Johnny’s Steaks & Bar-Be-Que, Salado, TX

Johnny’s Steaks & Bar-Be-Que is nestled in the little town of Salado, TX. It’s a quick jog off of I35 and is very easy to get in and out of while traveling. The reason it came to my attention is it’s within walking distance of where I’m having my wedding ceremony. It looks like a great place to have a rehearsal dinner. Victoria and I decided to drop by and make sure their food was up to par.

When we pulled up, the place looked busy. You know this is a good sign. They luckily had a parking lot across the street.

Johnny’s has a rustic feel to it. Just being on the outside of the restaurant, I could feel the authenticity oozing out of the walls.

The inside was quirky. Not so much in the Austin way I’ve grown accustomed to, but one of small-town Texas. There were deer horns and vintage signs all over the wooden interior.

We at first thought this was a fast-casual sort of joint judging by the line at the counter. We were wrong! We were told to take a table and a waitress would be right with us.

A waitress promptly came out and gave us menus and took our drink order. Of course, I had to be as authentic Texas as I could be here. I ordered a Dr. Pepper. Victoria got an unsweet iced tea.

The menu centered around meat. This should be obvious, but there were both steaks and BBQ. They all looked tempting!

As I looked at the menu, the waitress was bringing a steak to another table. The thing was the size of my head! I had come in here for BBQ, but that steak looked so tempting! I was on a mission, so I got the two meat plate.

The meats I chose were brisket and sausage. I mean I’m in Texas, why wouldn’t I choose brisket? I also love sausage, so this made a perfect combo that would then be paired with potato salad and coleslaw.

Victoria likes the leaner meats, so she got turkey with a side of baked beans and mashed potatoes.

A good measure of BBQ is whether you can eat it without sauce. BBQ sauce is meant to be a flavor enhancer and not something to cover up something lacking. I first tried the brisket without sauce. It had a nice smokey flavor and was slightly tender. I could have eaten the whole thing without sauce if I wanted to.

Next was the sausage. I took a bite and the juices came squirting out. The sausage was insanely juicy with a great taste to it. The second meat of my two meat combo also passed the no sauce test. You can’t get better than that! I even stole a little of Victoria’s turkey and that was very juicy and tasted great.

Now it was time to try it with sauce. The sauce had a slight vinegary taste to it balanced with the tang and spice I’ve come to expect in Texas BBQ sauce. Adding it to the already great tasting meat enhanced the flavor tremendously.

The potato salad and coleslaw were also delicious. They complimented the meat well. The bread tasted homemade. Everything went very well with each other and it gave a great balanced meal. The portions were just right for me. I was left pleasantly full and not stuffed. As I drove back to Austin, I had that content feeling of eating a great meal.

I came in expecting the run of the mill BBQ and left being kind of blown away. I knew within a few bites my decision had been made on going with Johnny’s for my rehearsal dinner. I’m glad this place represents Texas so well, and I’m sure my out of town (and state) guests will be thrilled!

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