Zimmerhanzel’s Bar-B-Que

My Houston BBQ Festival weekend started early. It was 9:30am and I was 6th in line at Zimmerhanzel’s in Smithville, TX. There was a slight scent of post oak in the room and the three blessed meat cutters were hard at work.

The gentlemen in front of me ordered 40 links of sausage. This was a good omen, if you ask me. Nobody orders 10lbs of bad sausage.

zimmerhanzels-brisket-pork-rib-sausage
Sausage (one of my favorites), brisket and pork rib from Zimmerhanzel’s.

I was up and ready to go with my order:

  • 1 slice of lean, 1 slice of moist
  • 1 sausage link
  • 1 pork rib

That’s my standard order when I go on a muti-joint BBQ trip. And most people will be quite surprised to learn that I rarely eat all of it. However, Zimmerhanzel’s proved to be an exception.

zimmerhanzels-outdoor-pit-pavilion
Three pits in a pavilion. Trifecta of winning.
zimmerhanzels-main-pit
The main pit at Zimmerhanzel’s. Greatness comes from within.
zimmerhanzels-kitchen
Zimmerhanzel’s kitchen.

I started with the brisket. The fat was rendered really well and the texture was like slightly firm pot roast. It held together well and had a fantastic smoke ring.

My first bite was of the lean. In my opinion, if you nail the lean you are truly a pit master. And Zimmerhanzel’s nailed it. Perfect smokey flavor, amazing texture, melted in my mouth.

Next up was the moist brisket. As expected, it was great. Tons of smoke, excellent fat and incredible texture. I wanted to eat this by the car load.

I had to go with the sausage as my next item. As I took my first bite, time slowed down. The snap of the casing. The slight squirt of rendered fat into my mouth. The burn of the black pepper. My God.

The sausage was so good, so perfect, that my only criticism is that if it had slightly more smoke, it would be the best sausage I’ve ever had. Yes, it was amazing. Yes, it is worth driving to Zimmerhanzel’s just to eat the sausage.

Last, but absolutely not least, was the pork rib. Folks, this is what I think of when I think of a classic Texas style pork rib. The texture was slightly firm but came easily off the bone. Lots of black pepper. Wow. This rib is amazing. Simple and perfect.

I did taste the sauce, but folks, I just don’t care about sauce at a place that serves meat like this.

No matter where I go, I love to check out the pits. The folks at Zimmerhanzel’s let me in the back to capture a few pictures.

In total there are 4 pits on the grounds. The main pit is indoor and is always full of sausage and brisket. Outside, there is a small pavilion with three more pits. On Saturdays, they run another pit outside to accomodate the hundreds of pounds of handmade sausage, brisket, pork ribs, chicken and pork butt they sell.

The other two pits are only used when it gets really busy. I’m assuming that means a catering gig.

My first stop on the way to Houston BBQ Festival was quite incredible. I absolutely cannot wait to return and show off one of my new favorite joints to my fellow BBQ lovers.

Southside Market

Imagine this: you had just been to a barbecue joint considered to be one of the Top 5 in all of Texas. You left somewhat disappointed. Then, on the way home you see a sign (a very well done one at that) advertising Southside Market as the place that started barbecue in Texas.

Mmmhmm. Started bbq in Texas? We’ll see about that, fellas. And I’ll be the judge.

Britt (my wife) and I had just been to Snow’s BBQ over in Lexington, TX where we had a wonderful experience but only mediocre ‘cue. I’m still convinced that we experienced a fluke, but that’s not what this is about. You see, I was harboring a bit of disappointment in my soul. The kind that only brisket, post oak and butcher paper can cure. So after seeing a sign that proclaimed Southside Market the place that birthed barbecue in Texas, I knew where I was heading next.

Southside Market Building

After a couple missed turns we finally got into the parking lot. Something stuck out to me right away: this place was freaking huge. HUGE. No seriously, it dwarfs all other joints I’ve ever seen.

