Legendary Texas BBQ grill master John Mueller dies at 52 in Frisco

Legendary Texas BBQ grill master John Mueller dies at 52 in Frisco

The Texas barbecue community has lost a legend. Barbecue grill master John Mueller, a member of the Mueller barbecue dynasty, has died at his home in Frisco at age 52.

Daniel Vaughn, BBQ editor at Texas Monthly, broke the news December 16 on Twitter. Vaughn reports that Mueller died after a long illness.

“Mueller bounced between fame and infamy; fickle, infuriating, hilarious and generous it would all accurately describe it. Regardless, it remained memorable, ”writes Vaughn.

Mueller got his start in the barbecue business working for his father, the late Bobby Mueller, at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. He opened his first barbecue restaurant, John Mueller’s BBQ, on Manor Road in 2001 after leaving the family business.

In 2012, Mueller told CultureMap that he chose Austin to grow his barbecue business, in part, because it was in a different location than Taylor’s famous venue.

“I wasn’t going to have a barbecue in the same county where my parents were,” he said. “We agreed that they couldn’t have a barbecue in Travis County and I wouldn’t have a barbecue in Williamson County.”

Mueller left Austin for several years after closing his Manor Road restaurant in 2006, and later opened the JMueller barbecue trailer. However, Mueller’s stint on the barbecue trailer, owned by sister LeAnn Mueller, lasted only a year, and the famous, curmudgeonly pit master received the boot from his sister, who eventually made the business the lauded and popular one. La Barbecue, which now resides on the east side.

Aside from his natural talent for creating succulent meats, Mueller has another claim to fame on the Austin barbecue scene, having spawned one of the city’s most famous grill masters from his business. Aaron Franklin, owner of Franklin Barbecue in East Austin, worked for Mueller in 2006. The latter was gracious in accepting the success of the former.

“I was happy for him,” Mueller told CultureMap in 2012 of the success of Franklin Barbecue. “I’m glad he had that well and was working for me. And it didn’t take long. He didn’t need that at all. He’s just good at what he does. “

Mueller then went on to found John Mueller Meat Co. in East Austin and subsequently held jobs at Black Box Barbecue in Georgetown, Granger City Brewing in Granger, and Granary in Jarrell.

Along the way, he burned bridges with former business partners, food vendors, and the Texas comptroller’s office. Every time one of his joints was closed, he thought it would be the end of the barbecue life for John Mueller, ”writes Vaughn. “But I did not know another life. Mueller always found another audience to surprise with his smoked meat. “

His final stint at the barbecue came in Dallas-Fort Worth, where he worked for six months at Hutchins BBQ, which has locations in McKinney and Frisco.

A recent Facebook post on La Barbecue’s page, followed by a deluge of nearly 500 comments, pointed to a sentiment that most Texas barbecue lovers can relate to: “Rest in peace, John Mueller. We miss you so much already !! “


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