City Market

633 E. Davis
Luling, TX 78648

Phone: 830-875-9019
Hours: Mon-€“Sat 7-€“6

Opened 1958
Pitmaster Joe Capello Sr. (since 1970)
Method Post oak; indirect-heat pit; gas-fired smoker
Pro Tip Take home some sauce.

TMBBQ Rating: 4

Texas Monthly BBQ Top 50

More Reviews

May 16, 2013

There are few places we love as much as the pit room at City Market. Entering the smoke-filled, glass-enclosed chamber at the back of the dining room is an experience you will remember for decades—a trip into an iconic, sacred space in the world of barbecue. Like Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market, in Lockhart, this joint has been a mainstay in our top tier for years, and while we’d still recommend a visit, the tough,…

December 13, 2012

There are many folks around the country that may have just been introduced to the existence of City Market, in Luling, earlier this year when Newsweek published their list of the “101 Best Places to Eat” around the world. I myself have joked at the dubious nature of most lists like this one, but as one of only fourteen restaurants in North America to make the list alongside such names as Husk, Daniel, and Momofuku,…

May 16, 2010

Showing this joint to a friend for the first time is always fun, but the huge line can be daunting. Luckily we were stuffed, so waiting for a half hour or so wasn’t the worst that could have happened. Once inside the smoking room we were mesmerized by the smell and the view of these huge smokers. One of them was completely full of the popular beef links, which helped to create some room in…

Review

May 21, 2008

You’ve come for wholeness, for satisfaction deep within your soul. Your searching has brought you here, to the company of fellow pilgrims in the snaking line. Slowly, you advance across the tile floor, past the knotty-pine walls, and up to the inner sanctum: a glass-enclosed chamber where a host of priests, in green apron vestments and orange hard hats, labor at a smoky altar. Aware of your unworthiness, you push open the swinging door.

This is barbecue’s holy of holies: City Market’s dark pit room, located in a back corner of the main dining hall. Clouds of post oak incense have been rising from its five pits for fifty years, and the smoke envelops manager Joe Capello Sr. and his crew as they slice your order—a choice of brisket, ribs, sausage, nothing else—onto butcher paper. You pay at the blackened cash register (bread comes free, onions, pickles, and peppers for pocket change), then reemerge into the dining area, where staff at a central counter sell sides and liquid offerings: vessels of potato salad and beans; hunks of yellow cheese; an array of beers, Big Red, IBC Root Beer. You take your place at one of the pine booths or tables among the multitude of other devotees, a startlingly ecumenical mix of faces white, black, and brown. A handwritten notice proclaims the righteous requirements of the meat before you: “No forks—use your hands.”

Your first bite of a generous rib is a revelation. It is tender, salty, fall-off-the- bone succulent. The brisket, perfectly crispy yet moist, emanates an addictive woodsmoke flavor. And, oh, the homemade beef sausage! Epic. Coarse and juicy, it alone is worth the journey. As for sauce? You forgot about the sauce, but it’s in a glass bottle right in front of you. And when you get around to tasting it—a thin, orange-ish, deliciously mustardy concoction—the signs imploring you to “Please leave sauce bottles on tables” suddenly make sense. In fact, your yearnings now met, your hopes fulfilled—suddenly everything makes sense.

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