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I found myself at the airport. At least it seemed like the airport. But there was something strange about it. I mean, I sat down at one of the restaurants and I tried to get something to eat. A pizza. But when it came to me, it had an omelet on it.

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Then I was on the plane. That seemed normal enough. Yet something wasn't quite right about the flight attendant, either...

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Then I was in a small, dusty Texas town. But the streets were deserted. The only sound was the wind and my own footsteps.

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Where was everybody? I stuck my head in one place and received only a mute, uncomprehending stare back from this local. And what's that on the TV? Another... omelet!

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Terrified, I hurried back out onto the empty, desolate streets and seemed strangely drawn to this place, as if I should know the name... Smitty's... wait a minute, isn't that a famous barbecue place... at least I can get a good meal there...

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I walked up to the front door... and then it suddenly hit me in all its awful irony... I was in Lockhart, Texas, one of the greatest barbecue capitols in the world, and it was... Easter Sunday and everything, every barbecue pit in the town, was CLOSED!

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Was I dreaming a horrible nightmare or had I died and been sent to some specific Hell designed for my most exquisite torment? Find out in the next terrifying installment of my Austin trip report, which features-- no joke-- bats, great flying hordes of bats!
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Lockhart and Luling BBQ Pt. 1

Okay, so I did kind of screw up by booking a short trip into Bible-thumpin' country for Easter, but in some ways it worked out well (a lot of Austin was much less busy than usual that night and the next day, no small matter in a city renowned for traffic congestion) and at least one major barbecue place, I had confirmed by phone ahead of time, was open on Easter: Black's. My youngest sister picked us up at the airport and we headed straight for it.

1. Black's

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Black's is a country cafeteria decorated in what I would learn is one of the two major styles of restaurant design in Texas: Cornpone. (The other major style is Ersatz Cornpone. Austin is where you want to move if you want to dine at a different place exactly like Ed Debevic's every night of the week.) Stuffed jackalopes, "amusing" signage, football memorabilia, Elvis-related items... that's pretty much the theme of the whole state, which is partly why, coming from Kansas, I'd always had a visceral distaste for excessive Texasism, much as you find your louder, brasher kid brother a disturbing parody of yourself.

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But barbecue conquers all, and so here we were. All these places follow a common setup which is unusual but utterly necessary: they break the food ordering and pickup area into two or three departments, one where you get your heavily-smoked, freshly-sliced meat by the pound, usually from an enclosed room that has itself been smoked black over the decades, and the others where you get the things that probably shouldn't taste like smoke, like potato salad or iced tea. Black's was a little different in that it starts with a small buffet table (note Easter eggs in back), which small as it is, would turn out to be the largest assortment of non-barbecued items at any of the places we would try. Then you move on to the meat area, and finally finish by picking up drinks (which you've paid for in the meat area; they have no problem, apparently, with money smelling like smoke) outside again.

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I ordered a little of everything-- as I would at all these places, as it turned out-- brisket, pork spare-ribs, and smoked beef sausage. (Unfortunately Black's also offers smoked pork loin on the weekend but I forgot to order it in the confusion of taking the whole scene in.)

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Let's cut to the chase here. The pork spare-ribs at Black's are outstanding, bursting with robust porky flavor. Maybe the best thing we had on the trip, right there; certainly the best spare-ribs I've ever had. Other things were good at Black's, heck that cole slaw was pretty darn decent, but the spare-ribs are a reason to make the drive from Austin, or Minneapolis for that matter, right there.

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Brisket was also very good, smoky and tender, a little greasy but satisfying. The only thing I didn't care for-- indeed I never found one of these I was that wild about-- was the beef sausage. A pork hot link is so wonderful on the side of whatever you're eating, squirting hot greasy porkiness, but these beef sausages were just kind of bland, like meatloaf in a tube. We got one at each place, and never finished one.

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Also highly recommended are the cobblers, which Myles zeroed in on first thing. I thought we'd see more of them at the other barbecue spots, but we didn't.

If I was going to recommend one and only one BBQ place in the area south of Austin, Black's would just miss the nod because the one I loved best beats it on atmosphere. But food for food Black's was right there, and I'm very glad they were open on Easter Sunday.

P.S. I know I promised bats in this installment, but they belong better with the Austin report, so just console yourself with meat until we get there. Up next: three BBQ lunches in one day.

