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May 16, 2013

Black’s has little in common with the more publicized Kreuz or Smitty’s other than that they are all in the same town. Instead of a mesmerizing encounter with a picturesque fire blazing at the end of an ancient brick pit like you’ll find at Smitty’s, at Black’s you’re funneled through a narrow corridor past an anticlimactic salad bar. But when you finally reach the meat counter, you’ll find the most important difference between Black’s and…

May 16, 2009

Some joints are known for how well they do one meat or another, but Black’s does them all well. Brisket, ribs, sausage, and turkey were piled on top of our small plate, and they were all picture perfect. The brisket had a dark crust and deep-red smoke line. The meat was flavorful and smoky, but it could have used a little more time on the smoker to tenderize a bit. The ribs had a perfect…


Comments from our joint finder app.
Awesome brisket and ribs!
David Monasmith @ Pecan Lodge, 2014-09-19 18:10:20
Kent Black's BBQ. San Marcos. Brisket moist smokey an TENDER! Keeping up the family tradition.
Andrew Imm @ , 2014-09-19 18:10:13
Tender, good flavor, could use more smoke. Much better than the fast food barbecue down the street
charles hodge @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-19 18:04:52
Stanley's - Tyler Ribs - beautiful, perfectly pink. Soft, almost oddly mushy, but with a tasty sweetness that I enjoyed. Brisket - well cooked, tender, but a bit dry and not much smoke flavor at all. The bark was thin, as was the smoke ring. Overall good, but nothing to really make it stand out. Gets a 'meh' B from me.
Scott Jarvis @ Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q, 2014-09-18 18:14:00
Had the brisket ribs and sausage all very good. Sides are over the top good. Smoked jalapeño app is amazing.
Roman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-18 16:53:37
Went for "My Ribs" and "Your Ribs". Both good but latter wins out. Brisket definitely dry; was hard for me to get into. Sausage was okay. Definitely try key lime pie. Enjoyed the decor. Overall a good, not great Q place.
Rahul Yaratha @ Big Boys Barbecue, 2014-09-17 23:24:47
Brisket sandwich was good. And that's all she wrote as there is nothing else (chicken, sausage, turkey, potato salad, etc). Not even my friends who all went to Tech even heard of this place. Scratching my head on such a high TM ranking.
Rahul Yaratha @ Tom and Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que, 2014-09-17 23:21:48
We had Friday night dinner here. Brisket was tender and delicious. A little too much fat for my husband, but my daughter and I thought it was PERFECT. Good seasoning and good bark. No sauce needed. Homemade creamed corn is the best I have ever had. Coleslaw is delicious and not overdressed. We finished the meal with the homemade fried strawberry pies - one of the tastiest desserts I have ever put in my mouth. Live music. Dishes served family style. <$40 for 3 people including soft drinks and several beers. Definitely will go back!
Marcy Newman @ Two Bros. BBQ Market, 2014-09-17 22:16:13
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November 11, 2010

This was the morning where instead of discovering another great barbecue joint in Texas, Smokemaster1 and I were taking my friend Rob to the heart of barbecue country to find out what all the fuss was about. A stop at Chisholm Trail for excellent sausage and brisket but no ribs was followed by a less-than-stellar trip to Smitty’s. I was thinking to myself that Rob may now be questioning the Lockhart fuss altogether. That is until we stepped into Black’s. This was my third visit, and I have yet to see where all the haters get their ammo. Sure there’s a sad-looking salad bar as you walk in, but the meat here is nothing short of fantastic.

The sausage here is an 85-percent-beef-and-15-percent-pork mixture. The casings have a great snap, the meat is well seasoned, and the overall experience of a Black’s sausage squirting hot fat into your mouth is something that demands a repeat performance. A recent addition to the menu was baby back ribs. The smokiness and bold flavoring from the rub was all there, but it needed more time on the smoker to reach another degree of tenderness.

I got to use my Q Card for just the second time. It feels good to save money.

