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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Lunch Report: Luling BBQ...

This is a continuation of our trip to Buc-ee's in Luling, TX reported here.I like to have a good idea of where we are planning to go when we set out on one of our little trips, and as you might have gathered from reading past reports, I tend to take eating into a big consideration in the plan. When I first suggested we take the drive to Luling, I thought we would zip into Buc-ee's check it out, buy a few souvenirs, then head back toward Sequin and New Braunfels so as to have lunch at the Clear Springs Catfish Restaurant on Hiway 46. But when we didn't even leave our house until a little after 11am, it was pretty clear that we would need to obtain vittles closer to Luling.

We thought of grabbing something to eat in Buc-ee's, what with the Pulled Pork Sandwiches and deli-like atmosphere seeming to be a huge hit with the never-ending stream of people, seemingly all needing gas and all hungry at the same time. But there wasn't really a place to sit down and take pictures of my food, a requirement if you are obsessive about providing historical documentation your lunch like I am. So, we consulted Garmin and sure enough, just a few miles up the road on Hiway 90 was Luling BBQ.
But before you can eat, you have to see the local land marks. Though Luling is known for being involved in the oil business, (there is even a museum in town), they seem to currently be known for their watermelons. Or at least the Watermelon water tank.Oh, and there is a big chicken on the side of the road. Attention residents of Luling: It is January. You may now place Santa back in the attic until next year. I just love these little oddities that dot the Texas landscape in just about every small town we visit. They say something very welcoming about the communities; If you move here, you won't have to worry about being the weird family - we got plenty here already. And I like that.We pulled onto Davis Street and found a parking spot just across the street from Luling BBQ. There seemed to be some sort of flea market situation happening and interestingly enough, the convention of Mopar cars we had seen at Buc-ee's had pulled into the same area to show their nice rides. But we were hungry - and as soon as we opened the doors of the truck, we could smell the goodness in the air.In San Antonio, we love the idea of the "hole-in-the-wall" as a place to eat. I'm not so sure the outside fits the description, but once inside, you get the distinct impression that these folks are more concerned about the eats and less concerned about how spiffy the place looks. Which is fine by the way. It wasn't dirty or anything like that, just quaint. Who needs matching restroom doors anyway?We didn't even bother to check out the menu, instead my wife asked the kind lady what sort of plate deal they had, and we opted to go with the small plates consisting of one meat and two sides. We wanted to try everything, so she got chicken, potato salad and mac & cheese.I got the brisket, green beans, and some sort of broccoli salad. Then we just sampled from one another's plates.

I read a review written by some barbecue aficionado from several years back about this place, and he wasn't dismissive of the quality, but seemed put off by small portions and that they hadn't trimmed all the fat from his brisket. Whatever. We both ate for under $12 and everything - everything was lip-smacking good.

My wife has this thing about meats being able to stand on their own flavor and the seasoning that they were cooked with. To her, if you add some sort of barbecue sauce, it is an indication that the meat wasn't prepared in a tasty enough fashion. Though I agree with her reasoning, I like the sauce.

Her chicken was so tender and flavorful, it would have been offensive to smother it in sauce. The brisket was extremely tasty and though, I'm sure I've experienced just as good or possibly better, it was certainly a delightful taste; one I would easily recommend. I did add a little of the house sauce to it, just because that's how I like it. The plastic squeeze bottle on the table had a taped on label that identified it as BBQ Sauce, so I don't know if it was something they made locally or if it was as my wife suggested, Hunts. Either way, I was pleased.

On to the sides. The potato salad was nice and creamy and had a really good taste. The green beans were just your standard fare with no real hint of anything fancy, but I'm a lover of green beans just out of the can, so I was pretty pleased with them. The mac & cheese was also standard but well cooked and cheesy.

The important thing was the broccoli salad. I'm not sure how they made it, but what it tasted to me like was a recipe for Cole Slaw, but replaced the cabbage with the cut up pieces of broccoli. I'm here to tell you, it was fantastic!

I should also mention the sweet tea. I ordinarily order my tea unsweetened (just cause that's how I like it) but for some reason, I filled my cup with the sweet tea. No telling if it was some house blend or if it came directly from HEB, but it was a fine treat for sure. After lunch, I refilled my cup and sipped it all the way back to San Antonio. Make no mistake, Luling BBQ gets the full Tasty Treat accolades and we'd be happy to recommend it to others. My wife reserves a special "Eeee-Yuck" for places she doesn't like, but three bites into her lunch, she was in full "Eeee-Yum" mode. So there you go.You should know that Luling has more to offer than just the one diner. In fact, there are a few other places we would be glad to try out. I'm assuming that Honey-Buns Inc. is a place to get some pastries, but you never know.I really enjoyed the old-style buildings that made up Davis Street along the railroad tracks. I could see someone picking a place to film a movie here.

And perhaps if we had more time, we could have stopped into Monte's for a cold one. Either way, Luling makes a nice day trip and isn't too far from San Antonio.

Where did you go this weekend? I'd love to hear about your small town adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Next time you're in Luling you should go to City market on E. Davis St. It's the best BBQ in Texas; you order it from the pit and eat it off of parchment paper with your hands (they don't have forks).

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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