Black's BBQ
215 N. Main St.
Lockhart, TX 78644
(512) 398-2712
www.blacksbbq.com/
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Lockhart and Luling BBQ Pt. 2

Apropos of the discussion of the ironically named American Heritage pizza list, an impish spirit led me shortly before coming to Austin to see if John Mariani had ever similarly compiled a barbecue list. Would I learn that the best pulled pork sandwich in America was served at Gramercy Park Tavern, and the best brisket was absinthe-cured and served sashimi-style at L'Idiot in Beverly Hills? In fact Mariani had made such a list, and it's by no means hopelessly effete, though it still notably focuses on barbecue restaurants in major urban centers or spots within a short drive of a significant airport-- this is not a man who responds well to the words "The best place is about two hours south of Cooter Crick up by the old tannery works."

It's ironic, then, that the only Texas spots he lists are located well within Dallas and Houston, because anyone who flies into Austin would find the glories of Lockhart and Luling hardly any further away than the Salt Lick Barbecue stand in the airport itself. Okay, Lockhart's a half hour away, and Luling another 15 minutes beyond that, but that's nothing for such delights as await you-- no worse than the drive from the airport into Kansas City for Bryant's or Lil Jakes. And so, just as we hit Black's leaving the airport when we arrived, we scheduled our day to hit no fewer than three legendary spots before our return.

2. Kreuz Market

When the Kreuz family broke up, one side got the old building and the other side got the name and built a big new building on the highway. Being brand new, Kreuz Market has had to manufacture its air of old-timey crankiness and cornponitude, and it does feel quite a bit closer to the fake new roadhouses and juke joints that Austin is overrun with than the other authentically cranky and corny BBQ spots do:

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The smoker set up is the same as in all of these places, only cleaner: long concrete smoking bunkers with a fire burning away right on the floor:

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And guys hoisting big hunks of meat in and out and slicing to order:

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There was kind of a weird vibe at Kreuz, though, partly rooted in the fact that the enormous building, largely empty at an early hour two days after Easter, felt like someone had opened an entire stadium just to operate a single hot dog stand inside it. Well, that and the fact that the cashier woman stared at me with the sort of look that a tourist gets upon visiting Innsmouth. (The Latino guy who actually took and cut the order quickly made up for the friendliness deficit, however, to his credit.) Here's the pork ribs and the brisket:

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Brisket rub seemed excessively salty. Texture of both was good, but both were way too smoky for my taste, as unlikely a complaint as that is coming from me-- it reminded me of the first time, a decade or so ago, that I visited wineries, and how I doubted that I would be able to taste much difference until we got to Sterling in Napa-- and suddenly I knew what a Chardonnay with way too frickin' much oak tasted like. Here, one bite and I was burping smoke, as G Wiv would say. Contrary to the sign, this was a mistake, or at least an excess, which I would have liked some sauce to cover up.

The one meat where Kreuz stood out was the beef sausage. Still not my favorite sausage, but the strong (indeed visible) pepper taste put it well ahead of any other we tried, and I considered buying some for a time before I realized that, still, I didn't like that kind of sausage enough to make a 30-pack a good idea.

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Kreuz is an estimable and serious place, but it didn't make me love it. The tourist-bus-sized hall which made us feel like too small a party to matter, the oversmoked meat and the lack of sauce (a little dab'll do ya), Kreuz just didn't win my heart in any way.

3. Smitty's Market

Smitty's, a few blocks away, is the other half of the Kreuz family split-- and let me just say here and now, if you only have the chance to visit one of these places, Smitty's is the total package delight. Less because of the food-- though it's certainly excellent-- than because of this:

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I don't even know what that thing is, but that's a hundred years of smoke hanging off it. Walking into the 19th-century industrial fiery darkness that is Smitty's smoke room is a great time warp moment, a living Dickens novel, a slice of reality so real you treasure it for the rest of your life. You expect little shoeless urchins to be ferrying the wood to the fires, and rouged-up slatterns to be working the cobblestone streets outside. (Note that this is the room depicted in the painting which hangs on the wall at Kreuz, at the top of this post.)

Some more shots of Smitty's:

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Add to that the fact that everybody at Smitty's, starting with pitmaster John Fullilove (seen at the register several pics back), was incredibly nice and helpful and chatty, and I found all the love I didn't have for Kreuz here.

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We ordered four things here-- brisket, ribs, sausage and prime rib (in the middle above). I'm still a bit mystified why prime rib is cooked this way; it didn't get much smoke flavor and even at medium was kind of overdone. The ribs were slightly glazed, and tasted much more like ham than ribs normally do, I'm not sure why (could they have been slightly cured?) Not how I would make ribs, but quite good as a change of pace.

