Tag Archives: Texas BBQ

Brisket at Black’s in Lockhart, Texas: OMG doesn’t begin to describe it!

Listen up, kids. We have serious business to discuss. Brisket business. And in Texas, that’s as serious as it gets besides football. This weekend, on our way to Austin for the big race, The Complete Package and I took a side trip to Lockhart, Texas for a barbecue lunch. What makes Lockhart unique is the sheer volume of BBQ heavy-hitters within one square mile of each other. Four of the best barbecue places in Texas can be found in Lockhart, and that’s bold talk for a tiny town. Barbecue is the main event here and trust me – these people aren’t playing around. Today, we’re following the big yellow arrow to Black’s Barbecue, just off the main square. Strap on your fat pants, people. It’s about to get tasty.

Sure there's a line. This place is a meat palace. Suck it up, mister!

Don’t let the line fool you. It moves pretty quickly, and in our case it wasn’t because it was crowded inside, it was because you go through a slow-moving lunch platter assembly line of home crafted pleasure. Once you get to the head of the line, you’ll have the opportunity to fill your plate with homemade sides from pickles to potato salad to mac & cheese and chili beans or candied yams.

You'll get misty eyed when you see all the sides. Stay focused. Eyes on the prize!

They even have banana pudding, cobbler and pie on that line. But be warned: you do NOT want to fill up on the sides and miss the main event. And once you try the meat, you’ll be sorry you wasted precious plate space on what will forever be thought of as useless filler. Delicious, homemade filler for sure, but still…meat is the headliner here. Because this was our first visit and I got side-tracked, I tried the chili beans and pickles with a yeast roll. TCP sampled the potato salad, coleslaw and mac & cheese. As for meat, we both went with what they’re known for – the “wet” brisket and homemade jalapeno cheese sausage.

A typical plate at Black's. Wait...there's nothing typical about the food at Black's!

Okay, here’s where we explore the “brutally honest” portion of this review. I cannot tell a lie. I love jalapeno cheese sausage, but I didn’t love it here. It wasn’t even in my Top 10. I saw the flecks of jalapeno and little blobs of cheese, but I couldn’t taste any of it. It was bland, and that’s not good for a sausage that’s designed to pack a punch. I’m sorry, sausage lovers, but the texture and taste of this one left me disappointed. That said, however, the brisket more than made up for it. Oh, that brisket! That gorgeous, fatty, smoke infused, blackened hunk of beefy perfection! I can hardly contain myself. It’s like buttuh, I tell ya’.

That smoke ring...that black crust...that layer of fat. I just want MORE!

Let’s just bottom line it, shall we? This is the best brisket I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Bar none. Hands down. No competition even remotely close. Seriously. And no, my maiden name is not Black. I’ve sung the praises of the Salt Lick in Driftwood. I’ve dined on the picnic tables at Kreuz Market in Lockhart. But this one….this one is different. This brisket fell from heaven, carried by angels who obviously love their purebred Texas cattle. This one belongs in the record books. There are very few foods in the world that I could binge on until I feel nauseous, but this is one of them. I could eat it every day. I would surely die of a coronary, but I would argue that it might just be worth it. Like totally.

Come for the brisket, but stick around for the charming atmosphere.

The interior of Black’s is decorated in circa 1958 “Grandad’s Fishing Cabin” which adds to the charm. I didn’t even notice the dead animals on the wall until most of my lunch had been consumed. Yup, this place has charm. The clientele is as varied as the sides. You’ll find yourself in line with tour groups, couples, families and bikers. And that just makes it better. At Black’s Barbecue, people from every walk of life come together to celebrate smoky meat. And when it comes to brisket, Black’s is definitely worth celebrating.

Take Me Back to Blacks. YES, PLEASE!

To learn more about Black’s BBQ, you can go to http://www.blacksbbq.com/

Disclaimer: NanaBread is not related to or compensated by the Black family or anyone else associated with Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas. She is just an outspoken, meat-eating, BBQ loving Texan seeking smokey perfection wherever she can find it. And there’s nothing wrong with sharing the gospel of brisket.

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Filed under Food & Recipes, Travel Tales

“Buy Local” Spotlight: Salt Lick BBQ

If smoked meat is your idea of heaven, the Salt Lick BBQ is the place!

If you are lucky enough to live in the Austin area or the hill country around Austin and find yourself craving smokey meat, you owe it to yourself to visit the Salt Lick in Driftwood. It is the mecca of smoked meat and sweet, spicy sauce. And I love the atmosphere almost as much as the food. You can easily spend an evening sitting on the patio under the live oaks sharing cold beverages, local music, and great friends. It’s like hanging out at a neighbor’s house, if your neighbor had an enormous patio surrounded by hundred year old live oak trees right next to a world-class barbecue restaurant. A girl can dream, right? And like your friend’s house, you’ve invited to bring your own beer. Because the restaurant is located in a dry county, they allow guests to bring in their own beer. I recommend Shiner and/or a 6-pack of Dr Pepper. It’s a Texas tradition.

The altar of smokey meat at the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood

There are many things I love about the Salt Lick. One is that they offer to serve you from a menu, or you can order “family style” and they’ll keep bringing food to your table until you beg them to stop. Another is that it’s built into an old rustic ranch-style farmhouse and the furniture and atmosphere reflect that old western charm. I love that the meat pit where all the action happens is inside the restaurant so you can drool over it, and they’re gracious enough to let you walk right up to it or around it to see the glorious piles of smokey meat and take pictures. I’m enamored with the sesame
scented coleslaw, the potatoes served in the shape of someone’s gloved hand, and the warm bread, sliced onions, and salty pickles that dot the table. I love that the worn farm tables look like something out of my great-grandmother’s barn. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING surpasses the meat at the Salt Lick. There’s not a bad batch of meat on the menu. The ribs fall off the bone, the sausage is flavorful, and the brisket is perfectly tender and wears that pink smoke-ring of perfection we Texans crave. The only thing that will keep you from stuffing yourself like a Thanksgiving turkey is the need to save room for cobbler. Your choices are peach and blackberry, both served with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream (on request). And since they’re both too awesome to choose one over the other, I recommend you get both. Just ask for extra spoons and be prepared to share. After a big meal, four people can easily share one serving of cobbler. If you’re dead set on only ordering one, I highly recommend the blackberry.

My dinner - the sausage and brisket plate. I wish this photo was scratch-n-sniff.

Before you leave, hit the small merchandise corner by the front door. They have great t-shirts and hats, but my favorite “take aways” are the sauces. They have really, really good sauce. Cross my heart. They also sell excellent dry rubs for the home chef. If you’re too far to visit but too fascinated to pass it up, they have an online store. If you’re close enough to visit, then by all means do. Pick a nice evening with cool temperatures and a great breeze. Stock an ice chest with cold beer or sodas for the kids. Throw a deck of cards or a board game in the car in case you decide to hang out in the courtyard before dinner. Skip lunch or eat light before you go, and don’t forget to wear your stretchy pants.

For more information on the Salt Lick BBQ including directions and the online store, visit their website at http://www.saltlickbbq.com/

Disclaimer: NanaBread is not tied to the Salt Lick BBQ in any way, even though she’d like to tie herself to one of those farm tables and stay until they run out of brisket and cobbler. She has never been compensated for providing feedback on the restaurant or their products. Ever. She just loves the place and can’t keep her big mouth shut. Big surprise.

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Filed under "Buy Local" Spotlights, Food & Recipes, Things I Love