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Suggestions For First Trip to City Market in Luling?

  • ddavis Oct 16, 2010 11:15 AM
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I have eaten at the other Central Texas barbecue shrines and am finally getting the opportunity next Friday to make my first trip to City Market in Luling. Do you old hands have any suggestions to make our visit there as good as possible? Thanks in advance.

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City Market
633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

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  1. Nothing is fancy here. You get your BBQ on butcher paper. The potato salad is very good. Get ribs, pulled or chopped pork and sausage. It's outstanding.

    1. Go early, say 11 am ish. My favorites are ribs, brisket, and sausage. I know nothing of the sides, for me, it's all about meat.

      1. Yep, ribs, brisket and sausage. I like the fatty brisket and the dry sausage. And, the pickles! Yum!

        1. I want to reiterate what JC said. Be sure to get there early.

          You walk in through the front door and keep going. At the back of that main dining room, on the right-hand side, you'll see another door. It's small and unassuming, even dingy, and you'll undoubtedly be unsure that it's the correct one. It is. You go back there to place your meat order, taking careful note of the sign on the door that admonishes you to keep the door closed. If there's a line, as there often is, and you stand there holding the door open, you'll out yourself as a newbie and someone will tell you to close it, and point to the sign, making you feel foolish. You tell the pit men in the stained white aprons what you want, in so far as the meat goes. They'll put it on butcher paper, weigh it, and you pay for your meat back there. Then you take your meat back into the dining room, select a table and seats, and put down your tray of meats which, if you have any sense at all, is now pretty heavy. Then you go to that other counter in the middle of the dining room to get your drinks and sides.

          We always get some fatty brisket, a little lean, several hot links and some ribs. In addition to what we eat there, we always get a dozen or so hot links 'to go' to take back to our freezers at home.

          Someone else mentioned pulled pork. Atlhough I think they have mutton, I didn't even know they had pulled pork. When we're in east Texas heading over toward Arkansas and Louisiana way, we'll get pulled pork, but in Central Texas, never, so can't speak to whether or not it's any good. I'm frankly surprised to hear somebody mention it.

          I also have no idea as to sides. We never get any.

          Unless you count sliced raw onions and white bread as sides.

          In which case, at Luling City Market, they're just fine.

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          City Market
          633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jaymes

            I've never seen pulled pork on the menu, then again I was never looking for it. Maybe there is some confusion as most of Littleman's posts are from SE USA. City Market has no website that I can find, and most of the usual suspects like City Search and Yelp show no mention of pulled pork.

            http://www.yelp.com/biz/city-market-l...

            1. re: James Cristinian

              I'm pretty sure there was only brisket/ribs/sausage when we were there last. Here's a link to the Stern's page on it, with photos. Apparently, they also ate mutton there. I know there was no mutton when I was there or I would've grabbed some! Also, the pickles on the Stern's site look nothing like what we had. The ones we had were more like homemade half-sours.
              http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re...

          2. Thanks for all your information. That should really help -- I hate to waste eating time on trying to figure out the protocol. As far as pulled pork is concerned, I'll look for it. You say the mutton is good, huh? I'll try it if they have it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ddavis

              I've never had mutton there. Didn't know they ever had it until I saw it on the Stern's site. But, I love all things sheep. So, I would grab it, given the option! I've only been there a couple of times.

              1. re: onrushpam

                After a little googling, I see that Zagat says they also have chicken and turkey. I don't know. I'm basically there for the brisket, ribs and sausage, and don't pay much attention otherwise.

                Guess I should.

                1. re: Jaymes

                  Be Careful. There is a place called "Luling City Market" that opened up in Houston. The original place in Luling is just called "City Market" . Some people do web searches and get the wrong info.

                  I have never ever ever ever seen pulled pork or Mutton or anything else other than Ribs/Sausage/Briskett at City Market.

                  Some more inside info - BRING CASH. No credit Cards taken. I do think they have an ATM inside or really close though.

                  Also - they serve Big Red in glass bottles which is always nice. Beer is really cheap. Their tea has lemon and nutrisweet already added for some unknown reason. Keep this in mind. I usually avoid it and order a shiner bock.

                  I would certainly try a little bit of everything while you are there. The ribs are the best in the state in my opinion. The sausage does have a lot of grease to it, which some people love/some people hate. I love it wrapped around a piece of white bread.

