Vying for the crown of best barbecue in Texas (and therefore the world) is Black’s Barbecue (215 N. Main St., 512/398-2712, www.blacksbbq.com , 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–8:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat., $8–20). This is the place to go for time-honored, perfectly smoked, mouth-watering barbecue. There are no pretensions here—no reason to be intimidated by lack of barbecue knowledge or inability to calculate what a half-pound of meat translates to on the plate.
And there are plates at Black’s (as opposed to butcher paper on a tray ). There are sides, sauce, and silverware, too.
Of course the meat is the main draw, as it’s been since 1932. Go directly for the pork—ribs, chops, and loins. They’re all fantastic, with the hardwood smoke perfectly accentuating the succulent flavor accented by the basic yet effective salt-and-pepper dry rub. Equal in quality is the sausage, available in a flavorful beef-and-pork combo, garlic blend, and spicy jalapeño version.
Most barbecue joints aren’t known for their ambiance, and Black’s is no exception, but the crookedly hung black-and-white photos of bygone high school football teams and the longhorns and antlers looming above them lend a touch of rural charm.
The sign outside Black’s boasts “8 days a week,” a reference to the seemingly endless amount of time restaurant staff prepare and dole out their delicious fare (and the fact Black’s is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas). Since this is some of the best barbecue available anywhere, it’s well worth the extra effort.