Where there's smoke

New Hill Country roadhouse mixes vintage vibes with classic Texas barbecue

Hill Country roadhouse mixes vintage vibes with classic Texas barbecue

Texas 46 BBQ burgers Spring Branch
Texas 46 BBQ will serve comfort food classics like burgers and barbecue. Photo courtesy of Texas 46 BBQ

Some big names in Texas barbecue are heading to the Hill Country just outside San Antonio. Texas 46 BBQ, from the owner of Austin's Freedmen’s, is now open at 2 Sun Valley Dr. in Spring Branch, in the former home of Texas 46 Bar and Grill, according to a release.

Texas 46’s interior is slightly updated, but it still keeps the same roadhouse feel of the previous occupants with vintage music memorabilia, neon beer signs, and taxidermy crowded on the wall. The front patio is open to a large lawn with picnic tables and yard games.

As the name implies, smoked meat — cooked using post oak wood on four 1,000-gallon smokers — will be the star of the show. Chef and pitmaster Austin Fry, who has had stints at Austin's Roaring Fork and La Condesa and Hong Kong’s Blue Smoke, will minimally season meats such as house sausage, brisket, and beef and pork ribs to highlight the natural flavor.

“We are not trying to reinvent the barbecue restaurant,” says owner Cuatro Kowalski in the release. “We just want to do barbecue well — and create a meeting place for the neighboring communities to gather, whether for a beer, a meal, or a celebration.”

A variety of other comfort dishes, including fried panko-crusted dill pickles with house ranch, a smoked salmon burger with green goddess dressing and fried green tomatoes, pork rib poutine, and a chicken-fried steak burger, will round out the menu. For dessert, the new restaurant has fired up skillet pies in flavors like Texas pecan with a pit-smoked lemon crust.

Like any good roadhouse, Texas 46 serves up plenty of draft beer, with 20 brews on tap kept always at 20 degrees. The full bar offers seven signature cocktails, including a peachy frosé and a Texas 46 Manhattan made with pecan bitters, vermouth, and Makers 46 Private Select, a blend specially created by general manager and “Whiskey Princess” Myria Free.

Texas 46 BBQ is open for lunch and dinner daily from 11 am-10 pm.