Texas BBQ Trail Golf Weekend
Taylor to Elgin to Luling to Lockhart (near Austin), TX
From the Trail's website, and Legends Of Texas Barbeque Cookbook by Robb Walsh:
As home of the state's most serious barbeque competition, the Taylor International Barbeque Cook-Off , Taylor is a barbeque capital in its own right. Two of the state's most historic barbeque joints lie within a couple blocks of each other in the city's downtown shopping district. The old center of Taylor has been used as a film set and looks like a time capsule from the '50's.
Located in the oldest building in downtown Taylor, Taylor Cafe (101 N. Main in the red tin building, 7a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week) has been serving slow cooked meats in a honky-tonk atmosphere for more than 50 years. A half century of practice has perfected the meats Vencil Mares serves customers today. A staple of most Taylor family gatherings and internationally famous, Taylor Cafe serves up brisket, sausage, turkey sausage, chicken, ribs, potato salad, beans and tea flavored with lemon. To experience the restaurant and then taste the food, there's none better.
Also in Taylor, try Louie Mueller Barbeque (206 W 2nd St, 512-352-6206). Louie's was established in the mid-1940's in a small tin shed in the alley behind Louie Mueller's Complete Food Store. A few years later, Louie opened his second location in south Taylor to accommodate the cotton pickers and farmers who came to town looking for something to eat when they got off work. He moved to the present location in 1959. The place looks different since they added the new dining room. It was always dark and smoky inside, now their big windows make the place positively cheerful. Mueller's is consistently rated one of the top barbeque restaurants in the state. The brisket is excellent, and so are the pork ribs. If you want to try beef ribs, come early on Saturday. Louie Mueller's has side dishes and sauces as well.
Named the "Sausage Capital of Texas" by the 1995 Texas legistlature, this little farm town is serious about sausage. Elgin sausage, or "Elgin hot guts" as the old-timers called it, originated at Southside Market, whose original location in downtown Elgin opened in 1886. Southside Market owner Ernest Bracewell Sr., a former Armour meat salesman, bought the business in 1968. Because the law forbids a company from trademarking a place name, Southside Market was unable to protect the name "Elgin Sausage," and as a result, dozens of different companies have sprung up over the years in Elgin, each selling its own version of Elgin sausage. Southside Market is still the leading producer, with an output of around a million pounds a year. Its logo shows the state of Texas outlined in sausage. If you stretched out a million pounds of sausage, it would actually be enough to accomplish this feat, I'm told. In the summer, when the barbeque season is in full swing, Bryan Bracewell, a grandson of the owner and chief of sausage production, guesses that altogether the sausage makers in the town of Elgin turn out around 100,000 pounds of sausage a week. "That would be a conservative estimate," says Bryant.
Founded in 1882, Southside Market & BBQ, Inc. has stood the test of time and has been a mainstay in the Elgin community. Ernest Bracewell took over the business in 1968 when he brought his family to Elgin from San Antonio. Since then, he has made the phrase "Elgin Hot Sausage" famous throughout BBQ folklore. Continued quality and consistency with the help of his wife, Adrene, and son, Billy, has contributed to this. Now, three generations of Bracewells work to bring you the original Elgin Hot Sausage that has been perfected over the years but not changed to compromise the quality of real Texas BBQ. You can buy your meal by the pound and eat it on butcher paper, or order a plate lunch! Just don't forget the fixins, which include: pinto beans, potato salad, pickles, jalapenos, onions, bread and crackers and, of course, that famous homemade hot sauce and barbeque sauce! Don't forget to enjoy the Bluebell ice cream. You can also purchase your meat fresh at the meat market, or already BBQ'd. The whole Bracewell family welcomes you to sample a little piece of Texas history. Enjoy!
Located just off the main intersection in downtown Luling, this year-round hot spot for both tourists and locals is known throughout Texas borders and beyond. You won't find any forks or plates in this historic place, but a trip through the back room with the pits and a friendly crew will provide you with meat so tender you won't even have to chew. Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed Tuesdays.
Meyer's Elgin Smokehouses' roots are naturally, in the sausage making business. For 4 generations, the Meyer family has been turning out their amazing sausage based on recipes brought over from Germany by great-grandfather Henry Meyer. At Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, high-tech meets real Texas BBQ and the combination is BBQ heaven. Meyer's uses a process called vacuum tumbling. The meat is placed in a stainless steel drum. Spices and water are added and vacuum is pulled inside the container. The drum is then slowly rotated to lift and drop the meat to tenderize. At the same time, due to the vacuum, the spices are pulled into the meat, evenly seasoning the ribs, brisket, chicken or turkey breast throughout the meat, not just on the outside. The result is the most consistently juicy, tender and flavorful BBQ you have ever experienced. So stop by Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse at 188 Hwy. 290 Elgin, TX. 78621 and see why they were named one of the top 14 BBQs in the state of Texas in 2003 by Southern Living Magazine . www.MeyersElginSausage.com
Crosstown BBQ (211 Central Ave, 512-281-5594). With the big and shiny new sausage emporiums right out on Highway 290, many barbeque hounds miss out on this funky gem nestled in the center of town. It's a dark and seedy little dive--just what a Texas barbeque joint is supposed to look like. Crosstown makes their own all-beef sausage (this is Elgin, after all). But it's their greasy mutton, tender brisket, and chewy pork ribs that are the real attraction.
