MUST STOP: OPIE’S BBQ, SPICEWOOD
Updated: Apr 26, 2020
by Andrew Chalk
“Life is Good in Spicewood, TX” it reads on the home page of Opie’s BBQ. Doubtless Opie’s sees itself as a major reason for that. I would agree, but also give a shout out to Spicewood Vineyards where Ron Yates et. al. make one of the best Tempranillo wines in the state.
Enter the prefabricated steel building, past the sign that reads “Butter Beans are Dine In Only! No whining, crying, or exceptions! Thank You!”, admiring the liberal use of exclamation marks, and you face a giant warming chest on your right from which a pit hand will offer the meat available and place your order on a paper covered tray. The menu fills an imposing chalk board on the wall behind the pit and can be quite a lot to take in on your first visit. I stepped back and let the next group in line go first as I took it all in. Opie’s is so far out from urbanized Austin that it can only have a line every day because it is so good. I could not get this wrong.
I am going to recommend the brisket (burnt ends is my M.O.) for its succulence, and charred flavors (pitmaster Seth Glaser cooks it on Mesquite wood). The jalapeno cheese sausage for an exciting combination of flavors (although these are not made in house they are made to Opie’s recipe), potato salad, tater tot casserole for crispy, cheesy indulgence, earthy and al dente butter beans, and the homemade banana pudding with homemade shortbread cookies. The beans and banana pudding are Fridays to Sundays only and the beans are self-serve from a giant pot on the fixins’ table in the center of the room. While you eat, you are likely to be entertained by live music. However, no beer, wine, or liquor, and it would be nice to drink a cold one on a hot Texas day.
Opie’s adds up to one welcoming as well as filling establishment. The owners, Todd and Kristen Ashmore, former husband and wife who still work together after their split, interestingly both come from outside the restaurant, or even the hospitality industry. However, they loved barbecue and decided to start their own place in 1999. Now, Opie’s (named after a former dog they owned) is an institution sought out by barbecue fans all over the state. Like all barbecue joints in Texas hours may be cut short if they run out of meat.