Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Eats -- Southside Market, Elgin, Texas

Recently, we traveled from San Angelo to Conroe. If you view a map, there is really no direct route for that trip. And that can be a good thing, for it gave me an excuse to pass through Elgin, Texas.

I spent my career as an educator. In other words, I moved a lot and made very little money. My father before me was an educator. In other words, as I was growing up we moved a lot and Dad didn't make much money. As a result, I really don't have a hometown as many people do, but I did get to see a good part of Texas, and I have a lot of experiences as a result.

During my 4th and 5th grade years, Dad was superintendent of schools in Elgin, Texas, which is located about 24 miles east of Austin on U.S. 290. While there, we rented a house from a lady named Stach, who lived next door to us -- or rather, we lived next door to her. We lived in the poor house while she lived in the big house.

Our house in Elgin, Texas, from 1966-68
At that time, Mrs. Stach was a widow, and she controlled her husband's interest in Southside Market, a BBQ institution in Elgin. As kids, my friends and I would peddle our bicycles downtown, cross the railroad to the southside of the tracks (hence the name, "Southside" Market), and enjoy the hot sausage. We'd order the hot sausage, crackers, cheese, and some ice cold RC Cola on summer days and enjoy the eats.

Over the years, Southside Market has changed owners a time or two or three and has moved from its old downtown location out to Highway 290. It's a big place. Southside Market today bills itself as the oldest BBQ joint in Texas, and claims to have been founded in 1882. There are many travelers on Highway 290 who make it a point to stop at this "BBQ joint" to enjoy the good eats there everytime they pass through Elgin.

When I'm hungry for BBQ, I'm hungry for BBQ. I don't care about potato salad, cole slaw, beans and other sides -- I want smoked meat. So when Donna and I passed through recently, we bellied up to the counter and ordered old style: one-fourth pound sliced brisket, one-fourth pound traditional hot sausage, one-fourth pound jalapeno-cheese sausage, and cheese, all served on butcher paper -- no plates. Crackers these days are complimentary. We doused the sausage with the hot sauce provided at the tables and dined in style. We were stuffed, all for about $11.

Are you hungry yet?

If you've never tried Southside Market, visit the link provided in this post and start making plans. You won't be sorry!

I'm already planning my next trip through Elgin. Gosh, I love Texas!

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