A gargantuan beef rib (not pictured) was much better. The moist meat was eminently tender, and the smokiness embedded into the thick black crust was savory goodness. A rib of this size could make a modest meal for two.

Meat makes Rob happy.


After some great sausage and good ribs, Rob was looking satisfied enough. Then we divvied up the slices of brisket. As those tender slices were being passed and devoured I noticed a thick slice of fatty goodness straight from the end of the brisket flat. The surface area of smoky crust got me giddy, but I decided that although I discovered the slice, the newbie needed the experience more than myself. After some discussion, we cut it into three chunks and, as if doing a ceremonial shot of tequila, we downed our bites in unison. At that point cracks formed in the ceiling as the roof opened up and sunlight poured into the space. Suddenly, angelic voices filled the room, and Rob was smiling. We were all smiling, as this will be logged into my memory as one of the finest bites of smoked beef that has ever passed these lips. It was that good, and I’m not exaggerating. If they could guarantee a bite like that with every order, I’d consider driving down on weeknights. Thank you, Black’s, for helping me turn Rob into a Texas barbecue believer.

(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)


  • Wendell

    I’ve been to this one and actually like it better than the “big two” in town- Kreutz and Smittys. I found the brisket to be exceptionally tender and tasty.

  • strategym

    It’s the best steam tray place I’ve ever had barbecue.

  • Brian

    Black’s is a joke. Don’t go saying they do all their meat well and then say the brisket needed to be left on longer.

    When I ate there a few years ago they needed to leave their brisket on a lot longer, several hours for sure. It was so underdone that the really hadn’t even begun to gel as it should in a good brisket.

    Course ground sausage is fine but I’ve had tacos meat that would ground up better than the junk they put into their casings.

    To date, Black’s is the only BBQ joint in Texas that I’ve just thrown my plate away after taking a few bites.

    Smittys, Kreutz and even Chisolm Trail all cook respectable ‘Q, but Black’s just puts up big billboards claiming their historic significance. It just goes to shows marketing will keep a poor business open.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Brian. We traveled from Washington State to try this famous barbecue. Big disappointment. The brisket was mostly dry with no taste. I was very surprised. Sides were nice. I would not go there again.

  • David

    After eating at Kreutz market on Saturday and being very satisfied, I ventured back to Lockhart on Sunday and only Blacks was open.

    I was very disappointed. The turkey was cold and dry and the brisket was very average. I think I would have preferred Rudy’s over Blacks, but maybe it was because it was about 3PM on a Sunday and they were the only show in town. There was still always someone at the Q counter making an order though.

    Next time, my first stop will be Smitty’s which I regret missing on my last trip.

  • brannen

    Smitty’s is the best in Lockhart. Black’s is a joke and Kreutz is over hype and more of a tourist place.

  • Michael H

    Went to Black’s on July 4th weekend, and I was underwhelmed to say the least. The brisket was pretty good, the ribs were average at best, and the pork chop was not edible. It was drier than a piece of wood (not kidding at all). While I know BBQ places have good days and bad, I don’t expect you get legendary status without some level of consistency. I will probably give it another shot though (at some point in my life)…

  • bbqlover

    I’ve been to Blacks twice in the past year, and can’t get enough of the brisket. Best brisket I’ve encountered in all of TX.

    I get down to the Austin area so rarely, I’m hesitant to try Smittys/Kreutz.

  • TexasBBQbeast

    I had Black’s and was very disappointed. If you want real BBQ and unbelievable brisket that is consistently awesome whenever you go then go to Snow’s in Lexington. Kerry Bexley don’t have a distiguished Texas BBQ “pedigree” and he is beatin’ all of them, just ask the long line of people from all over the world waiting to get in at 8 in the morning. They are only open on Saturdays and sell out by 11.

  • Don O.

    I’m right with you on Black’s. I’ve had one bite throw away meals at Smitty’s, but I’ve always had a consistently great meal at Black’s. I have probably eaten there 8 or 9 times now, and have yet to leave with anything but a smile on my face and smoke flavor in my mouth.

