SLAB BBQ's hip-hop themed sandwiches offer a fresh take on barbecue

The Donk is a 1-pound sandwich that includes every meat served at SLAB.

The Donk is a 1-pound sandwich that includes every meat served at SLAB.

Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer
Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer
Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer
Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer
Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer
Image description
SLAB BBQ & Beer

SLAB BBQ & Beer, with locations at the Y at Oak Hill in South Austin and on Research Blvd. in North Austin, is not your typical Texas barbecue joint. The restaurant’s interior is decorated in graffiti-style art, while classic hip-hop music is played at all hours. The restaurant also focuses on original barbecue sandwiches, not plates or meat by the pound.


“Obviously we’re a little different than most barbecue places, but people don’t know that unless they walk in or come across pictures of us on social media,” co-owner Raf Robinson said. “We like to have fun with barbecue.”


SLAB draws influences from “all barbecue regions,” taking elements from Texas, Memphis, St. Louis, Alabama and the East Coast, he said. The SLAB staff smokes meats slowly and at low temperatures every morning, an essential process for making good barbecue, Robinson said. 


In fact, SLAB is an acronym for “Slow, Low and Bangin’” he said, with the final word coming from the Houston hip-hop scene.


“You can walk in pretty much any barbecue restaurant across the country, and it is going to be themed with country music and cowboy boots,” he said. “That just wasn’t a reflection of who we are. We grew up on hip-hop, and it creates a fun environment.”


The emphasis on sandwiches assures every bite has a particular flavor profile, Robinson said. One of the restaurant’s specialties, The Donk, features brisket, chicken, sausage and pork. The meats are smoked in a traditional way, but SLAB adds grilled vegetables, queso, jalapenos, Frito chips and housemade barbecue sauce.


“That’s probably not how you would normally eat your barbecue, but all of those ingredients together create a flavor explosion,” Robinson said.


For restaurant-goers who are not as ambitious, the menu includes eight single-meat sandwiches, sliders, nachos, wraps and classic sides, he said.


The Oak Hill location opened in 2016 as SLAB’s second brick-and-mortar shop. Founder and co-owner Mark Avalos started SLAB out of an Austin food trailer in 2006. Robinson said when he joined the team in 2013, the duo expanded with a new food truck, and in 2014 opened the first restaurant.


In 2019, SLAB will introduce family combo meals and will be expanding its catering services, Robinson said. A new Round Rock location is also in the works, although an official location has not been finalized.



SLAB BBQ & Beer


7101 W. Hwy. 71, Austin
512-243-8000
www.realdopebbq.com
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.- Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


MOST RECENT

Burnet Road at West Braker Lane
Corridor projects along South Lamar Boulevard, Burnet Road will break ground by early 2021

Two corridor roadway projects approved in the city of Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond are moving forward after recently receiving environmental clearances.

Screen shot of a Zoom board meeting
Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Todd Washburn resigns; Brett Springston is named interim replacement

Less than a year after he was hired, Superintendent Todd Washburn is departing Dripping Springs ISD.

An "I Voted" sticker is left outside the Northwest Recreation Center in Austin, one of 37 early voting polling places open in Travis County. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than half of all Travis County voters have cast their ballots, exceeding early voting turnout percentage in 2016

More than 448,000 votes have been cast in Travis County. Early voting closes on Oct. 30.

Austin ISD trustees met Oct. 26, discussing in-person learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Twice as many Austin elementary students have returned to campus compared to first day of in-person instruction, district says

Austin ISD will open its campuses to accommodate all students who request in-person instruction beginning Nov. 2.

Capital Metro released new renderings Oct. 26 of its proposed Project Connect expansion, which voters will decide Nov. 3. This rendering shows a Blue Line light rail train at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
In final week of early voting, here is what Austin residents should know about Project Connect

The proposition appears as a 237-word block of text near the end of the ballot but boils down to a simple question: Are voters for or against a significant expansion of local public transportation, paid for in part with property tax funds?

Photo of the facade of the Dripping Springs ISD administraton building
Dripping Springs ISD to discuss superintendent's potential resignation

An item on the board of trustee's Oct. 26 meeting agenda indicates consideration of a resignation agreement for Superintendent Todd Washburn.

Alex Wu (left) and Kevin Tran stand, social distanced, outside of Bao'd Up in Sunset Valley. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bao'd Up owners hope to make the traditional Chinese steamed buns a household name in Austin

The local chain has four locations, including one in Sunset Valley. Owner Alex Wu said as the franchise continues to grow, he hopes in a few years he will no longer have to explain what bao is.

Scott Friedeck, owner of The Graphic Guitar Guys, started working with guitars in 2011. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Dripping Springs small business owner Scott Friedeck got his big break in the music industry from George Strait

Friedeck's business, The Graphic Guitar Guys, creates custom wraps for guitars for artists to sell as merchandise.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

A screen shot of Elon Musk speaking into a microphone
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirms 2021 opening for Travis County gigafactory

Musk said construction is moving apace at the new electric auto factory east of Austin.