I recently had the chance to spend a week in Austin on a project. Although it was not quite as good as when I needed to go to Basat, Colorado on a project, it was still a great place to be for a week. We worked hard during the week, but I knew we would have one chance to roam.
My friend over on the Chicago board, Gwiv, is a BBQ savant and he gave me some ideas of Central Texas meats before leaving. From there, it was various interrogations of Austinites. The perfect balance after all of the questioning, especially considering some travel considerations, appeared to be Kreutz Market.
Only no one told us that Kreutz closes at 6 PM duing the week. What a surprise when we pulled into that large feeding house at around 6:30 to see the last cars pulling away. Luckily, someone at our hotel mentioned Black's to me. I had heard nothing of Black's prior to the trip. In fact for reasons, perhaps left to another post, I was avoiding any chowhound advice--OK, to be honest, I did not want to get my hopes set on places that I might not be able to try.
Not only does Black's offer dinner, but they stay open "8 days a week". Can someone explain to me the origin of that motto? It surely made the drive to Lockhart, interesting as it was, worthwhile.
Black's fools you initially with some of the lousiest looking "salad bar" offerings around, even if I have a soft spot for commercial cole slaw. The hot vegetables look not much better, but I did get a laddle of black eye peas. Then you turn the corner to the meats.
I remember my first visit to the late Wise's cafeteria in New Orleans. You snaked through a line and then wham, you were presented with so much. Same here even if the scale in so many ways was smaller. How tempting is brisket when you see it being sliced with a pastry scraper? Black's, like I guess all these places, lets you order at will, by the slice. And I had to try too many things, especially the half-rounds of sausage.
Those sausages were especially good. They had an appealing ground meat texture and obscure flavor that made them far superior to the hot links I had the night before at Hoovers. The ribs were really good too, loaded with smoke. Still, I wasted too much stomach space. The brisket was THE thing.
Many posts on Black's on this board make a lot about how Black's uses flats instead of full briskets, and I suppose this is suppose to make it leaner. Black's brisket was hardly lean at all. Big ribbons of fat sneaked around the meat, but it was awesome fat.
The other thing I have learned recently of Texas BBQ is that sauce is almost an afterthought, but Black's thought was great too. Not particuliarly spicy but filled with spices, I detected a heavy hand with clove, that complemented everything, even those black eyed peas, very well.
One day, perhaps I can do the Lockhart triangle, Black's, Smitty's and Kreutz, but if I can only make dinner, I'll be happy at Black's.
Black's Barbecue [sic]
208 N. Main
Lockhart, TX 78644