Saturday, January 18, 2014

Black's Barbecue

So you can't visit Texas without getting some BBQ. And fortunately for us, on the way driving from San Antonio to Austin on Friday, we were going to pass a little Texan town called Lockhart.

For those who don't know, the State Legislature proclaimed Lockhart as The Barbecue Capital of Texas. One of the four BBQ restaurants in town was Black's Barbecue on 215 North Main Street.

Now, we were told that there were better BBQ options than Lockhart available in and around Austin, but it was lunchtime on Friday and we were passing by Lockhart on our way up I-35 to Austin. It seemed that the Good Lord had destined us to dine on some smoked meat that fateful day.

As you can see in the photo above, Black's is open 8 days a week, and Friday just happened to be one of those days! As soon as you walk through the doors, you find yourself in a narrow wood panel hallway and pass by signs and taxidermy. Then as soon as you turn the corner, you're in line getting your food immediately.

Before you can get your bearings straight, you're scooping potato salad and cole slaw onto a Styrofoam plate as you scramble to see what it costs. Unlike traditional sit down restaurants you'd find in the Northeast, Texas barbecue places are infamous for their cafeteria/buffet style set up where you get your own food and pay before you eat.

At Black's, they charge per side (each one up to 5 oz). Given that my father's not used to weighing food with his hands, he wasn't sure exactly how much to take. But that episode was over quickly as then he reached the next part of the line. Now my father was back in his comfort zone as the meat menu looked very familiar to his neighborhood Hill Country BBQ restaurant on West 26th Street in Manhattan. Just like at Hill Country, you order your barbecue by weight.

My father didn't really have a chance to consciously think, but just heard the words "pound of moist" come across his lips. Immediately, a juicy heaping pile of fatty brisket was slid onto his plate and then the cashier rang him up. As if on autopilot, my father then pulled out his wallet and handed over his Discover It credit card to earn him 5% back in cash rewards for restaurant spend this quarter.

Now a full pound of meat is quite a massive portion, but fortunately, my father had planned to share the serving between my mother and me. Little known fact, Baby Songer LOVES her some brisket (after all, I'm half Jewish).

After paying, you walk into the dining area which was like a Texas version of TGI Friday's with all the paraphernalia on the walls. But my parents loved the kitschy look of the place and the clientele, because it really reminded them how far they were from their normal life back home. I personally liked looking at the deer heads mounted up on the walls.

After we found a seat, my parents went to get plastic silverware and fill their cup with some Sweet Tea, a long time favorite of my father's. While drinking an overly sugary drink isn't ideal to wash down a very savory, fat laden brisket, it was definitely a taste of Texas in every bite and gulp.

And when it was all said and done, the total plate of food cost us just $20 + $3 tip to feed the three of us.

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

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