Barbeque Legend John Mueller Dies at 52

Barbeque Legend John Mueller Dies at 52
John Mueller working one of his smoke pits. | Image by Ricardo B. Brazziell, Austin American-Statesman

The history of Mueller family barbeque dates back to 1949 when Louie Mueller opened the doors to Louie Mueller Barbeque in the Central Texas town of Taylor. Louie held the reins for twenty-five years before passing them over to his son, Bobby, in 1974. After Bobby, Louie’s grandson, Wayne Mueller, took over in 2007. 

You can say barbeque is in the Mueller family blood. It’s no doubt John Mueller (Bobby’s son) would follow in the family’s footsteps. Known as “the Dark Prince of BBQ,” a nickname he received from Texas Monthly when he whipped up a barbeque meal for former President Obama and Nancy Pelosi at the request of Dallas lawyer and political activist, Marc Stanley in 2014. 

John was a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and was featured on his food travel show, No Reservations. John also gave pitmaster Aaron Franklin his first job and taught him how to work the pits. John marched by the beat of his own drum, rejecting his family’s tradition of cooking brisket “low and slow,” he favored cooking brisket quicker at a higher heat (400 degrees), so he could feed hungry patrons who formed long lines outside his establishments. 

John set out on his own in 2001 with his first restaurant John Mueller’s B-B-Q, on Austin’s East Side. Losing the restaurant in 2006, John resurfaced in 2011 with a joint offering that included his sister, LeAnn, and a trailer in South Austin named JMueller BBQ. After a sibling spat, LeAnn renamed the trailer La Barbeque. 

John once again sat out on his own with a humble setup that included his smoker, a trailer, picnic tables, and chairs on a lot in Downtown Georgetown. Known for his peppery brisket and bad-boy sense of humor, John’s delectable barbeque could be found later at Granger City Brewing Company, the Granary in Jarrell, and just before his death, at Hutchins BBQ in Frisco. 

In a statement from Hutchins owners Tim and Trey Hutchins, they stated, “This week the BBQ community lost one of the greatest pitmasters of our time, and our family lost a true friend. We are heartbroken over the passing of John Mueller, who had become like family to us over the last six months working together in the pits. We were beyond honored when he wanted to work with us and will forever cherish those memories with him. Our hearts and prayers are with John’s family and loved ones.” 

The news of Mueller’s passing was tweeted by Texas Monthly barbeque editor Daniel Vaughn.

A celebration of life will be held on January 30, 2022, in Georgetown, Texas. John Mueller may have struggled with building a home for his barbeque, but one thing is for certain, John Mueller touched the lives of every Texas pitmaster, and he will be remembered as one of the best “cooks” ever to touch a piece of meat.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article