The ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip

Here in Texas, nothing excites us more than the heavenly smell of meat cooking over an open pit and there is no sound more angelic than the crinkle of butcher paper wrapped around a piping hot brisket just waiting to be devoured. To fuel your love for barbecue, we’ve created the ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip that will take you through some delicious Texas barbecue joints. So wear your stretchy pants and get ready for one epic food coma as you eat your way through this meaty challenge.

Here’s the map

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DESTINATION 1: Louie Mueller Barbecue- Taylor, TX

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The first stop on your trip is a Texas barbecue icon right off Main Street in Taylor that’s been serving perfectly moist pepper-crusted brisket and beef ribs that are melt-in-your-mouth tender (and the size of your head) since 1949, Louie Mueller Barbecue. This barbecue institution is a must-stop for every Texan. Louie Mueller’s is a no frills joint, just smokey barbecue goodness served on butcher paper…which is the way it should be. And if you must use sauce (although you don’t really need it here) they’ve got multiple sauces to choose from.

DESTINATION 2: Southside Market & Barbeque – Elgin, TX

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Picture by Southside Market & Barbeque

After you’ve gotten your fill of moist brisket and dino-sized ribs, follow Highway 95 south to Elgin, where you’ll find one of the oldest barbecue joints in Texas: Southside Market & Barbeque. This local institution began as a meat market in 1882 that delivered its delicious meats all over town.  After owner William J. Moon spent most of his time traveling miles to deliver meat door-to-door, he opened a storefront where his leftovers and specialty “hot guts” spicy sausage links were served to customers at the end of the day. More than a century later, people are still trekking to this joint for a taste of their time-honored ‘cue, which over the years has grown into a full-scale restaurant with a menu that includes classics like the “1882 Sausage” and brisket, as well as unique items like lamb ribs and pork steak.

DESTINATION 3: Black’s Barbecue – Lockhart, TX

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After your feast in Elgin, you’re on to Lockhart, the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” as named by the Texas Legislature in 1999. Follow Highway 130 south to Highway 183 where you’ll find your next three destinations, the first of which is Black’s Barbecue. Opened in 1932, Black’s was one of the first joints in town to serve brisket; 84 years and four generations later, the family is still carrying on the tradition of providing customers with this meaty perfection today. Combine that tender brisket with an extensive menu of other meats (including a fantastic jalapeno cheese sausage) and good ol’ Southern hospitality, and you’ll feel like you’re a part of the Black family, too.

DESTINATION 4: Kreuz Market – Lockhart, TX

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Feeling stuffed? Don’t worry, your next stop is only a few blocks down the road at Kreuz Market. At Kreuz (pronounced “Krites”), meat has been king since it opened in 1900, as showcased by the restaurant’s rules of “no barbecue sauce” and “no forks.” But just one bite into their juicy salt-and-pepper rubbed brisket or hand-filled and tied sausage links, and you won’t mind those rules (or your greasy hands) one bit. In honoring owner Charles Kreuz Sr.’s German heritage, sides include hot potato salad and sauerkraut.

DESTINATION 5: Smitty’s Market – Lockhart, TX

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Still in Lockhart, your next stop is Smitty’s Market, a barbecue dream for every Texan that all started with a little family feud between the owners of Kreuz Market and their sister, Nina, who owned the building. The brothers eventually moved Kreuz down the street and Nina opened Smitty’s Market in her building in 1999. The thing to get here is the fatty brisket and the sausage which has just the right amount of juiciness. And for a twist on your normal barbecue habits, pair your meat with the fresh avocados served on the side.

DESTINATION 6: Luling City Market – Luling, TX

city3By now, your pants are no doubt feeling tighter and you’re probably almost on your way to a meat-induced slumber, but you’ve only got one more destination. Follow Highway 183 south all the way to Luling, where your final stop is the Luling City Market.  You order your meats in the same room where it’s cooking on the pit — a tradition, along with the rule of “no forks,” that’s been around since it first opened 50 years ago. And to compliment the already fantastic meat is the sauce…oh, the glorious sauce! Served in little bottles on each table, it’s praised by Texans near and far, and is quite addictive. Just remember, you can’t take it with you…but you can buy your own bottle.

FINALLY, give yourself a high-five, and take that much-needed nap. You have completed the ULTIMATE BBQ Belt Road Trip!