Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Epicenter of Central Texas BBQ

One of the big highlights of this BBQ Pilgrimage was learning fair bit about Texas history and how the area around Austin developed.
Of course the Czechs and Germans played a huge roll and when you start looking at the BBQ culture in Central Texas it really comes down to cooking locally. This area is the start of the Chisom Trail and there is also an amazing amount of Post Oak, Pecan and Mesquite wood. Basically the mathematical equation is:  Beef + wood smoking = Central Texas BBQ.

So, where is the epicenter of Central Texas BBQ? If you ask me, it has to be just south of Austin in the communities of Lockhart, Luling and Gonzales.  We set out on a Tuesday (this is a great way to beat the crowds-think I am kidding? These BBQ joints are known to sell product upwards of over a 1000 lbs per day) and first hit City Market in Luling. From my previous post you can see that this place has gotten (literally) world wide recognition.  The next stop was to Gonzales and Gonzales Food Market.  Daniel Vaughn at Full Custom Gospel BBQ has a terrific story about Gonzales Food Market.  Gonzales Food Market is a modest little family run enterprise. This was the only place we had a chance to sample lamb ribs (killer!) and the sausage was terrific. Pickles, white bread and sweet tea and you have lunch.

 Gonzales Food Market

I would say that the other incredible thing about touring through Texas was the discovery of all of the historic courthouses.

Texas is divided up into 254 counties and nearly all of them have a  historic architectural gem of a courthouse. Check this link for a comprehensive list of all the historic courthouses in Texas.
Gonzales County Courthouse-Gonzales, Texas

After Gonzales we headed up to Lockhart and hit the Holy Trinity of Smitty's, Black BBQ and Kreuz Market. All three of these establishments are enshrined in Texas BBQ lore. We sampled brisket, ribs and sausage at all three spots and of the three, our favorite was Kreuz Market. 

 Schoen Boy's at Kreuz Market
Kreuz Market-Brisket & Sausage
The brisket is apparently hot smoked and so the cooking time is decreased. The smoke ring and bark on the brisket was something I hadn't seen elsewhere and if this hadn't been the last of five stops we would have gone back for seconds.
Since Lockhart is so small, do take time to walk the historic downtown. Lockhart is also home to Caldwell County and another beautiful courthouse.
Caldwell County Courthouse-Lockhart, Texas