Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Texas BBQ Run - Part 2 (Lockhart, TX)

Black's Barbecue
215 North Main Street
Lockhart, TX 78644

Black's Barbecue on Urbanspoon

After a great first meal at City Market, we headed into the nearby town of Lockhart. Lockhart is home to three of Texas' most famous BBQ spots: Black's, Smitty's, and Kreuz. We decided that Black's would be our next stop since we wanted to do Smitty's and Kreuz back to back given their family history. Black's BBQ is recognized as Texas' oldest family owned and operated BBQ restaurant. When you walk inside the walls are sporadically decorated with old signs, hunting trophies, and local sport team photos.  

We stepped up to order the usual: brisket, sausage, and pork ribs. While talking to one of the gentlemen at the counter, he agreed to give us a tour of the pits and kitchen. They have an interesting system here. There are two post oak fueled pits in the back that lead up to a front pit. The back pits are used for cooking while the front chamber is just used to keep the meat warm until it's ready to serve. It sure beats steaming trays that a lot of places use. No meats are cooked overnight here. They're fired up that morning and used that day or the next. I thought this was a little different. No one wants to eat yesterday's meat when you're headed to a BBQ joint. This didn't seem to strike any of the workers as odd. Another thing that I found a little different was how hot they keep their pits here. They said usually around 350 degrees and up. This allows Black's to cook their meat in a shorter amount of time, but you can also sacrifice some of the tenderness and flavor by not leaving it cooking longer. They use the foil technique on some of their meats which allows the meat to cook in its own juices, steaming it and breaking down the tissue a little more than usual. During our short tour, the pitmaster was kind enough to cut off a sample of the freshly smoked beef ribs that just came out of the pit. This was honestly one of the best beef ribs I've ever tried. It was so tender and moist that it just melted in your mouth. It made me wish we had ordered a couple. He also threw a couple of small pieces of their smoked turkey on our order at no cost. Again, the turkey was smoked perfectly. It was juicy and had just the right amount of smoke in it. After our tour we said our thank you's and then headed to the nearest table to try the rest of Black's offerings.

First was the brisket. We ordered from the fat side. The meat was smoky, tender, and juicy. As you can see from the picture, it had a nice smoke ring with a good black crust all the way around. The only drawback was that it was a little salty. Next were the pork ribs. You can tell immediately when ribs are going to be dry and tough. These were both. They had good flavor but were not worth the work of trying to tear the meat from the bones. We even tried adding some of the smoky-orange, cumin flavored BBQ sauce to cover up the dry, greasy taste. We all gave up after a couple of bites. The sausage wasn't our favorite either. It oozed grease when we tried to cut it and didn't have the snap or smoked flavor that we had found at City Market earlier that day. If I had to guess, I'd say this was some of yesterday's BBQ. Me and my brother were a little confused because the meat that we tried on our pit tour was some of the best we've had. The meat that was at our table for lunch wasn't even close to that quality. If I were to go back I'd definitely order the turkey, brisket, and beef ribs...no question. I know that some BBQ places just have bad days. It can be due to the weather, the wood, or just not cooking it correctly. Unfortunately, I think we caught Black's on a bad day. Not all was lost since we still had Smitty's and Kreuz nearby.

(Georgia Barbecue Hunt star ratings are excluded from our Texas stops. If Black's were in Georgia then they would've received three stars on this day due to the inconsistency in meats)


  1. That's disappointing. I understand the "bad day" deal but you're talking about the major leagues here. A pro athlete wouldn't catch a break, why should the oldest BBQ joint in all of TX. Oh well! I'd still go if I was ever out that way. Thanks for the post Dustin. I'm looking forward to Kreuz Market, if thats bad I might just have to write off TX BBQ. Great Job!

  2. Thanks Steven. I agree and if you're ever in the area make sure to try this place and the others. After everything I've heard about Black's I'm sure it was just a bad day. Thankfully there was some other great places just right around the corner.