Since I’m not a native Texan, I’m not familiar with the sausage from Elgin, TX. And apparently, it is some legendary sausage.

There are two places in Elgin: Meyers and Southside Market. They’re basically right down the road from each other, so choosing could be difficult. However, it was easy for me: one was open and one wasn’t (also the whole “started Texas barbecue” thing had my interest).

Britt and I walked in at about 10am and as you can imagine, there weren’t many people. I suppose most sane people don’t require an early morning brisket fix.

There were two massive seating areas that could seat many hundreds of people, two lines to order food and, for the real go-getters, a massive butcher shop where one could purchase any and all of the meat served in the restaurant. Southside Market is basically a barbecue enthusiast’s amusement park, full of everything that will make a grown man obsessed with barbecue squeal.

Enough buildup, let’s talk about the bbq.

Brisket with sexy smoke ring

During this trip I chose a very limited tasting. I picked up a couple of slices of both lean and moist along with a 4 inch section of their famous sausage.

The brisket was freaking fantastic! It had an absolutely beautiful smoke ring, perfect moisture content, the bark was crisp and it was exploding with that incredible post oak flavor that I adore. As soon as that brisket hit my mouth, I knew it instantly made its way on to my top bbq list. I really loved this brisket.

Now, the sausage was a new experience. It. Was. Amazing. It had a nice, snappy casing, massive beefy flavor and was almost an inch and a half in diameter. I really, really liked liked the Southside Market sausage.

I should also mention that I tasted the sauce, but I didn’t like it at all. It was very sweet and just tasted like sugar. However, I also tasted the hot sauce and it was flat out awesome. It was spicy, vinegary and downright delicious.

If you can believe it, I haven’t even come to the best part of the story.

After tasting such excellent barbecue, I had to check out the operation. So, I went up and asked to see where all the magic went down.

I was greeted by the manager, Tom, and he gave me a tour of the smoke room. And friends, it was devine.

Since it was early on Saturday there was a lot of preparation going on and I got to see it all.

Brick smokers where the sausage is finished

First, let me give you some stats about Southside Market:

  • On a typical Saturday, Southside Market goes through 120 briskets, nearly 1500lbs of sausage and about 1,500 guest checks, which means about 3,000 people.
  • In one weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) Southside Market goes though over 4,000lbs of sausage.
  • Southside Market has a portable smoking unit that is capable of producing about 50% of what they can make at the restaurant.
  • Southside Market produces (in the manufacturing facility behind the restaurant) over 2,000,000lbs of sausage each year.

Southside Market is no joke.

Tom was an awesome tour guide. He opened the pits and showed off the ribs, chicken and pork steaks. The briskets were bathing in post oak within the dark, cavernous high volume smokers.

The sausage, he explained, only takes about 40 minutes to smoke, so they were sitting in their containers on the sausage side of the room. Yes, you heard me right. There are four pits dedicated to smoking sausage. And, in fact, one employee’s job is devoted almost entirely to smoking sausage day in and day out. God bless that man.

Massive sausage links

Then I saw the mobile rig. Wow. It was basically a highly customized trailer that folded out to reveal all sorts of different smoking areas. And actually, to accomodate weekend demand, they were using part of that trailer.

Southside Market is an absolute must for the barbecue lover. The fact that Southside Market isn’t on the Texas Monthly Top 50 is a mockery. Southside is, without a doubt, one of the top bbq joints in Texas.

I will be back for more. Southside Market: you are now on my top bbq list.

Snow’s BBQ

Check out my new article on Snow’s!

On a chilly Saturday morning in January, I begrudgingly woke up at 6:30am to begin a morning trip to Snow’s. I was meeting Chris (my cousin and co-worker) and a bunch of other people there to eat ‘cue and generally socialize. Britt (my wife) was not terribly happy about waking up at the crack of dawn to go eat barbecue, but that turned around after I poured a cup of coffee down her throat.

