Louie Mueller in Houston

Delayed but not forgotten: Legendary Texas barbecue joint changes plans for Houston location

Iconic Texas barbecue joint changes plans for Houston location

Houston Barbecue Festival Wayne Mueller Louie Mueller Rebecca Masson Fluff Bake Bar
Louie Mueller Barbecue owner Wayne Mueller and Fluff Bake Bar chef-owner Rebecca Masson. Photo by Eric Sandler
Houston Barbecue Festival Louie Mueller meat
The line for Mueller's signature beef ribs stayed long throughout the Houston Barbecue Festival. Photo by Eric Sandler
Louie Mueller Barbecue storefront in Taylor
Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor is one of Texas' most-acclaimed barbecue destinations. Louie Mueller Barbecue/Facebook
Houston Barbecue Festival Wayne Mueller Louie Mueller Rebecca Masson Fluff Bake Bar
Houston Barbecue Festival Louie Mueller meat
Louie Mueller Barbecue storefront in Taylor

One of Texas’ most-iconic barbecue joints still has plans to open in Houston, but its focus has shifted to a different part of the city.

Wayne Mueller tells CultureMap that he still plans to open a Houston-area location of Louie Mueller Barbecue — his family’s James Beard Award-winning barbecue joint in Taylor, Texas, that’s a perennial member of the Texas Monthly list of the state’s top 50 barbecue joints — but he’s decided to move away from the EaDo and Second Ward locations he has been contemplating since 2014.

“I’m looking further west now. I’m going to follow the center of population density as it moves west. I think that’s where the promised land is going to be,” Mueller said during Sunday’s fifth annual Houston Barbecue Festival. “I’m looking in the Energy Corridor and a little bit further west than that.”

If nothing else, the crowds that flocked to Mueller’s stand at the festival, even with 25 of the Houston-area’s finest barbecue joints in attendance, demonstrated that Houstonians are still interested in having a local outpost of Louie Mueller’s signature pepper-crusted brisket and beef ribs. On Sunday, Mueller delivered two of the festival’s best bites by serving those beef ribs on a Fluff Bake Bar croissant alongside smoked lamb chops with a sweet and spicy glaze.

Seeking property in west Houston would allow Mueller to buy enough land for a restaurant and sufficient parking, which has proven to be too difficult to obtain inside the loop, he said. He returns to Houston in two weeks to scout for the right spot. Ideally, the Houston outpost would debut by the end of 2018, Mueller added.

“With any luck, we’ll find something. I haven’t given up hope,” Mueller said. “This is the promised land. It absolutely is. It’s my home away from home. It’s where I want to be. I’m dedicated to that, and I’ll make it happen.”

The waiting may be the hardest part, but if it means daily access to that beef rib-filled croissant, the delays will have been well worth the payoff.