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Brisket was, like Kreuz's, a little too salty but it had nice smoky flavor this time and the burnt chewy bits on the bottom were really wonderful, the closest we got to anything like Kansas City burnt ends:

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We ended the meal with some Blue Bell ice cream for Myles. I loved everything about Smitty's, I'd send people there in a heartbeat for a one of a kind experience (and I say that knowing that almost exactly the same experience is available just a few blocks away-- but it isn't the same, it isn't the same at all).

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4. City Market

City Market, in Luling a little ways further south, was at a disadvantage because we really didn't need a third barbecue meal. So take these comments with that in mind.

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The western-themed restaurant didn't seem to have Smitty's or Black's charm and the smoke room seemed a genuinely dark and scary place-- this is the one I would expect to find myself cooking in, and I don't mean I'd be working there. Actually, it's the one where I really kind of felt for the guys trapped in here smoking meat all day.

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We ordered our usual three, served on the usual paper. Sausage was flavorless and oozed an astonishing amount of oil. Pork ribs were, if anything, a little too tender, had smoke flavor but less pork flavor than the best ones we'd had.

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What was a standout at City Market was brisket. First of all, it was absolutely enormous. The slices were over a foot long, where at Smitty's they'd been unusually small (6-7"). But more to the point, it had a rich, roast beefy flavor that suggested a better quality of meat than any of the previous places (surprising in light of the fact that the sausage had seemed likely cheaper than the others). City Market didn't charm me as a location but it earned future consideration for the brisket.

Afterwards we also stopped at a stand across the street and picked up a very handsome watermelon. My sister hoped they might have a peach ice cream which is supposed to be a very popular delicacy around peach season, but no such luck.

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Thus ended the barbecue portion of our trip. Although I'm not sure any one item surpassed the best things we had in Kansas City, the mere fact of there being a barbecue mecca like Lockhart where one can try so many extraordinary places back to back-- and more not far away-- makes it well worth a trip. I'm already thinking about when my next one will be, and where I'll go then-- besides, yes G Wiv, I know, Cooper's in Llano.

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Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado St.
Lockhart, Texas
(512) 398-2361

Smitty's Market
208 S. Commerce
Lockhart, Texas
512-398-9344

City Market
633 Davis St.
Luling, Texas
830-875-9019

Non-barbecue foods eaten in Austin, plus bats, coming next in the final installment.
Last edited by Mike G on April 19th 2006, 10:27pm, edited 1 time in total.
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been enjoying the reports: but please don't denigrate Innsmouth, TX(somewhere near Galveston)...they make a mean artisan nuoc mam
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Mike G,

You're timing is impeccable. I'm heading to Austin Friday, so if you can post even a quick summary soon, I'd love it!
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Christopher Gordon wrote:been enjoying the reports: but please don't denigrate Innsmouth, TX(somewhere near Galveston)...they make a mean artisan nuoc mam

Christopher,

While Mike G's dislikes range far and wide, Swedes and red striped candy canes come to mind, they do not include Innsmouth, TX. Mike was referring to, and provided a link to, H. P. Lovecraft's ~The Shadow Over Innsmouth~.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Mike G wrote:The smoker set up is the same as in all of these places, only cleaner: long concrete smoking bunkers with a fire burning away right on the floor:

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Mike,

I've seen about a million, conservatively, BBQ pictures in the last 10-years and this is among the very best. Really interesting Austin posts, wonderful pictures.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Austin

I have to admit, I expected to be annoyed by Austin. The combination of rampant gentrification and development, leftover hippies angrily protesting rampant gentrification and development, drunken sophomores, and drunken state legislators all kind of put me off before I got there.

Well, it's true that the rampant development outside the city core, which seems to consist entirely of faux roadhouses named Drunky McYeeha's Lone Star Bar-B-Qabana & Yacht Clubbe, separated by Home Depots, is deeply unlovely. The more of it they can hide with nine-level expressway cloverleafs, as seems to be the plan, the finer by me.

But that said, the heart of Austin, the lifestyle of Austin, is pretty damn likable, like a San Francisco populated by younger people with Southern manners. Even the faux roadhouse thing is, after all, a manifestation of deeply democratic desires (the equality promised us all by St. Elvis, whose image is everywhere in such places), and it's a city with lots of public amenities in which the classes mingle hedonistically and unselfconsciously. (The one we made the most use of was the river-- Myles loved a spot where people frolic with their dogs in the water; it was here that my sister also observed, and I could not help but agree, that Austin may be the most tattooed place in America.)

