House Park Bar-B-Que

Central-city barbecue spots

Smoke Trail
Photo By John Anderson

House Park Bar-B-Que (6)

900 W. 12th, 472-9621

Monday-Friday, 11am-2:30pm

House Park may be the closest thing within the city limits to an old-time country barbecue joint – it's small, smoky, utterly without pretension, and plays by its own rules. Open since 1943 and named for the venerable high school football stadium nearby, House Park only serves weekday lunch (or maybe breakfast, depending on the hours you keep), and the weathered picnic tables resolutely face the noisy street rather than picturesque Shoal Creek, which runs just behind the building.

House Park's slogan, which has graced the marquee for decades, is probably better known than the excellent mesquite-smoked bill of fare. "Need no teef to eat my beef" is attributed to the late C-Boy Parks, longtime Austin pit-master, kitchen boss of the late Night Hawk No. 2 on the Drag, and mentor to many an Austin cook and restaurateur. Several generations of ACC students, courthouse lawyers, and neighborhood residents and businesspeople have depended on House Park for their lunchtime barbecue fix.

The menu, posted on the wall, is short and sweet: plates or sandwiches of mesquite-smoked brisket, sausage, pork loin, and chicken; sides of beans, coleslaw, and potato salad; and Dr Pepper, Big Red, 7UP, RC Cola, and iced tea. That's it. No booze, no vegetables, no frills. It's all about the meat. No ribs, however. House Park doesn't do ribs.

The most expensive item on the menu is the mixed plate at $7.89; the least is the large iced tea for 99 cents. In between, the brisket and pork-loin plates will run you $7.59, the beef-and-pork sausage and quarter-of-a-chicken plates slightly less. The brisket is fork-tender and full of smoky flavor, but I'm particularly partial to the pork loin, especially on a soft-bun sandwich with sour pickles and onions ($3.99), just kissed by a bit of the tomatoey barbecue sauce.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Food Reviews
Food Trailer Review: Dang Hot 89
Food Trailer Review: Dang Hot 89
Nashville-style fried chicken in North Austin doesn’t bring face-melting heat, but it makes up for it with big flavors

Taylor Tobin, July 19, 2024

Restaurant Review: Mexta
Restaurant Review: Mexta
Mexta wants to be Austin’s new upscale Mexican dining destination

Melanie Haupt, July 5, 2024

More by MM Pack
There and Back Again
There and Back Again
NYC chef Tien Ho returns to Austin

April 1, 2016

Speaking Volumes
Speaking Volumes
The secret history of Austin's First Cookbook

March 6, 2015

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle