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Jul 3, 2010 09:30 AM

Best BBQ Beans in Central Texas ?

I just moved to Canyon Lake Tx. and one of the things i love MOST is GREAT BBQ Beans !
where can i get the best? ... and i dont mind travelin if i have to.
I like em' nice and smokey.

so? who is doing REALLY super GREAT BEANS ?

Thanks ALOT !

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  1. Reckon the first thing I'd ask is what do you mean by "BBQ beans"? Are you talking about the soupy cowboy/Mexican-style pintos favored in this part of the country?

    Or the sweet baked beans common elsewhere?

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jaymes

      i'm talkin about cowboy beans.... like the kind you get in any good smoke pit around here. not the baked beans of the northeast.

      1. re: BBQaddict

        Been watching this thread and waiting to see if anyone responds with any good advice. As nobody else has yet weighed in, I think I'll give it a shot.

        I eat a LOT of barbecue, and have no real opinions to share as to which spot has good beans. I've been thinking about that ever since I read your initial query.

        I think it might be because beans are really something of an afterthought at the Central Texas barbecue meccas. The best of these started life as meat markets opened by German immigrants around the turn of the last century. When they got to Texas, they missed their meats, including the smoked wursts, etc., from home and opened butcher shops and food markets with good meat counters and began smoking the meats of the new world. The Germans don't really have much of a bean tradition and because these places were essentially butcher shops and markets, not restaurants, they didn't sell sides.

        But this being the southwest, with a strong Mexican influence, pinto (and "pinto-type" such as Flor de Mayo) beans were ubiquitous. And they go so well with beef, which was meat of choice around here, it followed naturally that the pot of soupy pintos that was usually simmering on the back burner would be served up alongside the smoked brisket.

        So now, most of these old meat markets do offer beans. But they remain something of an afterthought. And although I've eaten the beans at every famous Central Texas barbecue joint, I can't exactly remember the flavor of a single bite.

        But I do love those pinto beans.

        I just don't think in terms of the barbecue joints when I head out to get me some.

        I go to the Mexican restaurants and order "frijoles de olla" or "frijoles boracho" or "frijoles charros." And if you're new to the area, here's a tip. Most of the Mexican restaurants in Texas do bring refried beans automatically with their plate lunches and dinners. But if you ask, they'll usually substitute charro beans at no additional charge.

        Or you can do like I do and cook up a clay bean pot (olla) full of them at home.

        Although for my money, the best beans in this entire region are at La Fogata in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

        One of these days, you should make a run for the border and give those beans a try.

        1. re: Jaymes

          well..... i guess that explains it. thanks alot. LOL guess i'll have to be making my own. never thought that these pits would not have good smoky beans.

          1. re: BBQaddict

            I ain't saying they're not good - they are. Just, to me at least, not particularly memorable and not the reason I'd pick one joint over another.

            1. re: Jaymes

              oh no..... i wouldnt pick a joint based on the beans. i would make a special trip there just to get a quart of beans to keep in the fridge at home. so i can heat them up when i want them. LOL then go somewhere else to get the meat.

              i dont usually eat beans with BBQ anyway. i like them on their own as a light meal.
              i eat Q with white bread and maybe some slaw.... but thats about it,
              no onions or pickles or nothin, just plain meat and bread most of the time.

              BUT... i LOVE good smokey beans and a small dish makes a good light meal when i am in the mood for them

              so i guess i mis-represented myself. i would never pick a joint based on its sides. LOL i dont really care about them when i am eating good Q.
              sorry about that.

              i just wanted to know where i could get good scratch made cowboy beans so i could buy a qanity and take them home.

              1. re: BBQaddict

                Well, I tell you what...

                Next time I head down to Progreso, I'll swing through Canyon Lake and honk.

                1. re: Jaymes

                  OK so what are these beans in Progreso like?
                  are they like real BBQ beans with a smokey flavour or just your standard Mexican beans..... which are good..... but not real cowboy style beans

          2. re: Jaymes

            I'd never given much thought to the reason sides are so unimpressive at many Texas Q joints but your reasoning makes a lot of sense. Beans are perhaps the 'safest' side to go with, even though it's more protein, which you don't need. Even canned beans are likely to be better than institutional cole slaw or potato salad but they seldom rise above that.

            I much prefer Charros myself at a good taqueria or taco truck.

            For the OP probably the most memorable beans in Houston at a Q joint are the chili beans at Pierson's, a meal in themselves with bits of the smokey brisket added in; too sweet for my taste, theoretically, anyway, but I always find myself scarfing them down.

            1. re: dexmat

              Yep, I've had those beans. And I agree that they are really tasty although, as you point out, they have more of an East Texas/Deep South-influenced sweet flavor and thickness than the typical West/Central Texas soupy cowboy beans. Not all the way to Arkansas, mind you, but definitely heading in that direction.

              Still, that's Houston. And Miss BBQAddict is over in Canyon Lake. I keep hoping somebody a little closer to her new home will offer some tips and/or insight.

              Any suggestions, San Antonians, for Mexican restaurants with outstanding Charro Beans?

              I might add that La Fogata over in Nuevo Progreso is one of those Mexican "grilled meats" restaurants (in fact, "fogata" means bonfire or campfire), so their beans are smokey. Does anyone know of one of those type places in San Antonio? They might have similar beans.

      2. OK so i have officially given up trying to find good BBQ beans. what i HAVE done though.... is save all the tailings from my trips to the smoke pits. i have a BIG pile of leftover bits and bobs from the last few weeks in the freezer and TODAY..... i got my crock pot out and put the beans in with the BBQ scraps and presto ! 10 hours later......
        GREAT BEANS !

        i think i need to add a bit more seasoning but ...,not being a cook..... i am not sure just how to tweek it. but as they are now..... they came out wonderful ! nice meaty BBQ flavour ! ... to no trouble to make with a crockpot.

