Making my way from Panama City towards Tallahassee I had two concerns. The first was to outrun the dark black storm clouds that were rolling in from the coast. The second was to find something to eat. The traffic on U.S. 231 and I barreled north at a speed slightly above the legal limit. Dining options along this stretch of road are limited to a Hardee’s at the State Road 20 junction and a few shady looking fruit stands offering gator jerky.
As I slowed entering the unincorporated community of Fountain I noticed a sign for Austin’s Smokin Butt Hut. The name alone piqued my curiosity and with the storm clouds far enough behind me I decided to stop for a late lunch. Austin’s sits on the corner of U.S. 231 and N. Silver Lake Road. A large cast iron pig spewing smoke sat on a small rise near the road. Behind it was a screened in cook shed with a long black smoker that stood silent.
A trailer painted light brown with a small metal awning contained the food preparation area. A small neon open sign beamed from one window, and a large sign listed all of the meats they offered including ribs; butts; hot wings; and fish sandwiches. I walked up and the window slid open. I was greeted by a woman who asked what I wanted. I weighed my options and decided to go with a pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, and cole slaw. Austin’s Smokin Butt Hutt accepts debit/credit cards and after paying I milled about in the empty parking lot.
Minutes later the window slid open and I was handed a square Styrofoam box. There was no place to sit down and eat so I retreated to my car. Opening the box my car was immediately filled with the smell of slowly smoked pork. A large sesame seed covered bun topped a large helping of pull pork. To the back scoops of coleslaw and potato salad completed the meal. The sauce, as it should be, was served on the side is a small plastic cup.
I picked up a piece of meat and took a bit. It was tender, moist and had a very nice smoked flavor. Pieces of bark, the outside of the butt, were picked in and provided good flavor and interesting texture to the sandwich. The pork was cooked so well that sauce was not needed as it would have only hidden the wonderful flavor of the skillfully smoked butt. I did, however, sample the sauce with my finger. It was of the thick tomato based variety and packed a mixture of sweet and heat. As for the sides, they were both very good. The coleslaw was mayonnaise based and packed a nice vinegar flavor. The potato salad was creamy and well seasoned.
I normally do not look forward to driving on U.S. 231, but after sampling Austin’s BBQ I now have a reason to stop in Fountain, Florida. Next time I would love to try their ribs. I would also love to know where they got their pig shaped smoker, as it would look fantastic in my front yard. Austin’s Smokin Butt Hutt is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. They can be reached at (850) 319-8264.
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