Recently my review of Southwest Market in Elgin attracted a comment from an employee of their competitor, Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse, who was wondering if I was going to give their meats a try and write a review. It had been in my plans for this summer anyway, so last weekend I dragged my teenage daughter along and gave Meyer’s a try.
Meyer’s is on the strip of businesses that line Highway 290 running to the south of downtown Elgin. It’s on the east end, balancing out the presence of Southwest Market on the west end. Meyer’s has been well known in Elgin for 75 years, but as a sausage factory which sells their sausage all over the Central Texas area, rather than as a restaurant. A few years ago they moved to the current location and added a dining area with a full menu of barbeque to their offerings. You can still buy their sausage to go, but now you can sit down and eat it too, along with a variety of other meats and side dishes.
As usual I tried to get a little bit of everything, though I have to admit to stealing some of it off my daughter’s plate. The selection is pretty standard, with brisket, sausage, pork ribs, chicken, turkey and ham steak. The sides include beans, German potato salad, pickles, onions and creamed corn and banana pudding for desert. Either by intent or omission our plates didn’t include any barbeque sauce which was okay with me since I’m kind of a meat purist. There was a bottle of pretty deadly chili sauce on the table, but I decided not to kill my tastebuds by trying it. I ended up ordering a three meat combo plate for just under $10 and my daughter got a half chicken for a bit less.
Not surprisingly, with 75 years of history behind it, the sausage was the best thing on my plate. It’s the first time I’ve had Meyer’s sausage and I was pleasantly surprised. It’s different from the style of sausage I think of as Elgin sausage based on my experience at Southwest Market. It’s less greasy and has more black pepper and the meat is coarse ground beef rather than the pork or mix of pork and beef I’d expected. Overall the flavor of the sausage is excellent, rather like the sausage at Kreuz Market in Lockhart, but in a longer link and less greasy. They also offer a sage sausage and a hot sausage, but you have to call ahead for them.
My other two meats were brisket and pork ribs. The pork ribs were very good. They had a nice, flavorful rub and were meaty and very tender. Among the best pork ribs I’ve had recently. The brisket was not as good. Although it was lean and tender, it was dry, too smoky and had an aftertaste of some sour marinade which was unpleasant. To be fair, my daughter liked it, but I don’t think it stands up to the quality of brisket I’ve come to expect from Texas barbeque.
To round out my tasting I sneaked some chicken from my daughter’s plate and I was pleasantly impressed. Quite often smoked chicken is either too dry, over marinated or sort of flavorless, but Meyers’ was tender, moist and had an excellent smoky flavor. I didn’t get to try the turkey, but my sources tell me that it’s similar to the chicken but with that little extra bit of flavor that turkey offers.
The sides were all pretty good, but there was nothing unusual or remarkable. The banana pudding got high marks, but it’s hard to make bad banana pudding. There are some nice bonus features you don’t find at a lot of barbeque places. Meyers has a drive thru, which is a real plus for those needing a couple of sausage wraps to go. Plus they serve breakfast tacos, which is a nice bonus. They also have a meat market, but on the day we went there was nothing there but packaged sausage.
On the whole I thought Meyers was pretty good. There’s too much great competition for it to be one of the very best in the area, but overall it’s certainly in the top ten and the sausage is outstanding – easily in the top three. It’s also pretty significant that their chicken and pork ribs are so good, because those are items which the majority of barbeque places have a lot of trouble getting right. There’s plenty available at Meyers for a really good meal even without the brisket.