Where To Stay & Play: It might be a bit of a daily culture shock to wake up at a Hyatt and play an early morning round at a top notch course, then scour divey barbeque joints for lunch (Tip: Smaller but great barbeque joints typically start serving early, and often run out of meat by just after lunch time if they're worth their salt, so book an early tee time that will allow you arrive at your chosen BBQ joint around 11AM to make sure you're not disappointed. Some of the bigger places make enough meat to serve all day, so call ahead to be sure--assuming they have a phone).
T&L Golf loves nearby Wolfdancer Golf Club (Cedar Creek, 4-1/2 stars), secluded in pineland a short drive from Austin, and the centerpiece of the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa . The course navigates two distinct types of terrain: high meadows above the Colorado River and sleepy pecan groves along its steep muddy banks. The first twelve holes sweep through the open hills, exposed to a frisky Texas breeze that can mean the difference between hitting a six-iron or a sand wedge. From there, the layout plunges into a valley, where errant drives ricochet among the trees. Most of all, Wolfdancer offers something that few other courses so close to an urban area manage to achieve: serenity. The only sound you hear is the wind whishing through the pine needles and pecan leaves. Architect: Arthur Hills, 2006. Yardage: 7,205. Par: 72. Slope: 137. Greens Fees: ~$89-$165. Contact: 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines; 512-308-1234, www.lostpines.hyatt.com
For a second round near Elgin, head west for ColoVista Country Club ( www.colovista.com ) in Bastrop, thirty miles east of Austin. It features a pine-draped back nine and a majestic vista of the Colorado River at the par-three fifteenth. [ T&L Golf ]
During the Spring 1999 session of the Texas legislature, the state House of Representatives approved a resolution naming Lockhart the "Barbeque Capital of Texas." Three of the town's barbeque joints were lauded in Texas Monthly's 1997 barbeque survey, and now there's a fourth one: the enormous new location of Kruez Market. These barbeque joints draw customers from a hundred miles around.
Kreuz Market (pronounced "Krites", 619 N Colorado St, 512-398-2361). For many years, Kreuz was called the best barbeque joint in the state by magazines, newspapers, and barbeque writers. Their smoked meats are still the finest you may ever taste, but since their move to the new location they have lost some of the tradition that made the experience so impressive. The new location is not a meat market, but it continues in the meat market tradition. The beef, sausage, and pork are served on brown butcher paper without barbeque sauce. In a bow to modern times, however, a side dish of beans is now being offered.
Black's BBQ Located in downtown Lockhart is Texas' oldest major barbecue restaurant continuously owned by the same family - since 1932. "We smoke our meats over hardwood for hours to create a flavor that is enjoyed by our fine customers throughout the United States. Some of our accolades include: Gourmet - "the best BBQ in the heart of Texas, and therefore the best on earth". Travel Holiday - one of their 25 Great American Trips is a visit to Black's BBQ. Texas Journey - "the sausage is the best...". Business Week - "the tastiest slow-smoked brisket...". Money - "puts the rest of the regions hot links to shame". Come try us yourself and you be the judge. We will even provide you a fork, plate, and various side orders to compliment your barbeque." www.BlacksBBQ.com
Chisholm Trail Lockhart Bar-B-Q & Hot Sausage is located at 1323 S. Colorado and started operations in 1978. Chisholm Trail serves barbecue brisket, fajitas, beef and pork ribs, pork chops, chicken, ham, turkey and their own recipe sausage. In a town where sides can be few and far between, Chisholm Trail BBQ has a large cafeteria style hot food bar including pinto beans, green beans, fried okra and squash and salad bar with traditional cole slaw, potato salad plus numerous special salads. Fried Catfish (M-W-F) and hand breaded Chicken Fried Steak (T-TH) are the weekly specials. Desserts include homemade Peach Cobbler with soft ice cream. All barbecue is sold by the pound, wrapped in butcher paper, by the plate with 3 sides or as a family meal. Open 7 days a week. 8 am - 8 pm.
The local's favorite, Nina Schmidt Sells established Smitty's Market in 1999 in the building that housed her father's Kreuz Market for more than 50 years. The market sits in the same location where barbecue has been sold in Lockhart since the turn of the last century. According to Texas Monthly Magazine , Smitty's may be the best barbecue in Texas and by their count at least in the top five barbecue restaurants in the state. Sit down to smoked meats from pits that have been seasoned for decades. Brisket, pork chops and sausage are among the daily fare and pork ribs make Saturday and Sunday special. Potato salad, slaw, beans, avocado, onion, cheese and jalapenos are also on the menu. Wash it down with an ice cold Shiner Bock, RC, or Big Red. Located at 208 South Commerce just off Hwy 183 in Lockhart. (512-398-9344).
Where To Play: Loosen your belt for the 15 minute drive over to Plum Creek GC (www.plumcreekgolf.com) in Kyle. This flat layout has greens surrounded by mounds, approach shots over ponds and rock walls, and prime time greens fees are just $44.
See also: Austin BBQ joints listed on Fat Guy's Barton Creek GR page