Prause Meat Market

The second stop on my trip to the Houston BBQ Festival was at Prause Meat Market. This joint lives in the small town of La Grange, TX. La Grange was hoppin’ when I was there; flower market, traffic, tons of small town commerce. It was pretty neat.

Prause was also pretty busy. I waited in line about 20 minutes along with quite a few other people. I later came to find out that there were two funerals and whenever there are funerals, Prause gets busy.

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Moist and lean brisket, sausage and country style pork rib.
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Sausages cooking in the pit. This room smelled heavenly.
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Brick pits built in 1953.
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Cutters working hard. There was a decent sized line during my visit.

Actually, I had the chance to spend a minute with the owner and found out some interesting stories. Apparently his grandfather started another BBQ joint and during the depression ran it on credit. That business eventually failed. Then in 1953 his father and uncle, who had just returned from the war, started Prause Meat Market at the current location. They’ve been using the same sausage recipe for generations, but the exact style originates from 1953.

While in line, I got to snoop on the folks in front of me to see what they were ordering. Most people were ordering sausage. Once again, a gentlemen in front of me had a huge sausage order. I believe his was 25 links and 3lbs of brisket.

When it was my turn, I got the standard 1 slice of lean, 1 slice of moist, and 1 sausage. Prause doesn’t cook pork ribs, but they do make country style ribs so I ordered them, too.

The first bite I had was the lean brisket.  It was really dry, so I had to put it down. A smart pit boss once told me that you always cook brisket for the lean.

Next up was the moist brisket. The moist had great flavor and lots of smoke, but the texture just wasn’t there for me. Also, the fat needed a bit more rendering. With a few tweaks this brisket could be really great. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do it for me.

I knew that I had to have that sausage. Folks, the half pork, half beef sausage was great. Excellent smoke flavor, perfect amount of juice explosion when you bite into it. What caught my attention was the casing. I kid you not, it was the best casing of any sausage ever. When it popped it made this glorious sound and had the perfect texture. I loved it.

The only thing I really wanted to see more of was black pepper. That would have added a depth to the flavor and instantly positioned this sausage among my favorites.

The country style pork rib was not my cup of tea. It was tough and generally flavorless. Honestly, I think they should just ditch them and focus more on the brisket or consider adding in pork ribs.

I definitely think Prause Meat Market should be on every BBQ aficionado’s list. My recommendation would be to go light on the brisket and focus on the sausage. In fact, you may just want to order all sausage because of how great it is.


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