It's a city with lots of history (here's the only historical plaque that ever made me hungry, a few blocks from the capitol):

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--and it's even a city with a surprising amount of Art Deco:

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I'm sure it's not all sweetness and light-- it didn't escape my notice that the north edge of the city is very much working class white, and the south edge is very much Mexican, and never the twain shall meet-- but apart from the horrendous traffic, which will simply take some number of years to deal with, it was a city that, in a couple of days, I grew to like a lot.

Anyway, some restaurants we ate at:

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1. Hut's/Opal Divine's

Descended, circuitously, from two different burger joints both founded in 1939, Hut's is a collegiate favorite and set the tone for what to expect in a typical Austin restaurant-- walls plastered with crap (I'm sorry, I meant American pop culture ephemera) and loud music, basically. But my sister said Hut's made a damn fine burger and she was exactly right-- a stockyard-fresh-and-slightly-funky slab o' beef accompanied by fresh-cut fries, reminiscent of Five Guys in the DC area. I'd like to go back and try something more ambitious, like the chicken fried steak.

Later that evening we wound up at a 6th street bar not far from Hut's, Opal Divine's, mainly for its patio but also because a banner announced that it had won the local alt-paper's best french fry award twice running. Well, the patio was nice (that's where I snapped the waitress bearing the city slogan above) but the fries, even with a chipotle mayo to dip them in, weren't half as good as Hut's, being of the seasoned-frozen rather than fresh-cut variety, I believe. Also, despite having an extensive menu of somewhat interesting looking mixed drinks, they badly botched a mojito which I had to rescue myself (with a couple of sugar packets) from tasting like Rose's lime, straight. Oh well, the patio was pleasant.

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2. Chuy's

Although there is probably some very good Mexican (the south side seems to be, even to Chowhound's Texas board, a world of unexplored riches), I was less interested in authentic Mexican* than in Tex-Mex, in understanding what makes it distinct from Mex-Mex. Step one was Chuy's, a local chain. Good, very thin and light chips, accompanied by a very good finely chopped pico de gallo with significant heat, and a very bland tomato-sauce salsa; my sister had perfectly okay enchiladas with a more interesting and complex ranchero sauce than you'd have on average; I had a stuffed piece of flank steak covered with cheese and salsa verde, which was a big gloppy mess. Results: inconclusive.

* For which I learned a new term: here, close (well, closer than Chicago) to the border, the way you indicate that something is not Tex-Mex is by calling it "interior Mexican."

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3. Fonda San Miguel

Still in a Mexican food mood, but stuck north-sidish where little authentic Mexican seemed to be, we decided to take a chance on the city's most acclaimed (and expensive) Mexican restaurant, the one spoken of in the same terms as the likes of Rick Bayless-- they even have a book, just like he does-- though the chance part came from the fact that the most recent discussion of it on Chowhound's Texas board was quite negative. Well, forewarned is forearmed.

If nothing else, it's a truly beautiful restaurant-- this is the sunny foyer, while the darker dining room is reminiscent of the old Ixcapuzalco. Chips came with an okay red salsa and a really nice green one with, I would swear, spinach in it; nice flavor if not much heat (nothing had much heat). We thought the appetizers looked most interesting (and gave us the most chance to try different things) so we mainly stuck to those, and I would say they hit about a 50/50 mark. Some little masa cups were quite good, filled with guacamole and shrimp or cactus salad or diced fish; but a tostada with cochinita pibil tasted like simple roasted pork, well prepared but none of the achiote flavor I've had in Mexico (or at Chuck's BBQ). A special appetizer involving smoked salmon, which I ordered wondering what a Mexican restaurant would do with smoked salmon, answered the question like this: absolutely nothing that any country club in America wouldn't do, it was simply smoked salmon and cream cheese on a tostada.

Entrees, happily, were more interesting. A cheese enchilada, ordered for Myles and hardly promising sounding, turned out to be the best thing we had, thanks to its tangy sour cream sauce; a chile relleno, made with a poblano pepper and stuffed with raisins, goat cheese and other such things in jitomate sauce, was an inventive take on a standard.

