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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Daily 11:00am–midnight

Features Outdoor dining, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC


The Drag
512 W. 29th St.
Austin, TX
(512) 477-1651
Ruby’s BBQ
We come for delicious wood-smoked sandwiches and the Drag we used to love

Whenever friends visit from out of town, we take them into the heart of the Hill Country for barbecue, and we bring them here. Not that Ruby’s is comparable to those titans of the Hill Country (but it’s not far); it’s just so 100% what we’ve always loved about Austin—more than anything south of it on the ever-genericizing Drag. The walls are papered with autographed posters from Antone’s, and even I Luv Video next door’s been permeated with smoke. The colorful light-stringed patio is exceedingly charming late at night.

Also totally Austin: the brisket here is free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free. The brick-and-mortar pits and use of wood means good smoke flavor, but the meat can be somewhat chewy. Our usual order’s a chopped beef sandwich doused in a tangy barbecue sauce, or the—believe it or not—smoked chicken salad. It’s the best chicken salad anywhere. For something more traditional, you’ll do fine with long, curving, crusted beef ribs, or that brisket, ordered moist. We also like the sides: creamy cole slaw smacks smartly of celery seeds, beans are spicy and creamy, and collard greens are earthy and salty. Not so much for the cakey mac and cheese. Honestly, we’d eat them, or anything else, just to hang out here.

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