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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…

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The hunt for the best barbecue continues with the second joint today. This is a small victory as I have always wanted to hit more than one restaurant on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ establishments in a single day. Billy's Old Fashion Barbecue happens to be number 9. I have a hair less than four years to visit the other 41 before the list is updated. I have my work cut out for me as these places are as far at 500 miles from home. I wasn't hungry when we rolled into Jasper, but I was here to eat barbecue. I knew I wanted brisket and when we found the dilapidated restaurant, I knew we were going to experience some magic. I chose the sliced brisket sandwich. I wasn't expecting this monstrosity as it was quite large. Topped with pickles and onions, this sauce soaked sandwich was perfect. I only wish I had ordered the sauce on the side. The sauce was decent, but I came for the meat. The sliced brisket was very nice. It was juicy and the fat was rendered beautifully. It was a bit toothsome, but it certainly wasn't tough. I had forgotten to ask for untrimmed meat, so I was pleased when I saw that the crusty bark was intact. The meat had a mild flavor. Not too much smoke, and it wasn't overpowered with seasoning. It was a simple, beefy masterpiece. At only 2 1/2 hours from home, I can see myself loading up the family for a nice meaty adventure. This is easily a 4.0/5.0. Well done, Texas Monthly. This BBQ doesn't disappoint.
Theodore Luoma @ Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ, 2014-08-31 01:12:51
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:06
It has been a few months since I was able to hunt for some good Texas BBQ. It is a bit of a tradition that my oldest daughter, Alli, and I enjoy. I'm not a hunter, so we aren't likely to go kill deer as we spend time together, but we have our own game we like to track down. We decided to have lunch at the Hitch-N-Post in Livingston, TX. It's 3 1/2 hours from home so we had time to work up an appetite. We both ordered untrimmed fatty brisket which in my estimation, is the best tasting meat. I usually try the sausage as well, but we are planning an early supper at another BBQ place and I don't want to gorge myself. The brisket, though cooked, could probably have used another four hours in the smoker to completely render the fat and make the meat fork tender. I actually had to use a knife to cut the meat. There was a beautiful smoke ring and a decent crust, but I was hoping for a denser crust. Then again, this ain't Lockhart. The beans were good, but they were punched up canned beans. The potato salad probably came from Brookshire Brothers, but I came for the meat. The sides are just a bonus. Apparently, the proprietor has a policy to give free cake to first time customers. He was a really nice BBQ enthusiast as he asked if I had tried Snow's in Lexington. Then he started showing me pictures of BBQ joints on his phone. The ambience was a schlockfest with old tricycles dangling from the ceiling and tiki umbrellas reminiscent of Gilligan's Island. It was enjoyable soaking it in while I soaked up sauce with my bread. The food was good. I would rate it a 3.0/5.0, but with the outstanding service and friendly atmosphere, I rate it a solid 3.5. Hitch-N-Post is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Theodore Luoma @ Hitch-N-Post BBQ, 2014-08-30 18:24:05
Third in line pound of lean got two ends and a sausage PERFECTION worth the drive ft worth good food good folks
doug_wallace @ Louie Mueller Barbecue, 2014-08-30 15:38:00
Loved that there was no wait unlike that other place on East 6th. Fatty brisket was as advertised. Pepper on crust was perfect. Jalapeño sausage was okay. Loved the cheesy squash - my new favorite side. No beef ribs today sadly. Drank the BBQ sauce too; very good stuff.
Rahul Yaratha @ John Mueller Meat Co., 2014-08-29 16:44:19
Brisket was moist, but tough. Needed more smoke. Spare ribs were ok.
mrb @ Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, 2014-08-27 02:53:29
Stopped at Rudy's at Leon Springs. Not good. Brisket was moist but tough. Ribs were fair.
mrb @ , 2014-08-27 02:47:40
How do we get KB's BBQ on the finder for Victoria TX?
Kent Sistrunk @ , 2014-08-26 17:54:51
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Review

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.)

Comments

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05517755656054099856 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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10710008025522679863 strategym

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04788664081253195369 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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17787287644701188189 brannen

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06929674759706446311 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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12067732086403645198 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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16947162594545034938 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:

    http://chowpapi.com/?p=106

    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.

    JR (ROCKFISH)
    Lockhart, TX

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14402343553973390843 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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08634822820989942925 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.