Rudy’s Country Store & Barbecue – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rudy’s Real Texas Bar-B-Q

I first sampled Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q’s products in 1993 in Leon Springs, Texas, a San Antonio suburb on the fringes of the magnificent Texas Hill Country. At the time Rudy’s was just beginning to make inroads toward becoming a significant barbecue presence in Texas where beef and brisket are king. Back then Leon Springs appeared to be a test ground for new restaurant concepts–and in fact, it is the site of the first Romano’s Macaroni Grill and the first Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q (as well as a concept called Nacho Mama’s which might have been the best of the lot.)

Before it was Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q, however, it was just Rudy’s Country Store. The country store was opened in 1929 by Rudolph “Rudy” Aue, the son of the founder of Leon Springs. The country store included a gas station, garage and grocery store. In 1989, Rudy’s added Bar-B-Q to its country store’s name. Rudy’s was transformed into a meat market selling meats prepared on 100% oak-fired pits.

The sprawling dining room

My first impression was that this intriguing country store concept would be a perfect fit for for Albuquerque which until recent years has had pretty slim pickings when it comes to great barbecue. It took more than a dozen years for those hopes to be realized. Today, Rudy’s now has two stores in the Duke City. This expansive enterprise also has restaurants in Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, Oklahoma and throughout the great state of Texas.

Rudy’s still offers Texas style tangy barbecue in a country store setting. Unlike many Texas barbecue bastions which seem to prefer acrid mesquite woods, Rudy’s meats are prepared using only oak, a slower-burning wood than mesquite. Rudy’s meats are also imbued with a nice smoke ring characteristic of good barbecue. Those meats are flame cooked pit-style. The meats are dry-rubbed, not slathered with sauce before being placed in the smoker. The meats are characteristically moist, tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. You can purchase them in increments: quarter-pound, half-pound, pound or more if you so desire. With a half-pound, you can build two to three stacked sandwiches.

The counter where you place your order

The meats are delicious with or without sauce (sause is how it’s spelled on Rudy’s menus). There are two kinds of sause–a hot sause which is better, bolder and more peppery than its counterpart, labeled “sissy sause.” New Mexicans who adore green chile give the hot sauce a healthy respect and might insult wimps who use the sissy sauce by calling them Texans. To some, the secret to the deliciousness in Rudy’s barbecue starts with the distinctive sause and its peppery flakes which imbue a sweet tanginess and zesty kick (especially if you use the hot sause).

Surprisingly Rudy’s markets itself as the world’s worst barbecue. There are at least two explanations for this slogan’s genesis. Some surmise that this is just a clever advertising ruse intended to be taken ironically, not literally. It’s as much a “rib” as the meaty ribs on the menu. The other explanation is that “worst” is a play on the German word “wurst,” a type of sausage prepared in the Texas hill country by Germans who first settled this part of Texas in the mid-1850s.

A Half Pound of Brisket

A great meal features a pound or more of very good smoked meat wrapped in butcher paper with accompanying bread slices (rather ordinary wheat or white bread) that make for several sandwiches. Rudy’s brisket is probably the number one selling item on the menu. It is tender, juicy, and melts in your mouth. You can smell the oak that’s used to smoke it in every bite. The pork and brisket are very good, links are terrific and ham is excellent. If you’re a ham fanatic, Rudy’s serves some of the best in town. A light, sweet glaze contrasts with the porcine saltiness of the ham to dance on your taste buds.

Seating is family-style on wooden picnic tables, but no one seems to mind sitting with strangers. Perhaps that’s because most patrons are too busy with the entrees, but more than likely it’s because the environment seems to inspire friendliness. Aside from the indoor seating with a view of the prep tables where the slicing and cutting is done, Rudy’s offers covered porch seating. Our debonair dachshund The Dude enjoys the covered porch during inclement days that aren’t fit for man or his best friend.

A Half Pound of Pork

Between the unholy hours of seven and ten in the morning, Rudy’s offers “grab and go” tacos which you can customize with your favorite smoked meats. Once you’ve had tacos made with smoked meats, you might never again be satisfied with ground beef tacos (or any Taco Bell faux-simile thereof). The grab and go options include bacon, egg and chile; sausage, egg and chile; brisket, egg and chile; jalapeño sausage wrap; sausage wrap; carne adovada wrap; chop taco and beans and cheese. Any option with chile–red or green–is best.