For those of you who don’t know about Snow’s, it is only open on Saturdays from 8am to about 12pm. You heard me right: 4 hours per week. That’s all the time you have to enjoy this mystical barbecue. Snow’s was also ranked in the Top 5 over at Texas Monthly and was declared “Best BBQ in Texas” in 2008.

Snow’s BBQ Building

Snow’s is in Lexington, TX (about 55 miles from me) and it takes about an hour +/- 15 minutes to get there. Fortunately, you have to drive through Elgin, Texas home of the “hot gut” which is, in fact, a sausage and not a form of diarrhea.

Excreta aside, the trip out to Snow’s was pretty cool. We got on the road at 7am (we were supposed to leave at 6:30 but my alarm got set for 5:45pm). The sun was just beginning to show over the eastern horizon as we pulled on to the highway and the small, colored bits of light seeped out from the sky and painted the frosted grass.

Snow’s is the kind of place that time will never infringe upon. You can’t see it on Google street view and the satellite picture just looks like a barn. The restaurant building is half a dozen picnic tables stuffed in an old red building, just up the street from the Lexington Livestock Commission (which was lively while we were there). The employees inside were just a few older ladies and a cute college age girl.

Outside was where the action happened: 4 or 5 pits, 2 big smokers and stack upon stack of post oak. Only three people run that operation, tending to sausage, pork ribs, chicken and (of course) brisket. They’ll watch over their beloved barbecue for 16-18 hours without taking a break and watch as person after person just smiles while they shove as much ‘cue down their gullet as they can while still seeming remotely civilized.

Ok, by now you know the story. But how was the ‘cue? Did it stack up?

First let’s talk about the brisket. It had a decent bark, excellent smoke ring, very sweet smoke flavor and was tender. I’m not sure if it was just the brisket that I received my piece from, but the fat was not rendered and the meat had dried out a fair bit. This brisket was only ok in my opinion, more along the lines of my experience at City Market. Well, no it was definitely better than City Market.

Meat counter – sausage and pork ribs

I also happened to pick up some pork ribs. They definitely had that great post oak flavor I want. They happen to cut me an end piece (which I DEARLY love) that had some nice hardened bits for me to crunch on. The meat was tender and easily came off the bone. Again though, I wasn’t blown away or anything. They were good but not great. Kind of left me shrugging…

Finally I tasted the jalapeno sausage. YES! Now this was great! Awesome kick to it, wonderful casing that snapped as I crunched into it. Excellent smokiness and texture. Oh YES! I am a glutton for heat (go figure) and this was nice and spicy. So much so that Britt couldn’t even eat her bite. So I did. And everyone else was forced to volunteer their bites to me, also.

Overall, my favorite thing by far was the jalapeno sausage. The brisket that I tasted honestly didn’t even begin to touch my favorite over at JMueller.

Meat counter – brisket

However, the experience that you get at Snow’s is unparalleled. They let us get up into the pit area and snap a ton of pictures. In fact, I’m sure that I’ll be adding more as time goes on and my friends send me the pics they took.

The question you may now be asking is: Will I return? Yes. I will. I want to give it another shot. I want to go out to the pit and say “listen, slice me off a fresh piece of the best brisket you have. Blow my mind.” I believe that Snow’s probably has better brisket than I tasted. Maybe they don’t and the emotion of it all just wants that to be the case.

No matter what, this whole experience should be proof positive that I am the right person to decide who has the best brisket on earth. No matter what happens, no matter how emotional of an experience I have at a bbq joint, I will always be completely objective about the quality and taste of the meats.

Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew

It was 6pm on a Tuesday and I had just realized something: I hadn’t a single bite of barbecue all day. Obviously that wasn’t going to work. And the sad thing was that my favorite joint, JMueller BBQ, was closed.

What’s a guy to do?

