While staying at Palmetto State Park just down the road, we drove into nearby Luling to try the local BBQ at City Market, an eatery that has received lots of favorable reviews from people who know much more about BBQ than I do. By the way, if you do an internet search for City Market, you will probably pull up a site in Houston, not Luling. As we approached town, we even saw a sign that proclaimed Luling the "first stop on the Texas BBQ trail." We were hopeful that the place would live up to its hype, and I think it did.
City Market is downtown, just a door or 2 off highway 183. Cars were everywhere, so I expected a crowd. However, when we walked through the doors, we saw there was plenty of room to sit. Lots of folks just pick up their food then return to work, take it home, or go elsewhere to eat, leaving ample seating inside.
You'll see a little glassed-in room at the back of the main room, and there will probably be a line waiting to get in. Hop in line. Each time that door opens, you get a little smell of BBQ heaven.
Once inside, a smoke-stained sign that is slowly becoming illegible shows what meats are available as well as their prices. We decided to get a pound of brisket and 2 sausage rings. Bread and crackers are provided, and you can order jalapenos at the meat counter as well. We always order 4. I can usually eat only one, but my fire-eater wife can eat a large jar by herself. Be sure you have cash.
Donna had secured a table in the side room while I got the meat. After leaving the meat with her, I went to the front counter where you can purchase drinks, cheese, and any sides. Don't ask for BBQ sauce and don't ask for forks -- they don't provide any; this is a traditional Texas meat market. Slice the meat with the knife and eat with your fingers. You can also pick up a small bottle of hot sauce at the counter.
The brisket was moist and flavorful, with a nice smoke ring to it. The sausage had a good taste, but the casing was a bit chewy, but not overly so. There was not much of a snap to the sausage, either. I used the hot sauce on the sausage, and it had a nice, sweet taste. The sausage was not really hot, but I enjoyed the flavor.
I enjoyed City Market. I would not say it is my favorite old-style Texas BBQ joint, but it certainly is near the top of my list. The prices are reasonable, too. I think it is a must stop on the Texas BBQ Trail.