It’s been awhile, I know. Things have been quite busy with reading books, studying for the GRE, swing dancing, and the usual musings of life.
The fam and I decided to venture beyond Austin’s city limits and into the country. It’s SXSW season for those of you who don’t know and if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ve learned to slightly despise this festival as it jams up the roads, exposed the usual hiding spots to the world, and worse: makes people want to move to ATX (please don’t for the sake of your health. Allergies are not fun, believe me). Now that my venting is out of the way, back to the story. The fam decided to venture to Lockhart, Texas.
If your mission is to explore Lockhart beyond The OG Black’s Barbecue (more on that later), then don’t come on Sundays. Pretty much everything is closed down. We managed to hit up two antique shops and Chaparral, the local coffee shop.
The antique shops had some pretty solid finds. One had a never ending supply of books that were more than country tales and Holy Bibles, i.e. 1900 edition of Zadig by Voltaire, and a collection of works by Alexandre Dumas. The second antique shop has a never ending supply of vinyls, i.e. Louis Armstrong, Beach Boys, and Tom Jones from back in the day. Who knew these folks had diverse tastes? I kid.
The coffee shop. Chaparral, which was in the main plaza, is Lockhart’s attempt to be hipster. They sorta got it, though I do question the music selection (Crowded House, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”).
I got a 12 oz. Chapparal chocolate, which is closer to a Mexican hot chocolate (hints of cinnamon and other spices) than the traditional milk and chocolate. I appreciate the barista’s friendly service as well art skills with the foam, as seen below. The overall taste, however, was a smidge underwhelming. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but when you’ve spoiled yourself with Mozart’s, Joe’s Coffee, Cafe Medici, Cafe Aragona, Hideout, and Wanderlust, you’ve grown to be a bit of a coffee/hot coco snob.
My sister had an iced coffee. She threw it out after five sips. When I asked her how it was, she simply said, “it was okay,” which in her language either means a) it was missing something or b) it was downright terrible. Based on the Wanderlust style of iced coffee, the barista at Chaparral forgot to really mix the ice with the coffee by playing the game of hot potato with the cup and canister, so let’s stick with choice A to give the benefit of doubt.
Ok, so the big one: Black’s Barbecue. Black’s is a family owned BBQ joint that’s been around since 1932. They have the original location in Lockhart, along with a newer location in Austin, TX on Guadalupe. The line is much like Franklin’s: out the door and around a corner. The secret to beating the line is by ordering ahead of time and picking up the food. We ordered brisket, turkey, sausage, beef ribs, pinto beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy. We didn’t go too crazy in case we didn’t like it.
What I liked was the condiments bar where you can get as much bread, pickles, onions, and BBQ sauce as you want to go. No need to buy a bottle or a whole package like you do elsewhere (I’m eyeing you Rudy’s). The BBQ sauce had a sweet taste to it. The mashed potatoes was made fresh, and is good enough to eat without gravy (which the cashier forgot to add). The pinto beans had a smokey flavor to it. The turkey was not too dry and had the right amount of spices. The brisket was alright, though I should have asked for lean meat (I know, the horror!). The beef ribs was, quite honestly, a disaster. If you trained your stomach to not eat extremely fatty foods on steroids, don’t get this dish because it will come back to haunt you. Same goes for the sausage. One bite and you can taste your mouth oozing in oily grease. Gross. I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a riot out on the front porch when I say this: Black’s BBQ was meh. Would I travel all the way to Lockhart for it? No thank you. Would I go to the location in Austin? Maybe, for the sake the beans and taters. Call me a snob. My stomach and I don’t mind.
Black’s Barbecue is located at 215 N Main St, Lockhart, TX 78644 and 3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705.
Chaparral Coffee is located at 106 E Market St, Lockhart, TX 78644.