I started thinking about my options, then I remembered a name I had heard recently: Stiles Switch. Where had I heard that name? Hmm.

Awesome painted sign outside
Awesome painted sign outside.

While doing research one day, I ran across a forum board somewhere that mentioned some controversy surrounding a recent restaurant opening in Austin. Apparently, the current pit master at Stiles Switch is a former employee of Louie Mueller Barbecue and somewhere along the way he allegedly named dropped his former employer. They got mad and shit themselves. Or sent a letter. I don’t know.

Anyway, I looked up Stiles Switch and saw that they are open until pretty late. So I yelled at Chris (my cousin and co-worker) to get it together and let’s go get some ‘cue.

Stiles Switch is located on North Lamar in the Violet Crown shopping center. In fact, it is located in a famous building. Remember the pool hall from Dazed and Confused? That’s the building it’s located in. Kinda cool, I think.

Their mascot is a pig in a coat, tipping his hat. Good day to you, too, sir. I shall now consume your flesh.

Excellent, peppery brisket.

The exterior is slick, with some nice font work on the signage, big metal doors and tall windows so thou canst behold the wonders of post oak, beef, and beer contained within.

While Chris and I were outside being nosy and taking pictures, Shane Stiles (the owner) came out to see what we were doing and say hello. We chatted for 1.2 seconds before the bbq urge took over and we had to run in and get our fix.

The interior is awesome: plenty of tables, a few high tops, and in the back is the long bar where bbq and brew are obtained. Definitely one of the nicer joints in town, without a doubt.

For this barbecue tasting, we ordered brisket, beef ribs and pork ribs.

These beef ribs freaking rock.

First of all, the brisket was very good. Nice peppery bark, very tender, smokey and a very pretty smoke ring. The fat was sweet and yummy. This is undoubtedly some of the best brisket in town. Very “Mueller-esque”.

The beef ribs were also excellent. They were a little less fatty than others I’ve had, which I actually really liked a lot. They had that nice, peppery bark and tons of beefy flavor. These are not those phony beef ribs you get at second rate joints. These are the real deal.

The pork ribs departed completely from the Louie Mueller style of barbecue. And I gotta say, they were better. Tender, smokey and fall off the bone. Y’all can’t get much better ribs than this in Austin. I highly recommend.

Fall off the bone pork ribs.

Lastly, let’s discuss the sauce. It was kind of a sweeter, Kansas City style sauce but, it was pretty good. I’ll probably go without next time. I tend to prefer a very thin sauce if it’s tomato based, but I really like mustard and vinegar sauces the most. (That may not go over well with the purists here in Texas)

Overall, my experience at Stiles Switch was top notch. If you’re in Austin, it is a must for the barbecue and beer lover.

Next time I go, I’d love to see the smoker and get some face time with Lance Kirkpatrick just to hear about his technique and so on. He obviously knows what he’s doing.

JMueller BBQ

When Britt (my wife) and I moved to Austin this past September we noticed a big blank spot on South First, just a few blocks north of our house. Then a sign came up that said JMueller BBQ. Every time I drove by, I’d pull into the lot and yell “Where the hell is it?!”

Food trailer (left), smoker (right) and tables

Finally I used my internet sleuthing skills to find out JMueller BBQ was slated to open soon. At the time, I wasn’t very familiar with the Mueller name so I did a little research.

John Mueller is the grandson of the legendary Louie Mueller who started Louie Mueller Barbecue up in Taylor, TX. Of course, I’ve been to Louie Mueller, but that’s a story for another day.

One day, I hope to get the full details of John Mueller’s barbecue history, but for now here’s what I know:

Smoker made from 1000 gallon propane tank

John worked at Louie Mueller for 15ish (so I’ve heard) years before coming to Austin to open a joint on Manor (pronounced “may-nor”) in East Austin. That lasted from 2001-2006. On JMueller’s website, it says that the “business shuttered amongst a tornado of controversy” and then John “disappeared”.

