la Barbecue’s LeAnn Mueller on working with her wife, and making waves in the Austin culinary scene

When I went to Austin this summer for Agliff, I knew I needed to get some of the city’s famous BBQ. With so many options, how to narrow it down though? Well if you are me, you look for the rainbow. When I heard that la Barbecue was not only run by women, but members of the LGBTQ+ community, I knew I had to check it out. After tasting the delicious fruits of LeAnn Mueller’s labor, I wanted to chat with her. LeAnn is the granddaughter of Louis Mueller, who started his famous BBQ restaurant in 1949. Her father carried on the tradition, and years later, LeAnn found herself in a unique position (more on that later). La Barbecue has lines out the door even before they open, and based on my experience, it’s definitely worth the hype. LeAnn took time to answer some questions about her business, working with her wife and business partner Ali Clem, and Austin’s queer scene.

Bella Media: First of all, how did you two meet?

LeAnn Mueller: Ali was bar tending and she waited on me.  I had just moved back to Austin from California 

Photos courtesy of LeAnn Mueller

BMC: LeAnn, barbecue is in your DNA. Did you always know you wanted to be a part of that tradition? 

LM: I never wanted anything to do with bbq.  I’m a professional photographer. When I moved back to help my mom after my dad died, I also took on the financial responsibility of my brother’s bbq truck when his investors wanted out. After a year I found out he wasn’t paying the taxes, etc, so I fired my brother and opened la Barbecue three days later with a completely different menu. That’s how bbq sucked me back in. That’s was November 2012.

BMC: Austin is known for incredible BBQ, so what sets la Barbecue apart?

LM: I think we do a unique spin on the classic bbq items.  Especially our sausage. My dad taught me how to make it and I have taken his recipe and tweaked it to make it my own.

BMC: What’s the secret to working well with your spouse? 

LM: Lot’s of vodka… just kidding… communication and compromise. Ali not only works with my at the bbq but also travels all over the world as my assistant in photography.  We make a good team.

BMC: How’s the lesbian and queer scene in Austin? 

LM: It’s great!  A very big scene. AUSTIN is a very accepting city 

BMC: What are some of your favorite places to hang out in Austin?

LM: We live on the East side and really stick to that hood.  Caviler is a fav. A long with the White Horse, Domo Alley Gato, Suerte and Liberty Bar.  

BMC: What advice would you give to other women, especially LGBTQ women who to follow their culinary passions, even in more male dominated areas?

LM: Stay true to your vision.  Be kind and humble

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