Summer Barre-BQ: Austin, Texas

This summer, we went on the hunt for some great barbecue. But you know what makes barbecue even better? A post-workout appetite. After you’ve gotten your sweat on, sometimes choosing succulent slow-roast over a salad is an indulgence you just have to go for. So, in the spirit of summer, we’re bringing cardio and culinary together with a combo for the ages: barre + barbecue.

We asked barre studios in four of America’s most famous barbecue regions to tell us what’s hot in the studio, and on the grill. If you’re not familiar with barre, it’s a wicked workout for core and strength training, utilizing ballet positions, yoga and Pilates (see what’s it’s all about). With the help of these studios, we learned that there’s quite a range—from hot barre to haute cuisine, check out these diverse styles of barre-B-Q.

The barre

Austin is big on both University of Texas football and barbecue, but there’s a Longhorn in town who’s doing something different. UT grad Jennifer McCamish opened a barre studio in 2010, after a career as a professional dancer and Radio City Rockette. Dancers Shape uses a signature technique with “a more functional cross-training and rehabilitative approach,” offering a variety of classes including some slower-paced ones. You can even find Dancers Shape moves out on the football field—they’ve trained quite a few professional football players.

The barbecue

In terms of Texas barbecue, Austin is fairly new to the game. However, in the last seven or eight years, the city has been going through a barbecue renaissance. The Dancers Shape crew knows their barbecue, and they also know Evan LeRoy, executive chef and pitmaster at the popular Freedmen's. Evan took a moment to sum up Central Texas barbecue: “It’s all about brisket,” he says. “Brisket is the measuring stick of a Texas pitmaster. It is the king of barbecue meats—because of its difficulty to master and the incredible, life-changing reward when it's done.”

Barre studio: Dancers Shape
Barre-tender: Jennifer McCamish, owner
Location: Austin, Texas

Where in Austin can we find you?
We’re in the Rosedale/Allendale neighborhood. Our part of Burnet Road is starting to be called the Lo-Burn Business District.

What’s unique about Dancers Shape?
We have our own technique that incorporates Pilates concepts in weight-bearing positions. We use a mixture of full-range and isolated movements for a fun flow that’s safe and effective.

How do you and your students feel after a barre workout?
Energized and hungry.

Favorite local ‘cue joint to chow down at after class:
My managers and I like Freedmen's, Franklin Barbecue and County Line.

Local options for something on the lighter side:
Juiceland, The Peached Tortilla and Chi’Lantro.

Austin’s signature BBQ dish:
Smoked brisket.

Make it yourself

Grilled Cabbage Coleslaw
A recipe from Evan LeRoy, executive chef and pitmaster at Freedmen's

One of the most popular sides at the restaurant is actually the healthiest thing on the menu! The char on the cabbage gives the slaw a smoky flavor that's cut with vinegar and a touch of honey for sweetness. No mayo, dairy or sugar added.
1 head green cabbage
1 bunch cilantro
1 tablespoon local honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
Take off outer leaves of the cabbage head and split it vertically through the stem. Place the cut side of the cabbage on a very hot grill and cook for 2 minutes, or until a nice char has formed. Remove from the fire and cool briefly before slicing very finely into ribbons. Combine with chopped cilantro and season with salt, pepper, caraway, honey and vinegar. Mix to combine and let sit overnight.

Fresh and delicious! Yes, please.

Be sure to check out our other barre-B-Q posts.

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