        LOL..... well at least i know where i can get decent beans now......
        AT HOME !

        1. I agree charro beans are best in Mexican restaurants. However, Coopers in New Braunfels are pretty darn good...and the bbq is to die for....and their cobbler rocks. Just sayin'

          7 Replies
          1. re: amysuehere

            funny you should mention Coopers in New Braunfels. i was there for lunch a few days ago and was suprised at how good it was. they were on their game for sure.
            i sat in the back room and had a quiet lunch in the late afternoon.

            yes their beans are good but they dont have enough smoke flavour for me. i like really smokey beans. but... i did enjoy being there. i had only been to the pit in Llano .... and i liked what i had that day as well.

            so far... i havent encountered any brisket i havent enjoyed. even the worst i have had is BETTER than anything i could get in all the other places i have lived over the years. LOL
            so..... right now.... no complaints from me.

            i will have to try Coopers cobbler. thanks for your comment.

            1. re: BBQaddict

              You've been here, what, maybe six weeks or so? And it sounds like you've somehow managed to get to most, if not all, of the "legendary" Central Texas 'cue joints. Although I've often said nobody should judge a place until they've visited at least twice, and preferably three times, and even though it seems you've really been burning up the highways, I can't imagine you've been able to make it to too many places more than once, I can't help but be curious....

              I know you moved here primarily for the barbecue, so I'm wondering...what are your initial overall impressions of the "greats"? Have any favorites emerged yet?

              City Market in Luling
              Cooper's Llano
              Louie Mueller's Taylor

              And maybe,
              City Market Gonzales
              City Market Giddings

              And anything else?

              City Market
              633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  Every now and then in life, one gets the gift of a huge, unexpected laugh.

                  Sometimes it even comes when you need it most.

                  Like now.

                  So thanks, JC.

                2. re: Jaymes

                  HA ! i havent even been here for 6 weeks ! its been about 4 weeks i think... and YESSSSS ! i HAVE been burning up the highways. i havent really had THAT much of a chance to get round to many places.

                  I have been to :
                  Southside market (Elgin)
                  Meyers (Elgin)
                  Coopers (Llano and New Braunfels)
                  Salt Lick
                  Louie Muellers
                  Luling ( city market)

                  I think thats about it so far. some of these places i have been to a few times and of course, Lockhart i cant help going back to over and over again.

                  I have not been to Snows or Gonzales or Giddings.... i just now ,a few days ago got my furniture, LOL.
                  and even THEN.... i was DYING to go but i had to wait for the movers on several different days.... so i just didnt have the time.

                  but so far..... i have to say i REALLY dont have a favourite. they all have been good at different times in their own way. I know that brisket is variable so when i go in to a pit i dont have expectations.... i just wait to see what they have. if it looks good.... i'll buy it.

                  i HAVE noticed though that some places ... like Kreuz... had people slicing that were NOT willing to pull out another brisket to give me the cut i wanted.
                  when i asked for wet and well marbled... they just cut me what they had and it was dry and not very good.
                  so... i thought to myself... ok...... i am not going to be back again for a while when i have other places like Blacks and Smittys that i can usually count on for a nice bit of brisket.

                  Salt lick was also very responsive to my request as well as Luling and Blacks.

                  BUT.... because i live here now i am not obsessed with whether a brisket is right all the time. if i see it isnt then... i just go somewhere else.
                  and by going to Lockhart.... i always know that i have a choice if someones brisket is not looking too good that day.

                  i would LOVE to go to Snows but thats got to be a planned trip since there is a HUGE line involved. i have nitemares about getting there and they are sold out before i get to the counter. LOL
                  AND..... i dont want to buy a whole brisket because there are other places to try.
                  so maybe i will save Snows for last... after i have been to all the others i can get to.

                  Because i havent lived here for so many years..... i am SOOOO GRATEFUL to have all this Q in my back yard so even the few misteps i have encountered have been OK with me becuase i have been SO used to doing WITHOUT for SO long..... even the misteps are better than anything i could get other places i have lived.

                  so..... the road trips will continue till i have hit as many of them as i can.
                  when i have the time to travel longer distances.... i will eventually get to most of them. and then start ALL over again LOL

                  The hot links have been good in all the places i have been..... i dont have a favourite there either. they are all different.
                  the only ribs i have had were from Blacks and they were fabulous so i cant speak for ribs either at the moment.

                  I do have to say i have been enjoying myself IMMENSELY...... sliding around to all these famous pits. LOL and it tickles me that i can just.... drive over now instead of taking a plane or a plannning a road trip hundreds and hundreds of miles for a few days of smoked bliss.

                  so.... anyway...... as of now... no favourites.
                  but good old reliable Blacks is at the top of my list

                  i am ALSO on the trail of a GREAT Texas pecan pie.
                  THAT and a kick ass chick fried steak are my other projects.

                  GEEZ! I got alot of work to do here.
                  good thing i am hungry all the time LOL

                  the Salt lick
                  Driftwood, TX, Driftwood, TX

                  Salt Lick
                  3350 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

                  1. re: BBQaddict

                    (hanging her head in shame) I guess I need to give back my native Texan badge. I've lived here all my life and still haven't hit some of the places you have....shame-shame-shame....

                    1. re: amysuehere

                      Thats funny Amysue..... but i think when you grow up around something...maybe it can become no big deal.
                      its hard to say.

                      but.....everyone has their hot buttons...... Texas smoke pits just happen to be mine. LOL