Freedmen’s is a laid back used-to-be residence, church, publishing house, and grocery store located in downtown Austin. It’s a great historic building with a bar and cozy inside and relaxed outdoor seating area perfect for any type of group.
I enjoyed Freedmen’s menu offerings and got to indulge in a few favorites you don’t often see on menus, like these beets. They were in the top 3 favorite things I had there that day. Warm, smoky, sweet beats with herbed goat cheese and a balsamic glaze – great flavor combination and excellent on their house focaccia bread. I would happily eat this for lunch any day.
Onto the BBQ. Smoke flavor, texture were on point, but the rub they put on just about everything, had a little too much spice for me. Especially where the ribs were concerned, I like the meat to sing louder than the rub or sauce. If you love heat, then this place is for you. The brisket was oh-so-fine. The meat/rub ratio was much more balanced in my opinion and had great structure – not dry, not too fatty, just right. And the bark, well it was the icing on the cake. You can find a lot of brisket in Texas and Freedmen’s is a good place to get it!
Their house made sausage was spicy. The kind of heat that keeps building an doesn’t dissipate. It’s not greasy and has good smokiness so if you aren’t sensitive to spice, have at it, it’s tasty. The Pulled pork had great texture, but also…spicy. Seeing a trend yet? The house made pickles and picked onions were amazing! If you order to share, make sure you snag some before other people realize how good they are.
Their beans were sweet, little spicy with beans that held their own. It’s not uncommon to find beans that are mushy but these had great texture. Some of my favorite thus far. The horseradish potato salad was fun and good (I really like horseradish) but slightly on the dry side if I’m being picky, so if you’re a lover of creamy, moist potato salad, this may not be for you. Same for the slaw, it’s a cooked cabbage thats heavy on the vinegar. Kind of pickle-y tasting, but still slightly crunchy. Their BBQ sauce was good but in all honesty, I just like meat y’all. Sometimes I’ll add a little if it’s a good pairing, but for the most part, I like my meat to fly solo.
Also, do yourself a favor and don’t skip the dessert! Smoked banana pudding was real. Ever had banana pudding that tastes like artificial banana? No bueno. This is not that. It was layered with whipped cream and cookies and forced me to order another, no joke. Mostly because I shared the first with my kids and that was a bad idea. And the smoked chocolate mousse had rich chocolate flavor and perfect creamy texture, with a little sea salt sprinkled on top – great way to end the meal!
(2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705 // 512.220.0953)