Rudy’s also serves something called the “brown cow taco” which is made from barbecue brisket (or you can substitute pulled pork), chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese and sour cream inside a warm flour tortilla. It’s a much larger taco than the other breakfast tacos and can be ordered any time of day. The Turkey Joe taco is somewhat similar except that it’s constructed from the smoked turkey and Ranch dressing. Both are full-meal-sized and quite good.

Rudy’s Sissy Sause and Bar-B-Q Sause

The menu includes several sides: potato salad, green bean salad, coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, green chili stew, pinto beans, cream corn, new potatoes and a jumbo smoked potato (nearly the size of a football). The buttery boiled potatoes are a popular favorite which many guests seem to love. The cream corn, which is also quite good, uses large niblet corn and a sweet, creamy, buttery sauce.

Rudy’s employees wear shirts emblazoned with the slogan, “We didn’t claw our way to the top of the food ladder only to eat vegetables.” That’s the way most diners feel as well. The walls nearest the entrance are festooned with accolades proclaiming the self proclaimed “world’s worst barbecue” Albuquerque’s very best several years running by publications such as Albuquerque The Magazine, The Alibi and Local IQ.

Sausage, Bacon and Green Chile Breakfast Taco

Since man cannot live on barbecue alone, a collection of sure to please desserts are available: banana pudding, pecan pie, chocolate pudding, buttermilk pie, Rice Krispy treats, ice cream and peach cobbler. Buttermilk pie, despite its deeply Southern roots has become somewhat of a big hit at Rudy’s in New Mexico. This custard pie with its faintly caramelized top is almost cloying in its degree of sweetness, but it’s perfect for sweet-toothed diners.

Rudy’s was one of the first restaurants to introduce Albuquerque diners to Stewart’s sodas which come in several varieties including a root beer which was named the top root beer at the 2006 World Cup of Root Beer. Stewart’s sodas evoke nostalgic tangs among people who grew up with Nehi sodas and their colorful variety.

Pecan Pie and Banana Pudding

Rudy’s is perhaps the best Texas import to land in the Land of Enchantment since UNM basketball star Kenny Thomas transferred from El Paso to Albuquerque High School. It’s become a barbecue landmark in its two Duke City locations.

Rudy’s Country Store & Barbecue
10136 Coors Blvd, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 890-7113
Web Site | Facebook Page

LATEST VISIT: 25 March 2018
# OF VISITS: 25
RATING: 19
COST: $$
BEST BET: Brown Cow Taco, Pork Sandwich, Brisket, Ham

Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

22 thoughts on “Rudy’s Country Store & Barbecue – Albuquerque, New Mexico”

  1. Michael – Alas, if I’ve (blush) sipped some White Russians, I may become a tad facetious at times and this might have been the case when commenting about someone told me Taco Bell was real Mexican food…my apologies misleading you that I believed them.
    RE Tacos: My late Vieja grew up with six Sibs in a hand built home in 5 Points. (Whether this makes a difference or not in terms of Comida: My late n legal father-in-law claimed a Spanish vs Mexican ethnicity.) Anyway, the kitchen was, if memory serves correctly, about 7(?) feet wide by maybe 12ft, which, in addition to her petite stature and being one of the youngest, possibly limited my Vieja’s chances at observation of Mom’s food prep tricks. When first married, I remember her frustration in being able to prepare tacos so all 3 of us could sit/eat at the table together vs serving tacos being hot one at a time. Alas, we didn’t come up with this idea http://tinyurl.com/ydxsnpvv to use when she was frying up the corn tortillas, to shape. Of course, the next problem is filling several without them falling over and spilling. Surely, something like this reversible gizmo http://tinyurl.com/y7l3doxj would’ve been great! Of course in today’s World of one daughter: “We’ve got no time!”, this, IMHO, is the best invention after the squeezable ketchup bottle, short of TB!: Stand and Stuff Shells http://tinyurl.com/y7jd8u55 i.e. at least we’re getting home fried/seasoned burger, home gardened lettuce/tomato and home peeled roasted Green Chile! LOL
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    8 – Sorry ya missed the clickable: http://tinyurl.com/ycpq2dw9

    1. Michael: Gosh darn it, forgot! My first taco was in LA from a window in a converted 15-18′ travel trailer (today known as a Mobile Kitchen or Food Truck) set on a vacant lot on either Normandie or S. Vermont, either just north or south of Exposition Blvd on one dark night made eerie by Santa Ana winds circa ’59 while musica from Tijuana played in the background. (Wonder if Sr Plata ever had such an adventure!?) OMG…even without “heat”, had had (except for a cheese-potato or kapusta filled pierogi fried in onion/bacon; kielbasi; strip fried clams; coffee frappe; or a rare Moxie tonic), nothing so scrumptious back in MA!