The real downside to Fonda San Miguel was that service was incredibly inconsistent-- the first greeter was kind of snippy, yet the second couldn't have been nicer; the chile relleno had to be sent back when it arrived with a cold center, and to do that we had to summon a busboy, since our waiter (nice as he was) only swung by on an elliptical orbit every ten minutes. It is perhaps significant, in a number of ways, that it seemed to be mainly staffed by Anglo college kids, rather than Mexicans, apart from two ladies in traditional dress on display in one highly visible workstation. Fonda San Miguel is one of those restaurants that's been around too long, and probably serves twice as many covers on a busy night as it should, and has just kind of gotten lazy, and really needs some top-level, serious competition to scare it into sharpening up its game and being as good as it clearly can be.

4. Amy's

An entirely different service ethic was on display at the outpost we visited of this local ice cream chain, which was staffed by a single sturdy gal working fast as she could to do the Marble-Slab-Creamery-beat-the-ice-cream trick for a steady stream of customers-- all the while rattling off the proud facts about how they make each of their ice creams from Belgian chocolate, Mexican vanilla, Bailey's Irish Cream, and other such ingredients. Excellent ice cream-- my sister's Mexican vanilla, which made you want to point out undernotes of this and that like it was a fine Bordeaux, was especially good. I left a big tip (for ice cream, anyway).

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So that was Austin, a fun city, and one which I would happily-- what? You say I forgot something? Oh, right, bats!

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As night starts to fall, Austinites gather at this particular bridge, under which live, for some reason, one and a half million bats. As darkness falls, they start to swarm out, in a steady stream, like a bat cyclone, following the river in search of whatever it is they eat. They move so fast you could mistake them for birds, but look closely and you see that there's something alien-ly non-bird-like about the way they careen across the sky. And every once in a while, when someone's flash (not mine) is powerful and fast enough to freeze them in their flight--

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You get a vision that gives you the shivers.

Hut's Hamburgers
807 W 6th St
Austin, TX 78703
Tel: (512) 472-0693

Opal Divine's
700 W. 6th Street
512-477-3308
www.opaldivines.com/

Chuy's
1728 Barton Springs Rd
(512) 474-4452
multiple locations

Fonda San Miguel
2330 W North Loop Blvd
Austin, TX 78756-2327
(512) 459-4121

Amy's Ice Cream
13770 183 North at Lake Creek Pkwy.
(512)331-9034
multiple locations
www.amysicecream.com/

P.S. G Wiv-- I think Christopher was making another Lovecraft joke about Innsmouth, TX. At least I couldn't find it in my atlas (but then even those who once knew of Innsmouth now no longer speak of it at all, and some frankly deny that it ever existed...) Unfortunately, they only have barbecued cthulhu on weekends...
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Yep. I was joking. I made myself laugh anyway... :?

You really need to be careful when dining in the Hill Country(specifically around the Guadalupe River)...those delicious nuggets aren't necessarily "cat" fish.

Anyway, yr pics are cruel...very cruel
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Christopher Gordon wrote:Yep. I was joking. I made myself laugh anyway... :?

Christopher,

Sorry, it floated right over my head. :?

And yes, Mike's BBQ pictures are cruel. :)

Enjoy,
Gary
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I went to the City Market in Luling in March. I will say that walking into the smoke room was definitely a new experience.

I thought that the brisket was truly outstanding. It was tender and juicy and filled with a good smoky flavor. The pork ribs were pretty good but nothing really exceptional. The sausage rings were pretty oily and the sausage was very course and loose within the casing. However, as much as I did not think that I would like it, the taste grew on you.

Smitty's in Lockhart was also pretty interesting. I cannot believe how close you can get to the smoke box and the open flames. I thought that at least one child would fall into the fire while we were there.

We had the brisket, shoulder beef, and the sausage. The brisket was pretty decent, a real step down from the City Market. The shoulder beef was very good, some of the best beef of the trip. The sausage was very similar to the City Market but was less greasy.

If I had to reorder at Smitty's I would like to try the pork chop which is gargantuan and the prime rib that also looked really good.

We had planned on making a trip back to Lockhart later in the week However, three BBQ meals (none of the places offered much in terms of side dishes to speak of) in two days was wrecking habit with my system.


We stopped in Austin for four days. The most memorable meal was at the Texas Chili Parlor which makes a wicked bowl of Red Chili. We tried the XX Chili which was plenty hot but had a very well developed taste. The place is a real "hole in the wall" but teh menu is pretty creative and the waitress was very friendly and steered us through the menu.

