There has been a lot of legitimate debate over the years regarding the hierarchy of Lockhart barbecue.
When I first started my treks out to Caldwell county to eat smoked meat back in the early nineties, I was of the opinion that Kreuz Market was the finest (Smitty’s did not yet exist) with Blacks coming in a solid number two.
Yet even in Kreuz’ halcyon days, Blacks ran ‘em up a tree when it came to sausage:40 weight to be precise. Today is no different. Black’s sausage defines unctuous. For the uninitiated, you have to be right careful when it comes to the first bite. Grease can spray everyone at the table if you get a little overly excited and chomp down with abandon.
A slow steady bite taking care to nurse the gushing fat once you break the skin of the link is the best method. The sausage is plump and rife with black pepper needing only a couple granules of salt to bring out the delicious smoke in the grind.
While beef ribs used to be a common item on Central Texas barbecue menus they’ve gotten to be hard to find of late. Black’s battle axes clock in at around ten bucks apiece with a brontosaurus style bone holding a good pound or so of tender lean beef.
For the barbecue connoisseur it’s a given that the outside slice of the brisket is always going to lend the most flavor. That’s where the heat and smoke meld with the fat creating a bark of juicy, crusty flesh that is much prized. Black’s really delivers in this category. Starting with a well-fed steer then submitting the animal to hour after hour of slow smoke with little more than salt and pepper as seasoning; this is the best brisket in the region.
Let’s talk a little about side dishes. Black’s is one of the few barbecue restaurants that offers a full array of vegetable sides. A small steam line appears as you enter the restaurant where all the mashed potatoes,congealed salads and black eye peas you can dream of are located.
If I want non-meat dishes I eat at restaurants that aren’t temples to smoked meat. I don’t like to pollute my palate with such nonsense when I’m in Lockhart, Texas. People travel 1000’s of miles from all over the globe to Black’s, and it’s not to eat green beans.
I’m sure their sides are fine but to me they would just take up valuable belly space.
Spending an afternoon over piles of barbecue on butcher paper under the fluorescent glow in Black’s dining room is one of my favorite ways to wallow in all things Texas.
The aroma of the nearby pits, the friendly staff and the meat-THE MEAT all combine to create a sort of super environment wherein you get to get right down to the real nitty gritty of Texas living.
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