  • AW

    I literally just walked in the door from Lockhart. I was having a hard time deciding between Black’s and Kreuz’s, and we ultimately chose Kreuz’s. While the sausage and ribs were good, the brisket there was an abomination. No fat, no crust, no flavor. My six year old said it was the worst brisket she had ever had, and she was right.

    To try to make up for it, we drove over to Black’s for a second lunch. We got only brisket, and it was fantastic–food of the gods. It had a nice crust, beautiful smoke ring, perfect amount of fat and was melt-in-your mouth tender. It’s hard to believe that the people above could be writing about the same restaurant. It was as close to perfect as brisket gets.

    At many BBQ restaurants, a lot of your experience depends on what day you go and what piece of meat you get served from. And I guess that’s what distinguishes the consistently good performers from the so-so. In my mind, Black’s and Smitty’s are the class of Lockhart, and Kreuz’s is a distant third.

  • Bruce

    As a Hill Country native, I really don’t get how you can say Black’s is anything short of great. Maybe you went on the wrong day. You can’t find consistently better bbq or service anywhere else!

  • Grenny1968

    Glad to see this review. I go between Houston and Austin a bunch and patronize city mkt-luling and blacks. Kreutz and Smittys are both good and get tons of media love but Blacks is seriously underrated. Always have had good experience here. Plus I like side orders and sauce so all you so called purist can stick it!

  • RL Reeves Jr

    Black’s Barbecue Supremacy Now Undisputed

    Article here:

    I started eating at Black’s in 1991. Kreuz before the move, used to give em a good run for their money.

    Not anymore.

    Blacks is the best, others are close but the defining quality of Black’s is the consistency.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone that rates Blacks brisket less than 4 stars out of 5 does not know what GREAT Texas briket tastes like, PERIOD.

    Everyone has an opinion but those that diss on Blacks brisket are IGNORANT and UNINFORMED.

    Lockhart, TX

  • Steve

    Went to the top 10 Central Texas BBQ establishments in Apr 2011 trip. Lockhart visits included the big three. Blacks was the clear winner with the best silkiest genuine flavored brisket I have ever eaten. The crust, smoke and fat ratios were a perfect combination. Smitty’s was not a close second and Kreuz would not rank one star on any of their items we ate there that day. Spend your money and time at Black’s.

  • Anonymous

    Blacks is sooooo overrated. Appreciate the history…but not the food.

  • Harleyman

    Went to Black’s before our pre-Thanksgiving drive through the Hill Country of Texas. I hit a few of my regular bbq stops on this trip, added this one our itinerary to form an opinion of my own.

    I do agree that the condiment bar is a bit underwhelming, but our group found some tasty additions to complement their meal. For me, a devout meat eater, it’s about what rolls off the smoker.

    Our group loaded up on baby back ribs, beef ribs, regular sausage, brisket, and we sampled the shiner sausage.

    The sausage fell out of the casings, and was a bit disappointing. It had good flavor, but I like a heartier sausage that stays together. The Shiner sausage was a bit darker, stronger in flavor, stuck together, but was a bit dry from the extra time sitting on the warmers.

    The baby back ribs were good, but didn’t seem to have as much flavor, and smoking time as the beef ribs. The beef ribs were smoked beautifully, fell off the bone, and had great flavor similar to the brisket. I just wish there was more meat on the bone.

    Now the best part for last. The brisket had to be delivered directly from the bbq Gods themselves. Thick smoke ring, tender, juicy, and perfectly rendered. This stuff was pure heaven!!!!!! Keep the sauce away from this blessed hunk of brisket, it stood alone as the highlight of our trip. I opted out of dessert, and headed back for another slice of this cut.

    What I found great about Black’s was that the meat stood alone on its smoking. I do like a good sauce, because there are so many variations of additional flavors. The Black’s sauce was subtle, and did not overpower what was already good bbq. My son, who likes the hot stuff, had to sample the ghost chili sauce. We left with a bottle……

    I will be heading back for more brisket the next time in the area.