I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I can tell you one thing: I must know the story. I’m sure John will tell me one day. Whether he’ll let me share it is something else.

I also know that John employed Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue for a while. He also sold Aaron the smoker from his Manor joint that closed.

Anyway, in early October JMueller BBQ opened for business. That day, I was the second person in line to taste his magical brisket. I was hooked.

I’ve been to JMueller multiple times but I want to write this story/review based on my most recent experience. See, JMueller just changed their hours to Wednesday-Sunday and closed Monday and Tuesday. So Chris, Britt, some other friends and myself decided to get some Sunday ‘cue.

I knew about how many people would be eating with me later, so I placed the order before we got there. How far ahead is a closely guarded secret 🙂

I got 1lb of moist, 1lb of lean, 2 beef ribs, a pork chop, one pork sausage and one beef sausage. When we actually got there later we added potato salad, chipotle slaw and yellow squash.

Brisket with perfect pepper bark & smoke ring

First let’s talk about the brisket. On my Top BBQ page, I say that I won’t declare one place my favorite. That’s bullshit and I’m changing it.

Chris will argue with me about this, but I’m just gonna say it: John Mueller has the best brisket I’ve ever tasted.

His brisket has a pepper bark that is unparalleled and a smoke ring that is just glorious. The only way I can describe the bark is that it is brisket candy. It’s sweet, crunchy, melts the second it hits your mouth, very peppery. It is the definition of perfection.

I know all the old school Central Texas folks and other barbecue eaters may say that Lockhart or elsewhere has the best brisket. They’re wrong. I refuse to believe that their palates are as refined as mine. Granted, I still need to go to Snow’s out in Lexington, TX but if Kreuz, Black’s, Smitty’s, Chisholm Trail, Louie Mueller, Franklin, City Market and others are definitely not as good as JMueller, I can’t imagine that Snow’s will be better.

Beef ribs: no one makes them better

Now let’s talk about the beef rib. Dear. God. You can’t imagine. They were huge, fell off the bone, had John’s signature pepper bark, massive amount of smoke flavor. Just really damn good. This beef rib shames all others. I LOVE it.

Both sausages were perfectly spiced, moist but not oily, excellent smoke. John Mueller makes some great sausages. In fact, they are some of my favorites. The casing pops like a firecracker when you bite into it. It just doesn’t get any better.

The pork chop was moist and smoky and really tasty. In fact, the brisket, beef rib and pork chop are absolutely my favorite things at JMueller. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sausages. But few establishments are capable of producing a perfect, tender pork chop.

Tons of BBQ and sides

Let’s not forget the sauce. Anyone who has ever been to Louie Mueller can see the similarity, but John has taken it to a whole new level. This is definitely my favorite Texas-style sauce. Big chunks of onion, plenty of pepper and spice. Just heavenly.

Finally, we’ve got the sides: mustard potato salad, chipotle coleslaw and yellow squash. All very good, but the squash definitely won. The squash was cheesy and just plain yummy. The squash pieces could have been a little more al dente, but let’s be honest: I wasn’t there for sides. They were requested by others in the group 🙂

If you’re keeping track, you’ll notice there is something missing from my list: pork ribs. There’s a reason for that and I’ll have to get into it another time.

JMueller, to me, is barbecue. Everything about JMueller makes me happy: the location, the trailer set up with all outdoor seating, obviously the food, the employees.

My limited interactions with John have been great. He seems like a “to the point” kind of guy. John tries to move his line as fast as possible which means you won’t have any 2 hour waits here. He also loves his regulars and always sees us off with a “See ya next week!” Jokes on him. I’ll be back in 3 days.

If you are in Austin and have time for just one barbecue joint, it must be JMueller. Nothing else compares. Forget Stubb’s, Iron Works and the like. Go straight to JMueller and never look back.

Check out the rest of my pictures below.

Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q: Lockhart, TX

There are so many places to eat barbecue, it blows the mind. For this reason, it is rare for me to eat at one place when I travel for bbq. The same day that Chris (my cousin/barbecue cohort) and I went to City Market, we decide to stop at Chisholm Trail in Lockhart on the way home.

We had just left the great toxic oil smells of Luling and barely 15 minutes had gone by when we pulled up to Chisholm Trail. We argued for a minute if this was the “real” Chisholm Trail. Of course it was as there isn’t another 🙂

We stepped out of the car and we were immediately welcomed by the scent of post oak smoke. I swear that post oak has smoke has magical powers.

On the inside, Chisholm Trail is fairly simple (as any good bbq joint should be). There is a well defined line with an excellent looking buffet full of tasty looking sides, pickles, onions, peppers and so on. But let’s be honest: I didn’t drive all this way to eat sides that my wife makes 100 times better. I came for ‘cue.

Chris and I stepped up to the counter and placed our order. Like most cutters, the Chisholm Trail cutter started by slicing of the glorious bark and hiding it in a secret drawer. NO NO NO. I hate that more than anything. Why do they do that? I’ll never understand.

We ordered brisket and pork ribs, but no sausage this time. Perhaps that was a mistake…I’ll have to go back I guess 😀

Right in front of where you place your meat order there’s a big crock pot of sauce. The sauce was warm, thick and dark. Very Kansas City looking. We reluctantly scooped some up not expecting much.

The moment we paid we made a mad dash to the closest table to begin tasting.

The brisket lacked a well defined bark, which disappointed the hell out of me. Sure, there was bark present, but it was thin and soft. However, the texture was very nice. It had a good moisture content falling in that middle ground of not too moist and not too dry. But the outstanding quality of this brisket was the smoke flavor. Wow!

Chisholm Trail has really nailed that post oak flavor. It was freaking AMAZING. It’s like they have figured out how to perfectly infuse the post oak smoke into the brisket. This isn’t my most favorite brisket on earth, but it is tops in smoke flavor, easily moving it to my top 5 or 10.

The pork ribs were VERY tasty. They were thick and meaty spare ribs and this type of rib can frequently go wrong. Chisholm Trail’s ribs had been deeply penetrated by smoke and were pink all the way through. I really liked these ribs. A lot.

Finally, let’s talk about the sauce. In Texas, I would not expect a Kansas City style sauce. But I’ll tell you what: this was very good sauce. In fact, after my initial tasting of the meats, I ended up dipping everything in the sauce (which is atypical for me). I’m not gonna write home about this sauce, but I certainly enjoyed it.

Overall, I think Chisholm Trail is a must for your Lockhart trip. While we were eating, there was a steady stream of locals pouring in the door and the drive through. Honestly, Chisholm Trail had the most locals in and out of any other joint in town (at least that I have experienced).

We boxed up our leftovers and got back on the road to head home. I was fat and happy. Two barbecue joints in one will do that.

City Market: Luling, TX

It was 2pm on a gorgeous January Friday. In Central Texas, January can still have days that approach 75°-80°. So, Chris (my cousin, more on him another time) and I decided to skip out on work and get some ‘cue (obviously).

Like any other day, we headed immediately to JMueller on South First. We were greeted by John Mueller and he had a slightly apologetic face. I knew he was out. My heart sank to my feet.

“Where have y’all been? Y’all gotta get here earlier”, John said with a slightly scolding tone. He was right. His bbq is becoming too popular for us to be waiting until 2pm. Damn damn damn.

Chris and I chatted with John long enough to tell him about our recent trip to Taylor to eat at Louie Mueller. More on that later 🙂 (hint: John loved what we had to say.) Then Chris said “Well, I guess we have to go to Lockhart.” I’m not sure if John knew we were serious. But we needed a barbecue fix and by God no place in Austin would do.