                  CHEERS

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                  City Market
                  633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

            2. I've been there once and picked up 3 lbs of brisket and some sausage which was very good. Their sauce is excellent and the brisket heated up nicely. I think they open early, you should call them but be sure and ask them what time the brisket is ready. Seems we were there at 10 or 10:30. That makes it nice for us because the ones in Lockhart have no brisket before 11 or a little after. We just pick up some to go on our way to Junction.

              If you want good sausage - Kasper Meat Market in Weimer. Their boudin is very good too.

              1. The fatty brisket is the way to go. It is right up there with Snow's. There is no need for sauce, which I think smothers rather than enhances the taste of brisket, and this is definitely a place you don't want the brisket taste smothered. The sausage is very good. At the risk of offending everyone, I don't think that ribs are a strong point in Texas. (Virgie's outside Houston is the best I've tried.) But that's just me talkin'.

                12 Replies
                1. re: dcbbq

                  I think you'd find pretty universal agreement that ribs are not really "our thing."

                  That said, they can be pretty good.

                  But they're not the reason that, at least once in their lives, every barbecue aficionado should make the pilgrimage to the holiest of our Central Texas barbecue shrines.

                  1. re: Jaymes

                    I'm now in countdown mode. Circa 16 hours.

                    1. re: ddavis

                      You better report back...

                      I'm sure we're all curious!

                      1. re: Jaymes

                        I had almost finished a long post about our visit there and lost it all when the electricity went out. So, here goes again.

                        I really wanted this place to be wonderful, but just can't say that. Some parts of our experience were excellent, but it did not live up to my expectations. Maybe the expectations were too high. It was busy, but not overly so. The line to get into the cutting room was probably 25-30 people deep, but it moved quickly and we got in within 5 to 10 minutes. We ordered some of everything they had -- brisket, ribs and sausage.

                        Brisket -- the meat by which barbecue joints should be judged. The smoke flavor of the brisket was excellent. Unfortunately, it was dry. The moisture that recently made Snow's the best I have ever eaten was missing. Both the lean and the fatty were too dry. Good, and certainly better than the chains and most others. I would put it in a group with Kreuz Market, Cooper's in Llano and Black's. It did not rival my top three of Snow's, Louie Mueller's and Smitty's.

                        Ribs -- surprisingly good. Excellent smoke flavor, just the right amount of fat and just toothsome enough that the meat does NOT fall off the bone. They appeared to be seasoned with only salt and pepper and don't use any type of sweet sauce or rub. I eat ribs from the Country Tavern in Kilgore on a pretty regular basis and I love them. I did not realize, however, just how sweet they are. These City Market ribs are not sweet -- just smoky and delicious. We took a couple of pounds to go and the next day ate them at room temperature and they were wonderful.

                        Sausage -- great! Relatively loosely packed, flavorful and exceptionally juicy. Poke them with a fork and that wonderful juice will squirt out. These are not spicy hot sausage, but have a medium hot spice content. They are absolutely excellent -- right up there with Louie Mueller's, and that's saying something.

                        The venue -- big, open and lots of seating. Sides offered were pinto beans, potato salad, cheese and maybe one or two others. Drinks include what appeared to be the favorite -- Big Red -- and iced tea. The iced tea is "sweet and with lemon -- that's all we got" according to the lady behind the counter.

                        Because the issue was raised in this discussion, I asked one of the butchers if they had ever served pulled pork. He laughed and said, "I've seen that on the Travel Channel or one of those stations, but we have never served it. The only pork we serve are ribs." He also denied having ever offered mutton. Brisket, ribs and sausage it is.

                        I'm glad I went. I will go back if the opportunity presents itself. But on this day it was not one of the top three.

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                        Kreuz Market
                        619 N Colorado St, Lockhart, TX 78644

                        City Market
                        633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                        1. re: ddavis

                          "Ribs -- surprisingly good. Excellent smoke flavor, just the right amount of fat and just toothsome enough that the meat does NOT fall off the bone. They appeared to be seasoned with only salt and pepper and don't use any type of sweet sauce or rub."

                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                          When my husband and I went in August, the ribs were sauced, lightly so, but definitely sauced. I remember this because I said to H that the saucing was the only thing I didn't like about them. They were were moist, tender, smoky deliciousness otherwise.

