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

Hays County opened its COVID-19 vaccine portal Jan. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Vaccine portal opens in Hays County; read Austin business news and more Central Texas info

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

The Austin Community College District's 28,000-square-foot culinary arts wing is now open at ACC Highland. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
Second phase of ACC Highland campus opens in Central Austin

The campus is home to the Austin Community College District's Culinary Arts Department.

Registration for Williamson County COVID-19 vaccines opened Jan. 19. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Register for vaccine in WilCo; 24 restaurants to try in Leander, Cedar Park and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Central Texas area.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said those who wish to return to campus can do so beginning Jan. 25. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD families can return to campus after 2 weeks of encouraging virtual learning

Austin ISD has seen a 28% decrease in weekly coronavirus cases since the first week of January.

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague. (Courtesy Office of the Texas Governor)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott floats ‘statewide camping ban’ as homeless debate heats up

The legality of reinstating tighter restrictions on public camping, solicitation, and sitting and lying down remains vague.

Teal House Coffee & Bakery’s menu includes items such as the cinnamon roll croissant. (Courtesy Teal House Coffee & Bakery)
Teal House Coffee & Bakery opening South Congress brick and mortar in Austin Jan. 30

The location will be the food truck's first brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. (Courtesy Texas Children’s Hospital)
'We still have a long way to go': Central Texas physician answers questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Judith L. Thompson recently took the time to answer several general questions for Community Impact Newspaper related to the coronavirus vaccine, its efficacy and costs, and other related matters.

Goodwill Central Texas opened a location at 2415 S. Congress Ave., Austin, on Jan. 14. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
New South Congress Goodwill now open

The new store is open for retail services and also accepts donations.

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol. The Texas Legislature began its 2021 session Jan. 12. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
School funding once again a major focus for Austin ISD during legislative session

The district will also be watching for legislation regarding charter schools, accountability, pandemic relief and local control.

Photo of a doctor handling a vaccine
As community waits anxiously, here is where Travis County stands with COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Demand still exceeds supply for vaccines in the Austin area, even for those in Phase 1 of distribution.