    2. That’s okay BOTVOLR, if I took the time to click on all of your sites I’d have to give up golf or sleeping, or my exercise time. I figure if you can’t verbalize what it is I’ll take a Pasadena on it. But thanks anyway.

    3. BOTVOLR;
      I thought you were serious about TB. Their food is terrible as I did try it years ago and its sad that so many will eat there in stead of a local eatery for the real thing.
      I get it, people are lazy and would prefer to use formed shells rather than cook a corn tortilla. So your first taco was in SO CA. I lived there for many years and have eaten tacos cooked with both shells and fried tortillas.
      I don’t remember my first taco any more than my first apple or glass of milk. Ive eaten tacos all my life and have lived in SO CA, AZ, TX and have enjoyed tacos in Mexico for years. I can trace my mothers family back to the 1600’s here in NM on both sides of her family, they were Northern NM settlers. I bring this up since you mentioned your Vieja and your in laws ancestry. Ive watched many women in my family make and serve dozens of tacos and hot and fresh. I also am capable of doing this as I’m sure many on this site are as well. As far as the various molds or racks used, to either hold the tortilla while frying or to set them in afterwards, Ive never tried one. With a fork or a set of tongs I can put a corn tortilla in hot oil and turn it while it cooks so that it does not have a V shape but is rounded on the bottom so as to hold plenty of meat and other ingredients, this also makes it stronger than the V shape. Ive seen the shells with the square bottom advertised on TV and wonder how one puts it in their mouth, it doesn’t seem natural. First time I ate a taco served in a shell my departed wife fed them to me. To me there is nothing better than a freshly fried corn tortilla, especially if the tortilla was hand made as well. It has a certain strength yet tender to the tooth so it chews easily. Again the flavor of the fried corn encompassing the filling of the taco cannot be beat. I do judge all Mexican/NM restaurants by their ability to fry a corn tortilla for the tacos they serve. Comparing shells to tortillas is like putting pastrami on some stale white bread as opposed to some good fresh rye. Nice talking with you, Peace.

  2. OMG! is the Sausage/Bacon/Green Chile Breakfast Taco pic new? Whao it looks delicious! Just called…only served 7-10AM.
    Otherwise, I stand by my preference of July, 2013 in terms of consistency in the intervening years.
    Alas, that 1/2 rack of BabyBack Ribs as listed on the menu https://rudysbbq.com/menu/ is sounding tempting!

    1. Tis indeed a new photo of the sausage, bacon and green chile breakfast taco. In fact all the photos on the review are new.

      I would challenge you to sample Rudy’s breakfast taco offering and compare it with the smoked brisket taco at the Stack House. The latter’s green chile is among the very best in the metropolitan area and the brisket has such a wonderful smoked aroma that you’ll want it as an aftershave.

      1. Ok, before the Stack House’s:
        Surely, there are greater minds than mine that can figure this all out in the development of certain Hispanic foods:
        I.e. ?: when is an unfolded tortilla a taco and not a tostado nor a burrito.
        Ans: when Rudy’s BBQ says it’s a taco!
        When served a Green Chile/Sausage/egg “taco” at Rudy’s, it comes esconced in aluminum. When you unfold the aluminum, the (“untoasted”/limp) tortilla almost lays out flat/splayed with its contents free for all to see because the tortilla has not been neatly folded over and tucked in at the ends as many common burritos! If nothing else, it bears no resembles to the original Taco Bell taco many of us may have been introduced to as real “Mexican” food, i.e. the Hard Sided Shell folded up in an (open) V shape, before a thing called the Soft Shelled Taco was introduced years later.
        – Elsewise Rudy’s Taco is not V shaped, has eggy tasting scrambled eggs, shrads of sausage, and tangy/somewhat flavorful Green Chile. It can be special ordered at the counter in a variety of mixes, e.g. carne adovada, bacon vs the Grab n Go ones by the door.
        – Whoa, when ya think ya’ve been there just the other day for a previously mentioned BBQ Sausage Sandwich, Wham aging hits ya in the face. E.g. I swear the picnic tables in the porch at the Coors venue look spanking new…lo, that some love scratches of old have been sanded out. (Psst: don’t midjudge how low the seat really is if you be tall!) Gone is the “tub” filled with ice and water that makes an ice cold beer an ice cold beer…argue if you will, but it beats a now refrigerated beer. Sodas (colas, tonic, pop) are in a new ice water tub.
        – Lastly, and as no one has mentioned this previously, Rudy’s….despite its rough n tumble Texas Cowboy demeanor…is probably the only place of any kind in the City that is mindful of/cares for its O-CD patrons as Rudy provides, additionally, a foot pull http://tinyurl.com/ycpq2dw9 , besides a handle for exiting the Men’s restroom…Caution: depending on what shape you be in, you might sustain a pulled groin muscal(sic)!

