I've finally been to the Luling City Market in Luling. What a trip!
Saturday at lunch time may be the worst time to get there, but it's also the most telling. That is, the crowd was huge - at least 40 people standing in the meat line, and at 1:30 they were still coming.
It was packed. Standing in line for 20 minutes gave me a chance to talk to people who were confirmed City Market fans and to get a feel for the place. It was hard to resist grabbing a rib and taking a swig of Big Red from the diners sitting and already eating close to the line.
Was I surprised to see only 3 things on the menu - pork ribs, brisket ($7 a lb. each), and links ($1.60 per). Sides and drinks are available at a counter at the front of the restaurant, while the meat is at the back in an enclosed room where its cooked. Each time the pit cover was opened, smoke filled the room - it's a wonder that OSHA hasn't closed the place down - I can't imagine working, maskless, a full shift in the meat room with all that stinging smoke and little ventilation. It is hot in there, but smells wonderful - at least for the 5 minutes I spent in there.
The pork ribs were succulent and tasty, with a little bit of skin left on to remind me of my favorite - cabrito. So tender, in fact, that I chewed half the bones. The brisket was also tender and semi-moist (I suspect that the meat was a fatty type), and, with a bit of the semi-sweet mustard-infused sauce, just right. The only disappointment was the greasy, crumbly chopped meat rendering of the link - ugh. 1 perfect, and 1 great out of 3 is not bad. Served with as much white bread and crackers as you like and with available pickles, onions and jalapenos, it's a real delightful experience.
Needless to say, I stayed away from the sides (Although I heard that the beans are good). As it was, the food was so filling I couldn't eat again until the next day at Becky's Cafe in Columbus - but that's another story. And, 2 days later,I still smelled of smoke.