The Shocking Brisket Heist That Left An Austin Restaurant Reeling

The Austin restaurant scene is full of diverse food options. The city is home to ramen restaurants, breakfast taco trucks, upscale Italian joints, and more. If there's one food that's synonymous with Austin as a whole, though, it's barbecue. The art of meat is serious business in Texas, with each region of the state serving up a unique style of 'cue.

Thrillist notes that Austin embraces Central Texas-style barbecue, which focuses on beef, specifically brisket, that is seasoned with only salt and pepper. Central Texas-style brisket is oak-smoked for the better part of a full day. The end result is a juicy, tender piece of meat that melts in your mouth. Further, Texas barbecue is unique because pitmasters don't traditionally use sauce to marinate the beef, allowing the meat to be the true star of the show.

To ensure the best brisket flavor, pitmasters need to source the best beef. At La Barbecue, an Austin institution, this means buying meat from grass-fed, hormone-free cows from a local ranch. Unfortunately, this prized beef was the subject of a recent heist.

A thief stole 20 briskets from La Barbecue

La Barbecue serves barbecue mainstays like pulled pork, sausage, and pork ribs. Its brisket is the priciest option, selling for $20 a pound. It was this expensive cut that was stolen from the restaurant on August 4. "It happened again!!" La Barbecue notified its customers with surveillance photos of the incident on Instagram, where the restaurant has shared news of a number of different robberies occurring on its premises. The most recent thief got away with 20 briskets, totaling $3,000 worth of meat with labor and other factors taken into consideration, La Barbecue general manager Alison Clem told FOX7 Austin

Clem told the news outlet that she believes the robber had been watching the restaurant for some time, saying, "One of my strongest guys back there can barely lift 10 briskets in a box, and [the thief] lifted them over his head. So, I really just think that it was planned." On Instagram, followers of the restaurant offered words of support amid its eighth robbery. One super fan even offered to "guard the smokers" — as long as they could be paid in brisket.