Tuesday, October 6, 2009

City Market in Luling (10/10) - 633 E Davis St. Luling, TX 78648

After a solid Thursday night on West 6th Street, I awoke early Friday with a full schedule for the day: grab Matt's luggage at Erin's friend's house, pick up the rental RV, make it to ACL by 4:30pm to see Phoenix, and eat at Kreuz, Smitty's, Black's, and City Market in Luling (from least to most important).  No better time to start the day than 8:30am.  Matt and I got in the car and headed south down 183 towards Luling.

City Market was such a unique experience, I briefly debated making this a purely pictorial post.  It's a large two-room restaurant where all sides are sold in the main dining room while all the ribs, briskets, and sausages are smoked and sold in the back room.  With our priorities in order, Matt and I headed directly to the back of the market to check out City Market's meat.

The back room was almost completely void of color as years of smoking with oak wood in a such a small confined space left a heavy film on everything.  The workers were extremely gritty and too intimidating to make small talk.  At one point, one of the workers laughed at me for taking pictures of the pits from across the room - "you can get closer ya know."  I probably muttered something completely subserviently back like "yes sir" with my head hung low.

We ordered and received our bill for half a pound of brisket, half a pound of ribs, and a link of sausage before heading back to the main dining room.  One of the many great things about City Market is that all the sides, especially warm blocks of cheese that vary from $0.50 - $0.90, are ordered separately from the meat.  We added a $0.55 block to our order and took a seat.  The smoke ring ran deep and the smoky oak flavor was prevalent all the way from the crust far into the moist inner section.  City Market's brisket easily dominates any brisket I've tried to date (apologies to The Joint in New Orleans).  

The spare ribs also shared the same smoke ring and deep oak flavor as the brisket.  The crust was thin and crunchy, and Matt and I found ourselves pulling the crust to eat it separately from the rest of the rib meat.  The flavor was sweet and I was too intimidated to ask the pitmasters if the City Market sauce was applied during the smoking process.  The sausage's casing was firm and provided a nice contrast to the slow cooked meat hidden inside.  The pork and beef filling had a nice smoky flavor but did not live up to par to the brisket or ribs.  The meat was a little dry and potentially we unfortunately got a link that had been smoked for too long.  The City Market sauce is provided in old bottles of hot sauce and the flavor was great.  It was very similar to the sweet mustard and vinegar sauce served at the Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas -- slightly better as well.  If I had a gallon of City Market's sauce at home, it'd probably be gone in a little over a month.  

Every new restaurant I try will be benchmarked against City Market in Luling until I am successfully able to pronounce a replacement as my favorite barbecue joint.  Anyone living or visiting the Austin area should do himself/herself the service by driving down to Luling to experience wonderful morsels of City Market's oak smoked brisket and ribs. 

I love you City Market.

City Market on Urbanspoon


  1. City Market does not add any sauce before, during, or after the cooking of
    brisket, but they do put sauce on the ribs before. My mom is from Luling and we're there all the time. I'll have Delsa send you the recipe for the sauce - it's fantastic and always on hand at our house. Fabulous blog by the way - and all the Luling people loved that they are #1!

    1. I love the City Market. I would like to know how they make the ribs, sausage and sauce. I would appricate if you could help me. Thank you


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.