Sunday, November 9, 2008

Baptism of the Stranger in a Strange Land-Luling City Market

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 Reading


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

Smitty's Barbecue

Smitty's Barbecue