The (liberal) Austin, Texas City Council’s War on Barbecue.

(H/T Reason): Yikes.

If you live on the outskirts of Austin, your suburb might be the new target for barbecue joints looking to open in Travis County. That is if prospective restaurateurs see a new resolution from the Austin City Council as too onerous. It requires that barbecue smokers (and other wood-fired cooking devices) be placed at least 100 feet from adjacent residential property lines, or that they “mitigate the impact of smoke emissions” on their neighbors.

And, yeah, this is serious:

The proposed code change would require any restaurant or food truck using “a wood or charcoal burning stove or grill” within one hundred and fifty feet of residential zoning to install an exhaust system known as smoke scrubbers. [Pitmaster* Aaron] Franklin estimates the cost of such a system would run between $15,000 and $20,000, which he says is not an option for even his hyper-successful business. “Cost aside, the barbecue would not be the same—it would modify how the cooker smokes,” Franklin says. “If this resolution passes, we would be forced to close or move. It would destroy Austin barbecue.”

When talking to Texans, I get the impression that the state in general tolerates – with a certain fond contempt – the People’s Republic of Austin largely because the hippies, hipsters, and weirdos at least know how to cook properly**. Taking away the major reason for that tolerance seems… unwise.

Moe Lane

*That’s what the article called him earlier, and they weren’t being ironic about it.

**Texans take this seriously.  Almost as seriously as they do high school football. And that is pretty much their state religion.

13 thoughts on “The (liberal) Austin, Texas City Council’s War on Barbecue.”

  1. Sounds like one of the few liberal enclaves in that state is about to get a harsh lessons with regards to the consequences of elections.

  2. Not every state is as blessed as Texas in having self-ghettoizing lefties. We kind of have that in CO with Boulder and Denver; you get out of there and the state is incandescently red.
    Re: state religion, it’s ABSOLUTELY high school football in Texas:
    1) At a job fair, looking for teaching jobs there, I was told by one principal that the football coaches at his HS had the hiring authority for new teachers, so they could hold the social studies teacher slots for coaches.
    2)The small suburb of Houston where I wound up working sold SEASON TICKETS FOR HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL, because people would pony up for them to make sure they could get in to the routinely sold-out games.
    3) In Abilene in the 90s (and probably to this day) there was a half-hour news special every Friday night after the news that gave a roundup of the HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL results around the state.

    1. Yeah, it’s pretty serious here in Ga., but not that serious. NCAA footbll, otoh…..

    2. You make those things sound like a bad thing… When I was growing up in small town Texas, the football stadium seated more than the town population by a fair bit, and was usually completely full. Out of town games, the area stores and restaurants would close due to no business.

      I think the football coverage on the news is through the entire state.

  3. Hey, properly smoking barbecue is an art. I make pretty good barbecue myself, and it took me years to reach the ‘pretty good’ level.

  4. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

    Seriously – look up ‘hubris’ and then ‘Nemesis’ – there’s a lot of coups that minor goddess has acquired over the years.

  5. Governor Abbott could order the Texas State Guard to intervene on behalf of the BBQ owners.
    The State Legislature could dissolve Austin City Government. ( Keep in mind half of the year they live in Austin so they’re probably patrons of several of these joints and would be negatively impacted by the stupid decisions of Austin City Council)

  6. By the way Moe, Franklin’s the real deal, when it comes to brisket. 2 hour lines every day, if you’re not in line by about 10:30, forget it, and he’s usually completely sold out by 1 or 1:30 every day. Darn good brisket, which is the true barbecue (tho he does stock pork products for heathens).

  7. Many years ago they banned charcoal and gas grills for residents because of, Global Warming. Looks like they’re after the professional Barbecue joints now. Apparently the city council members aren’t aware that the ‘particulates’ that emanate from a Barbecue joint are rather pleasing the smell and elicit a feeling of hunger that only a pile of slice brisket can satisfy. In a way it’s how a BBQ joint advertises it presence and is completely moronic to demand they filter the smoke to remove that allure.

  8. This kind of Austin City Council is what happened when we allowed the University of Texas students vote in Austin. The temporary residents even tried to change the mascot from Longhorns to Armadillos. Many of the kids thought it was funny or being cute. Daggum hippies.

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