Under the Dusty Palms of Luling Texas:City Market Barbecue
Sometimes you gotta save the best for last.I'm standing at the meat counter at City Market in beautiful downtown Luling Texas admiring my big butcher paper laden meat feast when I spy a fetching blister on one of my sausages.She's filled with fat and in need of a good stroking so I do what I have to and slowly pet the link.The meat man and his comrades have a good laugh,"this right here will make a fine dessert",they laugh a bit more but the laughter quiets down when they see the look of extreme concentration on my face.I'm serious and now they know it.
I make my way to table and begin my feed:The outside slice fatty brisket is perfect,as good as Eurestes in nearby Waelder and that says plenty.After wolfing down a half pound or so I realize I'm neglecting my Pork Ribs,these charred beauties are unnacustomed to having their siren song ignored but the whole two hands-one mouth thing is really proving to be an encumbrance on my ability to gorge.I address the issue by shoving an entire bone in my mouth and begin gently sucking and tugging every morsel off.I'm hard put to come up with any place outside Northport Alabama that has a hand with ribs as skilled as City Market.There is a very light,sweet glaze on the crispy surface that would be perfect for licking but that would be unseemly....never mind I begin licking each rib before devouring it...noone seems to notice or care and this is a full flavor experience.After devouring an entire rack of ribs and a half pound of Brisket it's time for dessert.I take the link with the big blister on the side and tilt my head back,once she's above my mouth I puncture the blister with a toothpick and guzzle the fat straight out of the hole,it's a little juicier than I'd planned but....EWWWWW,the beverage girl cries out"I can't believe you just did that"."Well believe it honey,when the eating's this good all bets are off".
Well fed I wander back into the meat room and inquire as to the whereabouts of a local icehouse,am informed that the only one in town has been retrofitted to become a pottery barn[!]what sort of biblical level of sin have the good folks in Luling committed to suffer this fate I wonder to myself as the meat men inform me of the location of a local tavern down the block....
Walking into Montes' Bar I feel like I'm right at home.It's dark,ice cold and the sweet perfume of burning tobacco permeates every square foot of the joint."The puritans haven't made it to Luling just yet"I exult to noone in particular.I belly up to the bar,make my introductions to the locals and the staff and begin my hang.The LoneStar is icecold and dirt cheap and the flavor of the tavern is spot on.An hour or so later it's me Luis,Rico,Gypsy,Chuy and Dick against the world.We're pounding em down and ol Gypsy's hollering at the teevee at every opportunity,we're watching Coyote Ugly tryouts "OL GIRLS' GONNA BE A MEAN LIL HEIFER BOUT TIME SHE HITS 40",he yells out.We all laugh it up and I reflect back on the food at City Market.I ask whether any of these ol fellers know of a spot that can beat Luling for barbecue and they all reckon City Market is the best...even better than Eurestes I ask and yes, they reckon, even better than Eurestes.I'm hard put to disagree and not in the mood to shake my new found alliance.
City Market has long been one of my favorite barbecue joints.The meat is otherworldly,the ambience is spot on and Luling is a picture perfect setting.I especially love walking down Davis Avenue[Main Street]to soak up the local flavor[the florist shop has a very fetching and elaborate Autumn display as a counter point to the fact that it's full-on Spring time].With the Watermelon Thump Festival coming up in late June I highly recommend a visit before the town's overrun with festival goers intent on crowning a new Watermelon Queen[one can only imagine the smoke filled back room of local power brokers haggling over the chosen one].
I have long felt that City Market serves the best 'que in Texas, although I sometimes swoon over Smitty's. I wish I were as eloquent as scrumptiouschef in describing City Market's fare. It really is otherworldly. It makes you feel like the world is a better place than it really is. What more can you say?
thanks for the great post. I'm so jealous of you Austinites. Although my one experience at City Market wasn't quite as beautiful as yours, I could see the potential. I do agree with Alice about Smitty's. That place is so good I'd walk there. From Plano.