I believe barbecue is all about the meat, and that meat is brisket. Sauce shouldn’t be necessary, it just hides the taste of good barbecue.
I’ve had Franklin Barbecue in Austin and it is amazing. Technically perfect, even. But I find Black’s brisket more flavorful.
Last month I shared a trick to avoid the lines if you make the trip from Austin out to Lockhart and drop in on Black’s, which is the clear winner of the four barbecue places in that famous barbecue town.
Austin-area barbecue has to be the most densely competitive enclave in the world, and that makes nearly all of it excellent. ‘Bad’ barbecue for the region is still ‘good’ in some objective sense, or at least relative to what you’ll find in most places.
There was a lot of excitement about “Black’s” opening in Austin proper. It wasn’t the same Black’s as in Lockhart, exactly, it was a family member and there was a bitter squabble over it and use of the name. It debuted as “Terry Black’s” and it’s good by world standard, but not great and certainly not Black’s.
Likely out of spite or concern that people would think that was Black’s, the family opened their own Austin outpost out past UT Austin at 31st and Guadalupe.
Unlike the original Black’s, there’s no separation between filling your plate with sides and ordering meat. A limited amount of sides are behind the counter and you order what you want there.
There’s not even a huge space for queuing. That’s fine, when I went there was no line at all. It was on the late side for lunch (pro tip: barbecue is usually best right after open, the later in the day you go you can expect it won’t be as good) but I was still surprised to see only a few people inside.
There’s both indoor and outdoor seating.
The key thing to know is that this is the same barbecue as Black’s in Lockhart. They drive the meat out from the Lockhart pit. And it is good, great even.
The brisket was moist, the fat and meat complemented each other perfectly and the ends perfectly done. The pork ribs were juicy and both sweet and salty and fell off the bone easily. They were mostly meat not just fat. The jalapeno cheddar sausage was perfect, as always.
If you are in Austin, there’s really no longer a reason to drive to Lockhart.
- Black’s is the best in Lockhart
- The meat at Black’s in Austin is the same as in Lockhart
I’d say this is a big win. And factoring in not facing any line at all, I’d say this is a great time to go.