, etc...) along with nice bites of smoked brisket and more. I would drive across the city for either of these beans, alone. I'm sure I will, now.
Rounding out the meal, banana pudding (!!) and peach cobbler. Very traditional preparations, neither cloyingly sweet, and each freshly prepared. The lemonade is freshly-squeezed, and perfectly-brewed iced tea comes sweetened, or unsweetened. The service, even beyond the affable Alexander, is warm, efficient and friendly. The neighborhood in which this food trailer parks looks like most neighborhoods did, oh say, about 60 years ago, people and pets, foot traffic, community gardens, outdoor patios, a smattering of guys in skinny ties and accompanying girlfriend/sister/mother/brother, charming in their cotton thrift-store shirtwaist dress, but also midlifers, and empty-nesters, and, yes, a few baby boomers. Culturally and economically diverse, Manor Road is one of my favorite hot spots of Austin. Hoover's Texa-Mexi-Cue brightens the landscape.
And, HEY! There is PARKING around there!