                          Perhaps they sauce them some days and not others?

                          1. re: agoodbite

                            The last two times I went they were definitely a little wet, maybe a light basting, but I still love them. Thanks to ddavis for clearing up the pulled pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey rumours, and I second Jaymes in her thanks for the information sharing.

                          2. re: ddavis

                            Too bad you seem to have hit them on an "off brisket" day. Brisket is just so hard to get right - even impossible, I think, to do it time after time, day after day, hour after hour, cut after cut, without a single off moment.

                            A short while back, I attended a KCBS class on how to judge barbecue so that I could be certified to judge at KCBS-sponsored cook-offs. In addition to the folks like me attending so that we could be certified to judge, there were several competitive cookers there, trying to get hints and tips as to how to properly cook the meat for judging. They all talked about brisket, and how difficult it is to get it perfect. Such a tricky and unpredictable combination of the organic raw material combined with the difficult-to-control heat of those particular logs, and consideration of the ambient temperature and humidity, etc. Many different fickle conditions have to come together almost perfectly.

                            But I sure agree with you about the ribs. I don't get the whole "fall off the bone" thing as being some compliment. I absolutely hate mushy ribs. I mean, how difficult is it to overcook meat? Any fool can produce ribs with meat that "falls off the bone." All you have to do is to leave them on the fire, or in the smoker, or in the Big Green Egg, or in the oven, or in the stew-pot, or in the wherever until it does. That's easy. The far more difficult trick is to get them just toothsome enough. When you bite into a perfectly-smoked rib, of course it should be tender, but there should be enough resistance to give it enough texture so that you know you're eating meat and not just a mouthful of mushy meat-flavored pablum. The bone should turn white right where you pulled off that bite of meat. In fact, did you know that in barbecue competitions, if the meat on your ribs does "fall off the bone," they're automatically disqualified? The thinking is that if you can't even cook them properly, nothing else - flavor, etc. - matters.

                            So all in all, ddavis, thanks for taking us along on your journey. I've been checking this thread pretty regularly since Saturday, waiting to hear your results.

                            Great post. Among other things, I'm sure I'm not the only one that appreciates your clearing up the "mutton and pulled pork" mystery. Adding to the confusion about "Luling City Market" is that in addition to City Market in Luling, and Luling City Market in Houston, I think there's also a Luling Barbecue restaurant basically right across the street from City Market in Luling (although I should add that I'm not certain, as I think I've noticed it, but have never been there).

                            All I'd add is that I hope you give City Market's brisket another try someday.

                            Perhaps you'll have better luck at Texas Brisket Roulette.

                            Thanks again for taking the time to get back with us and let us know how it went.

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                            City Market
                            633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                            1. re: Jaymes

                              You are right about Luling Barbecue. It is one block down the street from City Market. City Market is located at 633 E. Davis Street. Luling Barbecue at 709 E. Davis Street. Haven't tried it yet.

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                              City Market
                              633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                              1. re: ddavis

                                is the reason to get to City Market early to avoid the lines? or is there something about the quality/availability of the meat that differs later in the day

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                                City Market
                                633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                                1. re: cellardoor80

                                  Many of these old meat markets smoke as much meat overnight as they are positive they can sell the next day. And no more. They operate on a pretty slim profit margin and can't afford a lot of waste, so that's how they control it.

                                  Therefore, if you don't get to them fairly early, definitely by about 1pm or so, it's quite likely they'll be sold out of the most popular cuts. Generally speaking, that's the moist brisket, followed up pretty quickly by the rest of the brisket. They might still have it by three or four in the afternoon, or sometimes even later, but you sure should not count on that.

                                  Perhaps no big deal if you live in town and can just get over there the next morning, but a pretty huge deal if you've driven a couple of hours just to try it.

                                  1. re: Jaymes

                                    thanks! what time does City Market open? can't find the info on the web...

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                                    City Market
                                    633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

                                    1. re: cellardoor80

                                      They open at 7am, but I don't think the meats are ready until around 9 or so. Not sure exactly when. If you're planning on getting there really early, I'd suggest you call them and ask them when the meats are ready.

                                      I usually get there between 10-11, which seems to be about perfect.