        1. From BOTVOLR:
          “Lastly, and as no one has mentioned this previously, Rudy’s….despite its rough n tumble Texas Cowboy demeanor…is probably the only place of any kind in the City that is mindful of/cares for its O-CD patrons as Rudy provides, additionally, a foot pull http://tinyurl.com/ycpq2dw9 , besides a handle for exiting the Men’s restroom…Caution: depending on what shape you be in, you might sustain a pulled groin muscal(sic)!”

          Really, BOTVOLR ???
          Is this related to ambiance or physical fitness?
          Although I’m afraid to ask what is a foot pull or do you mean a leg pull which is what you’re doing weirdly I might add?

        2. Whomever introduced you to “Taco Bell” as real Mexican food, did you a disservice. With so many good places for Mexican food I hope you don’t eat at TB. I’m always surprised at the restaurants in Albuquerque that use Taco Shells, the preformed V shaped “Tostada” as an excuse for a taco. A fried to form corn tortilla is the best delivery method for the taco ingredients and the fresh fried flavor enhances the taco. I like Rudy’s but don’t think of Rudy’s for breakfast, got to try them sometime. I do like to re heat a few slices of brisket along with fried eggs, hash browns and flour tortillas on the side, outstanding.

      2. Looking at the photo of the Rudy’s breakfast taco I’m not sure whether that’s the same as the grab and go mini that I liked. The size perspective makes it look a lot larger than I remember. Mine held together making it very easy to consume one handed. What I do remember was thinking it was very good. Hand food, not fork and knife food. When I do have Rudy’s it’s usually take out and like Michael I enjoy the wet brisket at home while it’s still moist, either on a hoagie roll or good rye bread. It needs no condiments especially since it’s the wet brisket. The bread soaks up all that wetness. A great 4 1/2 to 5 napkin beauty. Next I’ll try Michaels suggestion of using it in place of bacon or ham for breakfast with hash browns and fried eggs, hold the taco, a toasted bagel instead.

    2. Rudy’s has long been my favorite BBQ place. They have the meats, to quote Arbys. I prefer their wet (fattier) brisket for the flavor imparted by the fat. It may not be healthier but it’s tastier.
      In rereading a previous comment regarding Rudy’s potato salad I have to agree. I really prefer potato salad made with Russets, a less waxy potato than Rudy’s. It becomes softer as it absorbs the mayo that I like and the waxy potato doesn’t.
      So I usually order a jumbo baked with the works and it works for me.
      Rudy’s on Carlisle seved a small breakfast burrito for a couple of buck that are terrific. Hand held and not too filling, comes in a variety of combos. I prefer the eggs and bacon or sausage. A quick and satisfying 6 bites.
      I’ve had almost every variety of BBQ they serve with the exception of the smoked roast beef. It seems to always be sold out. A good sign.

  3. Planned on Stack House BBQ today but checked their hours and they’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. So, we went to Rudy’s instead. As usual the meat was great. We ordered a quarter of a pound of each, moist brisket, chopped BBQ, pulled pork and jalapeno sausage. We also got some potato salad, bread, pickles, onions and pickled jalapenos.
    Brisket was very good, pulled pork good, chopped Q had some burnt ends in it, very good, jalapeno sausage has a nice snap to it but would like it a little spicier. The potato salad as usual wasn’t that good, no mustard or eggs and its rather sweet so I added mustard to mine and it was better. We went for the meats and as usual they did no disappoint. The sauce is good but not really needed and the chopped Q comes sauced. They do a great job with barbecue, not so much with the sides but we were there for the meat.
    We had tried Mo’s original again, wont go back. For good barbecue it’s Rudy’s or The County Line both are chains and both out of Texas, go figure.

    1. I agree on the potato salad. I just add a little mustard, cut up some pickle and onion and mix it in with a little bit of black pepper. Sprinkle some pickled jalapenos on top and it is not too bad.

