Gonzales Food Market -- Good BBQ
I finally made the drive down to Gonzales to try the reputed but not highly publicized Gonzales Food Market. It was real good. Worthy of a top place among Central Texas BBQ heavy hitters. I'm real surprised that Texas Monthly left these guys off. I just looked at the list and I can't say there are any I'd definitely take off and replace with Gonzales Food Market, but there are some, e.g. Opie's, Kruez's, Louie Mueller's (RIP), that are equal to or lesser than Gonzo.
On to the food...
Sausage -- Twas the best I've had in recent memory. Not greasy; kind of doughy textured and real fine grained filling; mild spice, but has some spice; good clean flavor. Goes real good with and without bread. Has just the right amount of moisture.
Brisket -- I give this brisket a 91 out of 100 [that's with Snow's in Lexington (believe the hype) being a 100 and Smitty's being a 97]. Beef didn't seem to be the highest quality based on the marble and mild sinew. But... the texture, tenderness, and taste of the beef were top notch. Plenty of fat that was real tender. All around strong brisket.
Had some beef ribs and mutton ribs too. Beef ribs had a real tasty rub, but were cut across as short ribs rather than the whole rib which I prefer. Meat was a little tough and chewy, but was good. As always, beef ribs had a perfect combo of fat and meat. Mutton ribs were real tasty but I could only deal with one because those things by definition are so damn greasy.
Had some real sweet tea that made your teeth start to rot as you drank it b/c of all the sugar in it. In case you're wondering, this is a good thing.
I highly recommend Gonzales Food Market. Not only because the food is good, but the guy that owns it, Richard Lopez, is a grade A guy; cares about his customers and his craft.
We took a drive to Gonzales today. If you are wondering how far it is from Austin, we live in the NE part of town and I clocked the mileage at 130 round trip. It was a solid hour and a half to get there.
I enjoyed the drive, but I don't think I'll be making it again. Perhaps we hit them on an off day, but even though everything we ate was good, nothing seemed great. I see what the OP means about the brisket and sausage, as those were definitely the best things. The sausage seems very similar to that at City Market in Luling, except with more heat. I love the City Market sausage because it's all beefy and crumbly inside. I'm not anti-heat, but didn't love it in the Gonzales sausage. The brisket was very flavorful but the lean side was real dry so I only ate from the cap end.
We tried a little of everything, and I have to say my main issue is the lack of smoke. The flavor of the meat was good, but it was almost a more roasted taste than a smoked one. At City Market or any of the Lockhart places you are smacked in the face with the heat and smoke from the on-site pits, and the Gonzales place is more like a market.
I've often told people that if they are driving to Lockhart for bbq, why not drive another 15 minutes to Luling. Gonzales is about 20-25 minutes past Luling, but I can't see myself saying why not drive to Gonzales. I just don't feel like there was anything that special about it. Luling remains my favorite. Also, the sauce at CM in Luling rocks. The Gonzales sauce was more tomato-ey. I prefer CM's mustard-y taste.
All in all it was a fun trip. We got to try lamb ribs which I've never had before. And I liked that there were a lot of sides to try, which is something I miss at other places. The people were super nice, and it's a cool little town. But on straight bbq, I was disappointed.
re: Allison L.
we took a trip to Port A, and on the way down to Port A we stopped at Luling City Market and then on the way back we stopped at Gonzales Food Market. Had Brisket and Ribs at both, here's the comparisons:
1) Brisket - I liked the brisket better at Gonzales. it had a better "coating" flavor and better crust. Both were pretty good but not as good as the last time I went to Black's.
2) Ribs - I have to say I think Gonzales might have won out on this one as well. They used a smaller rib (it wasn't quite a baby back, but it was definitely not a spare rib). I like the smaller rib better than the big spare ribs at City Market. Again, the gonzales ribs had a better coating and crust. But of course I wish i had a bottle of the City Market sauce to put on them.
On a side note, I also liked that Gonzales had a nice assortment of sides like green beans, hash browns and since we had our 4 year old son with us it was great that they had Mac N Cheese as one of the sides too,
Wow, maybe we did hit them on an off day because the crust you speak of was pretty non-existent for us. I love a good crust and I think that if got what you are describing, my opinion would have been different.
I agree that the brisket at Gonzales was better than City Market has been recently. I find the brisket at City Market to be hit or miss. Still liked the sausage and ribs better at CM though.
I'm glad Gonzales Market is finally getting some recognition....The Breitschopf Brothers, Willie and Raymond , were the proprietors for quite a while starting in the 60's and Lopez has continued the tradition of exceptional BBQ. It's certainly the equal of the excellent Luling Market and I think better than a couple of the Lockhart joints. If you haven't been to Gonzales Market, GO, you'll like it.....As you may have guessed, I grew up on it.
I love the Mutton. Definitely one of the most missed great spots on the BBQ tour. I lived 2 blocks from it for awhile and never found anything that did not meet my expectations. And I am a Champion BBQ'er.
Definitely give it a try when you are going through. And if you are a true aficianado, just drive there.
I totally agree with you uarent. I finally stopped into the Gonzales Food Market a couple of months ago on my way to the coast. I have loved the Lockhart-Luling BBQ joints forever. But someone had told me about this place in Gonzales.
I love my sausage and their sausage blew me away. Beats all the Lockhart-Luling sausages and is a close second to my favorite, Meyer's Beef Sausage in Elgin.
The brisket that I have had has been very good too.
I have to have BBQ sauce on my sausage, not anything else, but the sausage. The BBQ sauce their at the Gonzales Food Market was great. My instant favorite. I buy some everytime I go through. Put this sauce on the sausage and go crazy.
Another thing that I like is that you can buy the sausage raw and take it home and grill it yourself. Just as good.
Don't forget to try some of the pecan pie. Good stuff.
And finally, uarent you are right, the owner, Mr. Richard Lopez is great and they really care about their customers and their food.