So we jumped in Chris’ car, I called my wife and told her our plan (she said we are “gay” about barbecue), and we hit the road.

After about 20 minutes we decided we were going to make the trip to City Market in Luling, then stop at Chisolm Trail in Lockhart. We have been to Kreuz, Black’s and Smitty’s in Lockhart so our baseline for comparison has been established.

When we arrived in Luling (about an hour trip from South Austin) we were greeted by the smell of toxic oil. That smell penetrates the whole town and is frankly disturbing. To say I hate the smell there would be an understatement.

We pulled up to City Market and ran in as fast as we could. Once inside, our senses were taken over by the intoxicating smell of post oak. Oh, how glorious! I wish post oak smoke was a cologne. Bet your ass I’d wear it.

City Market is split into two parts: the back where you get your ‘cue, the front where you get the other stuff. Naturally Chris and I headed to the back where we entered the “IN” door.

The room is small and cramped and smokey and perfect. Brick pits line the wall, a few large men cut meat and everything is smokey as hell.

We ordered brisket, pork ribs and sausage (our standard “tasting” order). Something I don’t understand about barbecue joints is that they cut the bark off the brisket before they slice it. Maybe that’s standard, but when they tried to serve us that we had to correct it!

We requested pieces with the most bark and they were very accommodating, sending us off with basically the most barky pieces you can imagine. We grabbed a couple of onions then they folded it all up in butcher paper and sent us on our way.

Naturally, we sat at the closest possible table. Who has time for walking in a situation like this?! We grabbed a little jar of sauce and began.

First, the brisket, as is custom when doing a tasting. Gorgeous looking, good bark formation, decent smoke ring. Excellent beef flavor, tender and a tad sweet just like you’d expect. However, it lacked that really powerful post oak smoke flavor to the extent that Chris had to go to the back and make sure they actually did use post oak.

If this was the first real brisket you’d ever eaten, I’m guessing you’d fall over with excitement. As a seasoned barbecue eater and considering that City Market occupies a top 5 spot over at Texas Monthly, I was a tad disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it is great brisket; probably one of the 10 or 15 best I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth.

Now the pork rib was up. They were legit looking ribs, definitely finished with a sauce. Moist, easy to pull of the bone. My God! The flavor! I wanted to jump out of my chair and scream! Yes! This is the rib I want to eat. Oh, it was just delicious. Quite possibly one of the two or three best ribs I’ve ever stuck in my mouth. You MUST eat one (or six).

Finally, the sausage. Chris was gushing and wide eyed over the sausage. He was trying to make coherent sentences as he ate it, but he was sausage drunk. I thought the sausage was a tad dry for my taste, but good nonetheless.

We had tasted all of the barbecue and almost simultaneously we looked at the sauce. It was sitting in what appeared to be a former Louisiana Hot Sauce bottle. It was yellowish-orange with black pepper and other spices floating around. Hmm. I don’t typically care about sauce, but we decided to try it.

Holy. Shit. Now THAT is a sauce. I can definitely say that this is the best sauce I’ve ever had. I know, I have promised I won’t proclaim a definitive winner in any category, but so what. This sauce is THE BOMB. I want to bathe in it. I want to eat it on everything, for every meal, forever. This sauce needs to be sold nationally. It needs to be elected President (would definitely do better than Obama). It needs its own tumblr site where it is just poured on things. citymarketsaucepouredonthings.tumblr.com. I can see it now 🙂

Quick recap: City Market, in Luling, has the best sauce, mind blowing pork ribs, solid brisket and decent sausage. If you are a serious barbecue eater you pretty much have to go here. Anyone will enjoy the trip to Luling, just beware the oil smell.

PS Out of curiosity, we walked over to Luling Bar-B-Q just a couple doors down from City Market. This is an establishment listed on the Top 50 by Texas Monthly. Puh-leese. I wouldn’t stick that ‘cue in my mouth if you paid me. Sorry guys, it just looked terrible.