  4. People that are not from the BBQ part of the planet (Texas, and the South) waste waaaaaay too much time and effort evaluating the sause sauce salsa or whatever you want to call it. If an establishment puts a tomatoey or vinegary goop on top of meat, the first reaction of ANY BBQ aficionado is: What are they trying to hide? And why the hell did they do that without asking my permission first??? Sides and desserts are irrelevant. We are talking about smoke meat artistry. You don’t judge a master marble sculptor by pointing out that his statues are pretty good but he doesn’t play the ukelele very well. My experience in New Mexico with regard to BBQ joints has been pretty sad (I live in Santa Fe now … grew up in Texas). Rudy’s is hand’s down the best experience I’ve had. Super good brisket and a brisket that is suitable and should be eaten without dumping ketchup all over it. Please! The sides are nondescript but who cares? [ Full disclosure: In ABQ I’ve only tried the Cube and Rudy’s … ]

  5. You can’t go wrong at Rudy’s…everything is so good! You gotta try that huge smoked potato! The only thing lacking for me is maybe a green salad or some steamed fresh veggies. However, it’s the kinda place where you definitely go to indulge in some protein, but I always leave feeling a little guilty; say, perhaps some healthy crisp veggies could’ve helped to balance things out.

  6. Reading Gil’s review, one can’t help but hear some version of a song apparently popularized in the early ‘40s by e.g. a concert band, a ukulele combo in MA, Gene Autry, the Glen Miller Orchestra etc. (per Youtube googling) and I’m sure near and dear to the hearts of Texans by http://tinyurl.com/m57b27q …ya right… but let’s check these two out http://tinyurl.com/ko53ryw

    For me, I love sitting out on Rudy’s screened in porch while enjoying their potato salad and sausage sandwich and reading the ABQ J …LOL. I prep my “rather ordinary wheat or white bread” by squeezing on some mayo, squirt some Macho BBQ ‘sause’ on, and adorn the sausage with their freshly cut onions! (It is well known that eating onions with sausage negates any negative nutritional stuff, but I can’t find it as all tv channels are awaiting Prince X to exit the hospital!!!) Per consequences of my maturity, and if you are of a similar ilk, I highly recommend asking that the skilled slicer slice thin like coins vs. length wise to facilitate munching on this treasure rather than fighting the traditional skin. An extra delight IMHO, is stocking their sodas and cervezas in iced water as a frigerated beer just doesn’t compare!

    What’s worse than paying Taxes? Paying Taxes for things that we forget to use!!!! Let me suggest a summertime/fall option: Get you order (bring your own “beverage”) and go a mile over to Bachechi Open Space to use the gate off Rio Grande http://tinyurl.com/ll7dutn to use the tables and/or seated swing alfresco or into “forest” for a bench bout an hour or so before closing at sunset.
    “Chow!!”

  7. It’s always good and I’ve eaten at just about every Barbecue place in town. The few I havent tried I was warned off of. Some places have better sides than Rudy’s but I know when I walk in the door that the meat is going to be smoked right and it’s all about the meat, not the sides. Some places the brisket is good but the ribs arent, or the chicken is great but the pulled pork isnt, the sides are really good or you leave em on the plate. I dont like my Barbecue served already sauced, but I do like sauce. Rudy’s sauce is ok, but again, it’s all about the meat.

  8. First off I want to thank you Gil, just recently found this site and have found it very helpful, and have tried many new gems as a result. About Rudys, I love it. The BBQ is the best and the Green Chile stew is the best I have ever had.

  9. The most important question is this: Do they serve Big Red in the Duke City Rudy’s? I currently reside in San Antonio and an looking forward to leaving; I’d love to end up in Albuquerque and having a Rudy’s or two would resolve one of the only two things I figure i’ll miss about South Texas. If they have Big Red there then both will be taken care of in one fell swoop.

  10. We love Rudy’s because you can eat the meat without globs of gooey BBQ sauce. Glad to see Gil RAISED his rating of a year ago. The potato salad is excellent but the cole slaw was dry. It needs some mayo.

  11. I think their green chile stew is outstanding. They put a real twist on it by using smoked meat, which really distinguishes theirs from some of the great traditional NM green chile stews found at other restaurants. Plus I like the fact that a restaurant which comes in from out of state incorporates a local favorite into their menu and does it so well. I wonder if they offer it at their other locations outside of NM?

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