Thursday, May 20, 2010

Black's BBQ Review

The capital of barbecue is surely in Texas, and in Texas it is accepted the Lockart, between Austin and San Antonio, is the heart of BBQ.  The oldest continually operating single family BBQ joint in Texas is Black’s. 

When I eat BBQ in Texas, its brisket and sausage. The competition in Lockart for the best sausage is historic, and to choose a “best” one is a fool’s errand- they are all good!  Blacks offers 3 choices, garlic, jalapeno and regular.  The texture is perfect, with so much of the fat smoked out that while still moist, it is like eating a wonderful rillette in a casing.  Just pure flavor of the meat blend.  The brisket at Black’s has a very light hand, if any rub, just a tender black shell from the time on the smoker, and a nice, if thin, smoke ring inside that.  The meat is so tender and well flavored throughout, it made me wonder if the brisket had been brined, but I doubt that.  And the smoke flavor- surely not mesquite, too light in flavor for that.  Could be oak, or maybe pecan, because it was a bit sweet. 

The sides at Black’s include the usuals, but the potato salad is good and fresh, and the pintos are very tasty, not mealy, not over seasoned, just delicious.  And they serve big fresh dills, not waffle cut hamburger chips.  A nice upgrade!  I never did try the sauce, I didn't want to adulterate the meat!

Kent Black and his wife were working the dining room, saying howdy to everyone, having a bit of conversation and inquiring as to satisfaction- what a genuine treat- they seem delightful people!  But where did those fantastic mulies on the wall come from?  Makes me think of hunting season and smoked venison!

While we ate, we saw the county health inspector going over an inspection with Kent Black and his team.  Having experienced hundreds of these de-briefs, I was curious how the inspector dealt with this kind of iconic bbq stand.  What an interesting conversation, as the reality of barbecue and the needs of modern sanitation science came together.

If you are near San Antonio or Austin, make the drive to Lockart, and be sure to visit Black’s.  Definitely worthwhile.    

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