Sunday, November 30, 2008
We decided that it was time to visit what is deemed by Texas Monthly Magazine as the best BBQ in the state. I'm usually quite dubious about such honors and awards. There is some absolutely amazing barbecue in the Texas Hill Country and surrounds and that is one hell of a bold statement.
We agreed to depart from Mike's at 7:30AM for the drive to Snow's. They are only open on Saturdays, open at 8, and close when they run out, which is apparently always before noon. We headed off on a scenic route that took us out of Wimberley and past more single wides that I've ever seen in a stretch. We rolled into Lexington, TX at about 9:20, and there was a line out the door.
As we made our way up through the line, we kept hearing reports of what they were out of, first ribs, and then pork butt. This torture was exacerbated by Saul who was right in front of us, and seemed completely unfamiliar with commerce on every level. He also had acute spatial and social issues, not to mention the joy he seemed to take in trying to order the last of everything.
When Edmond and I finally made it to the front of the line we were relieved to find that they still had brisket, sausage and chicken. We made our way out to a picnic table adjacent to their pits, and were quickly transported to gastronomic bliss. Simply put, consensus of all four put these three items at the top of what we had experienced, and overall Snow's had admirably earned the distinction of being the best in Texas. The only single item that rivaled and perhaps bettered anything that we had at Snow's was the beef rib at Cooper's in Llano.
1. Texas monthly is reputable and accurate at least in matters of BBQ.
2. If you want any selection at all, get to Snow's shortly after 8AM when they open
Sunday, November 9, 2008
It was an early start by any ones standard for barbecue. I picked up Martin just before 10AM on Saturday. Martin, originally from Manchester UK, by way of LA is new to the Hill Country and we took it upon ourselves to show him some of the best bbq that it has to offer. We hit Mike's house to pile into the cherokee, collected Edmond (big-ups for the coffee fix Edmond) and headed off in a most circuitous route to Smitty's in Lockhart. Mike donned his lucky PETA shirt for the event, which added a certain charm to the festivities.
Smitty's has what has become my favorite hallway on the planet to photograph. It is where I once met Smitty himself (photographic evidence withheld). You walk in from the harsh light of day into a dim light with the glow of the open fires on the floor. It is flanked on either side by long wooden benches with an amazing patina with a small counter to eat from. Every several feet there is a chain that hangs down and allegedly used to have a knife at the other end that could be shared in a communal fashion. To the right at the end of the hallway is the pits where your gastronomic adventure begins.
Click on this photo below to see the full version of just what I'm talking about.
Smitty's in my mind has the best sausage, taste-texture-balance all of it there in spades. The end cut pork chops were great as ever, and the brisket stellar as well. I have covered Smitty's previously, so won't go on here, but if you haven't been yet go. After downing our beers and orange soda. It was off to City Market in Luling.
Just a few miles down the road from Lockhart is Luling, but it could have been the other side of Texas. Where Lockhart seems to have sprung from agronomy, Luling was decidedly an oil town and possibly the architecturally least significant Texas town that I had come across. There were yards of delapidated oil equipment and pumps still in service smattered throughout. There was a smell of oil in the air that was unistakable. Some of the working pumps had been dressed up with silhouettes of Shamu diving, or kids on teeter totters. Other than City Market BBQ, Luling's claim to fame is the Watermelon Spitting Championship, and Thump Queen. There were a number of corrigated steel shacks that served Mexican food that looked quite promising, but they would have to wait for another day. We were on a mission........
We rolled into downtown Luling for our second lunch. Mike had either cheated or scouted the previous day depending on your perspective. He claimed to be stuck by a train and left on option in the matter. At any rate we feasted on Ribs, Sausage and Brisket. The Pork Ribs were the best that I've had thus far in Texas, where other cuts are king. The sauce at Luling was also an absolute standout. A very interesting balance of spicy, savory, smoke and sweetness. A contrast to Smitty's that offers (and needs) none. The brisket was good, although not as good as Smitty's, it was a solid representation. The sausage was of a smoother consistency than that at Smitty's and a milder but still great taste. Absolutely worth the drive from Wimberley, but possibly not from Lockhart if you get my meaning.
What I'm listening to lately
- Ben Kweller-Changing Horses
- Trojan Country Reggae Box Set
- The Grand Archives
- Sun is Shining- Bob Marley vs Lee Scratch Perry
- A.C. Newman-Get Guilty
- Justin Townes Earle-The Good Life
- Bon Iver-Blood Bank
- Breathe Owl Breathe-Ghost Glacier
- Noah and the Whale
- Conor Oberst
- Frightened Rabbit-The Midnight Organ Fight
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