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.


MOST RECENT

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

Austin ISD trustees approved a new school calendar Aug. 7, delaying the start of the school year until Sept. 8. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD officially delays start of school year until Sept. 8

The district could also extend virtual learning into November based on an approved Texas Education Agency waiver.

Austin Public Health will resume providing coronavirus testing for individuals without symptoms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Asymptomatic coronavirus tests now available through Austin Public Health

Despite relative progress in county efforts to contain the virus, Dr. Mark Escott has urged the community to stay vigilant in social distancing and wearing masks.

Two events will be held in South Austin on Aug. 8 to distribute school supplies. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
School supply distribution events at two South Austin locations Aug. 8

The items will be placed in the trunk of vehicles that pull up to the schools, and walk-up groups will also be served.

Houston-based vintage clothing store Pavement will open in Austin on Aug. 14. (Courtesy Pavement)
South Austin news: Pavement opens new vintage store, YMCA offering child care and more

YMCA of Austin and Extend-A-Care will be offering full-day child care to supervise virtual learning at 10 locations, including Galindo Elementary School.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler (Courtesy ATXN)
Austin mayor pushes for new ideas in policing, $100M cut to police budget during State of the City address

Austin Mayor Steve Adler also said the city needs a police chief who will champion change.

A teal coronavirus graphic
Travis County adds 202 new coronavirus cases Aug. 5

The county has confirmed 22,024 cases of the virus, with an estimated 20,059 recoveries.

Wonderspaces Austin
Interactive art gallery Wonderspaces opens in Austin and 3 other events to check out

Here is a list of events to safely check out in the coming weeks in and around Austin.