Texas Chili Parlor
1409 Lavaca Street
Austin, TX 78701
512-472-2828
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Mike G--

Tnx so much for the tour! There are obviously a few places to seriously consider visiting next time we're in town. It ain't KC, but obviously it CAN be pretty damn tasty. (I must admit to just not getting it with Texas brisket: way too frequently dry, crumbly, over-smoked--why spend all that effort chewing?)

(Just a thought: do you suppose that they use too-good meat in their briskets? Not enought fat, too lean?)

Your photos are not just excellent, a couple are quite startingly existentially in-your-face. And I agree, I would NOT like to work all day in some of those places... (are you considering making some permanent print copies of those pix? Several are genuinely thought-provoking, aesthetically compelling shots..)

Bats. Ah, yes. I brought my professional association's convention to the Hyatt at the south end of the bridge. All the philosophers went out to view the evening diaspora. I told some of them that that was what they'd eaten as bbq for supper. They believed me.

The Hyatt, in appreciation of my service, gave me a furry brown bat stuffed toy. Life size. It floats on gossamer monofilament from my ceiling in KC. Didja get one of those for the lad?

And what about Las Manitas-Avenue Cafe? Surely you visited them???

Anyway, it was a full-speed hoot taking this trip with you; TNX!

Geo
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I walked by Avenue Cafe/Las Manitas at least twice, but got the impression it was mainly a breakfast place, and we just did the breakfast freebie at our motel, the better to save room for lunch and dinner...

I didn't find Texas brisket overlean or dry anywhere, but I do note that most of the places offered both "fat" and "lean" which apparently meant brisket and shoulder respectively.

Incidentally, anyone who read through all this might find it interesting to compare with this thread from a year earlier in which Trixie-Pea and Pigmon visited many of the same places. I used it for information gathering early on but then didn't look at it as my trip got closer so as not to prejudice my tastebuds... we had some of the same reactions, some very different.
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Mike G wrote:
I didn't find Texas brisket overlean or dry anywhere, but I do note that most of the places offered both "fat" and "lean" which apparently meant brisket and shoulder respectively.


Is that not the point end and the flat end of the brisket (fatty and lean)?

And Chuys :!: :?: :!:
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The same thought about flat and point occurred to me, but no, at most of the places by ordering the non-lean I got a piece containing both (look at the Smitty's close-up, the stripe of fat between the two is visible).

Chuys-- what can I say? I pushed for Curra's, but my sister doesn't like it. Anyway, we needed to just eat something more than we needed to devote a huge amount of thought to lunch at that point, so trying a local chain seemed reasonable. Sometimes one needs the plastic version for a baseline, but it actually was slightly better than my expectations...
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In a similar vein...

[A Hill Country BBQ roundup with great photos @ You Gonna Eat That?]


E.M.
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Funny that he took almost the same photos in a couple of cases as I did. Thanks.
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Interesting Mike. A good report and one of the things I like about it is that I have a feeling why I disagree with you due to good descriptions of what you liked about the places. eg, I like smoke more than you, I think. I'm disappointed if after a BBQ meal I don't burp smoke. If brisket tastes pot roasty, I think it's a failure (in large part) and wonder why it wasn't just cooked in an oven.

Black's was easily my favorite on my trip. We hit Black's 3 times, Smitty's twice, and Kreuz twice. It's worth noting that the first time we hit Smitty's and Kreuz they were meaningfully worse than the second time. Black's was consistent both times, and phenomenal -- absolutely out of this world good -- the last time. See this:

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Looking at your pics, it seemed like you got a much leaner slice. I always ask for fatty (which I think is all they have at Black's) and end pieces. I liked the ribs at Black's decently well, but I found them more hammy than porky. I thought ribs were a real weakness in Texas. If I remember right, the only really good ribs I had were at Mueller's in Taylor. On average, I'd say I liked the better ribs in Memphis and KC better than the best ribs in Texas. The worst brisket at Black's was better than the best brisket at either of the other two. My favorite things at Smitty's and Kreuz were actually the odder cuts, like the prime rib.

My one trip to City Market was very disappointing. We got the same greasy sausage. It actually poured grease as I bit into it:

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The brisket was dry and not very tender. I get much better regularly around here in Portland from multiple places. Scott was with us here and said the quality was typical.
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New York Times writer is terrified by raw animal passion at Kreuz Market.

Blogger mocks him for it.

(You don't have to hunt through the first article to find the reference. It's quoted in the second.)
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