Luling City Market BBQ, Luling TX
For years, while living in San Marcos, Luling was my respite during my journey back home to Houston. Its wafting smell of natural gas welcomes you as does the watermelon painted water tower off in the distance. During those years it was merely a gas stop on the way back home, or a short cut to the I-10 highway. 160 miles from Luling to Houston.
BBQ has seemingly always been in Luling. Ironically, I noticed Luling barbecue off of Richmond street in Houston long before I made my first stop in the oil and gas town. There are two different barbecue locations in Luling. On the same street, in fact, two doors down; only thing separating them is a busy street. Different in location, different in style and different in business. Luling City Market is where I visit most and also the subject of this entry. But try both and let us know what you think!
The permeating smell of gas is quickly replaced by delicious smoke that hits your face right before you pull open the door of City Market. The front is open with plenty of tables and booths and there is a counter to the right with your sides and drinks. The hidden treasure is in the back of the building. Enter stage right and be mindful of the sign that reads, “Please keep door closed”. Don’t want any of the essence escaping too far. The meat counter doesn’t have a lot of room, so be prepared to wait in line, but know it’s well worth it.
The meat counter sits in front of the belly-high wood block for slicing meats and sausage, and just behind the block are the large smokers. The menu is to the right, covered with years of smoke, and no, that’s not an outdated menu; that’s what the current prices are. Almost unchanged for years, and one of the best deals in BBQ you’re going to find. I ordered 1/4 lb. of brisket, sausage link, jalapeno, beans, and a Lone Star beer for all under $10. Grab your butcher paper plate and head to your table.
City Market keeps it simple, and that’s what works best for this blue-collar town. The tourist craze hasn’t completely taken over, so appreciate the low prices while you can. I always drive home with the salty, smoky fragrance lingering on my fingertips and that makes me a happy man.
Things to know:
- There is sauce, but you won’t need it.
- Keep the door closed!
- It’s cash only, but there is an ATM.
- Working class town, so lunch time is BUSY. Be prepared to wait.
Other things around town:
Luling has a summertime festival in June called THUMP that is another fun slice of Americana. The watermelon festival celebrates the agriculture community with plenty to see and do including, carnival, seed spitting contests, watermelon auction and more. Find out more about Thump on its website.
There is also a great antique store that is in the old Stanley Theater building. Plenty of booths that change often, so go eat and take time to walk around searching for some goodies. Operating hours located here.