Thursday, October 8, 2009

Black's Barbecue (9/10) - 215 N Main St. Lockhart, TX 78644

Next stop on the tour: Black's Barbecue.  Driving into Lockhart, you will notice that this local barbecue joints aggressively marketed itself with a bright yellow sign campaign.   Black's prides itself on being the longest run barbecue restaurant under one family's management and ownership.  The restaurant smokes with post oak and I imagine not much has changed about Black's techniques outside of adding sauce in recent years.  The enclosed video tells the story.

We walked inside and ordered the same we did at Smitty's: 1/4 lb brisket & ribs and a link of sausage.  After paying, the guys offered us a tour of the pits once we finished eating the meat.  I gave him a nice double-take and curiously asked how he knew that we'd enjoy that.  "You ordered a little of everything.  That's what people do when they're sampling the barbecue in Lockhart."  What gentlemen.  I loved how how they weighed each cut of meat directly on the scales without any butcher paper underneath.  In any other state in America, vegetarians, sanitarians, pescatarians, or poultrytarians would be up in arms about meat contamination.  I love Texas.  Except the salad bar to the right of where you order the meat.  Miserable decision probably done to please nagging wives of the men who come for some good meat eating.  

Although this was the third meal of the day, we were still able to appreciate intense smoky flavor and a deep fatty crust on the brisket.  My only criticism was that it tasted a little greasy.  A smoky & greasy taste is nearly impossible to get out of one's mouth.  The ribs also had a nice crust and oak flavor through out.  The texture and moisture were near perfect.

The last item left on the paper was the sausage.  It had a strong casing that snapped when sliced with the plastic cutlery.  The meat was juicy, and the oils spilled out of the sausage leaving a wonderful smell emitting from the table.  The flavor was very good, but was not very differentiable from Smitty's.  The sauce at Black's was decent at best.  It was tomato based but tasted as if it had too high of a concentration of either Worcestershire Sauce or liquid smoke.  Luckily for us, the meat tasted just fine on its own.

As we finished our meal, we walked back for the tour.  To our surprise, Kent and Barrett Black -- two members in the direct Black lineage -- wanted to host the pit tour rather than pulling the two carvers from their station.  Barrett pointed at the two cutting blocks behind the counter and said that they had been in use in the restaurant since the early 1950s.  The tops of each were extremely warped, due to all the moisture from the meat, and are cut down every few years to level them back out.  Once the blocks were cut down far enough, legs had to be installed underneath.

If this wasn't our third stop on the day, I would have liked to have sampled Black's beef ribs - although they weigh-in at over a pound or two each.

Once our tour was over, Kent took two pictures of us: once for my camera and the other to put on their website.            

Black's Barbecue on Urbanspoon


Ratings and Reviews

In order to provide a consistent grading standard across each restaurant/region, I order a barbecue pork sandwich (and other meats/sides if a restaurant/region specializes in another specialty). In addition to comparing the quality of food, I will also take into consideration other intangibles (ambiance, atmosphere, service, authenticity, etc.) in my ratings as I deem appropriate.

Basically, a 10/10 represents an incredible meal, while a 6/10 score indicates a decent dining experience but a substantial number of dishes fell short of great. Lower scores indicate unpleasant experiences which I would most likely not even recommend to my worst enemy (Jonas Singer).

I reserve the right to continuously edit/update previous posts and to change rating scores as I see fit.