Black's, Lockhart - First Visit
I will be the first to admit that having lived 65 miles west of Houston for over 2 years I have been extremely tardy in checking off the Holy Shrines of BBQ which are relatively close by between my home and Austin.
So finally this weekend (having to make a trip to San Marcos anyhow) Black's in Lockhart finally rolled into view.
We arrived at opening time 10am pretty much looking more for a meaty breakfast bite than a full lunch.
I liked the "failsafe" cattle chute approach which will guide a first-time to where they need to go without any need for familiarity or thought.
Some ribs and some slices of brisket were procured, along with fresh cooked jalapeno cornbread.
We ate in the dining room festooned with Lockhart's Football Finest from many high school years past. The big strapping lads surely enjoyed some brisket here and so did we.
The brisket was lovely stuff. Moist. Flavorful. Not completely devoid of fat. Pleasant combination of smoke and natural beef. In short: zero not to like there.
The BBQ sauce was one of the better ones I've had, having several intense flavors on the go all of which enhanced (and did not overwhelm) the meat itself. We didn't use a lot of it but it was good sauce if you fancied a few mouthfuls "change of pace" from the basic flavor of the meat itself.
Oh a step back. The people taking the order and slicing the meat were very pleasant and made us feel at home.
Now the ribs are always more problematic for me. Do you go for the falling apart stage or leave them a little robust and chewy? I go both ways. I found the (pork) ribs not in the same class as the brisket. Perhaps we were an hour or two early in the day for them to reach their peak, I don't know. I prefer ribs where the bone has cooked down and about half the bone itself can be eaten even. This was a fairly solid-boned entity only chewable by canine efforts, not human ones, and the meat had that slight edge / tendency towards an elastic/rubbery/pink-eraser texture which is not awful, but not quite the pliant "cooked down" feel in your mouth you seek.
But the brisket was a true breakfast of champions, and one I would be most tempted to have on a daily basis if living in Lockhart.
Sausage was not sampled.
Thanks for reading.
215 North Main Street
Lockhart, TX 78644
Thanks for the review, bb! A few years back we had a friend in San Marcos (lovely little city, btw) and we hit just about every BBQ place on our route. Mainly we were on a hunt for jerky, but tried the BBQ, as well. I can't remember the names of any of the places, even though I can picture them in my mind, but I know we never hit Blacks. Sounds really good, but if you ever get into Houston, do try Pierson's.
As far as ribs go, I prefer them to be cooked to a point where the meat easily comes off the bone, cleanly. I want to be able to chew them, but not have to gnaw on them. That was the downfall of the ribs at Beaver's but I suspect that we were there too early for them to get to that tender stage.
Too bad you didn't sample the sausage. I saw on the website that it is made in house, and the photo of the links hanging up in the smokehouse (?) looks really tempting. I'm not a big sausage fan, unless it is homemade. When I was a kid my grandma made some really good sausage at her home in Cleveland, Ohio. Then she would fly out to wherever we were living at that point, bringing us some of her sausage. It was well wrapped and she carried it on the airplane. By the time the plane touched down everyone was starving! Good stuff.
Yes, I have been to Coopers in Llano. Very very good. They also had some cabrito in the pits which a nice change of pace. (Mutton would be even better.) The pits there are outside (photo on the link below) and you choose you meat prior to even entering the building at these mammoth pits. (Or you can eat outside.) Anything that looks good or takes your fancy will be dispensed upon request.
I suppose the only "Caution" light re: NB, is that expansion (mail order they are into as well) often dilutes the essense/purity of the brand. But let's hope for the best.
We went on the full BBQ tour about this time last year. Over a 3-day period, we ate at all of the restaurants on the barbecue trail ( http://www.texasbbqtrail.com/ ). Black's had the best brisket and sausage by a long shot. When we expressed our opinion to the manager, Mr. Black himself came out to thank us. A kinder Texas gentleman was never born! It was truly the highlight of our trip!
I think that Kruetz's is better BBQ than Black's. It is also in Lockhart. I think that Black's is owned by the daughter of Kruetz's owner. Kruetz's has been around a lot longer. I also saw your post about Jerky and I have to agree that Woody's in Centerville has some killer turkey and venison jerky! Don't mess with Texas!