About Town: Austin
Terry Black's Barbecue
Sometimes you don't want to wait hours for your barbecue. You don't want to fight for a seat at a rickety picnic table under the blistering hot sun. Sometimes you don't want to drive an hour for your barbecue. You want it right THEN. Or at least reasonably close to THEN.
Sometimes you just want to meet your favorite food loving friends for barbecue in a fairly central location, with parking, maybe a patio, a few cold ones-- and you don't want to spend a vacation day or a month's pay to do so.
You're going to like Terry Black's Barbecue for all of those reasons.
Black's Barbecue, in Lockhart (find them among the best barbecue we found east of Austin in the 2015 #ATXBestEats: On the Outskirts of Town The Legendary Barbecue Scene East of Austin). "Born and raised in Lockhart, Texas, Terry Black passed down generations of barbecue knowledge learned from his experience in the Lockhart BBQ scene. His twin sons Michael and Mark Black bring their very own style of central Texas BBQ from Lockhart to Terry Black's Barbecue in Austin and now to you and your family to enjoy!" their website proudly boasts, and after my visit, as the affable Mark Black sat and chatted with me about barbecue in general, and my favorites, specifically, I could see that Terry Black's commitment to quality and service is being enthusiastically carried on by his proud and determined sons.
Of and around the building, itself, which has been home to several past Austin restaurants, you might just find a parking spot-- no small detail in this rapidly growing city and in short supply among neighboring businesses. The pit, where the magic happens, is in the rear of the lot. You'll find a welcoming open-air patio from which to watch passing cars and foot traffic along bustling Barton Springs road, directly across from the Palmer Events Center. The dining area is spacious, and heavily accessorized by all of the proper Texas iconography. You'll get a great big welcome from the friendly and efficient hosts and counter staff, ready to share your enthusiasm for Lone Star favorites-- brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs, sausage, turkey, and more. You might even feel comfortable bringing your vegetarian friends along, because they offer an assortment of sides that will keep them eating (while you hide your Tyrannosaurus Rex-sized beef rib from their delicate glance).
I was generously offered one of every side, and Mark Black prepared a sampling of meat including house-made jalapeno cheese sausage, turkey, sliced brisket-- both 'moist', that fattier cut of the brisket that Texans just love, and lean, which while healthier, can often run a little tough on the teeth, and a thickly pepper-crusted pork rib. I'd have loved to sample the beef rib, but these beef ribs are hardly a sampling size, at around a pound a piece. As is standard, you'll find complimentary sliced dill pickles and onions, and sliced white bread just past the cashier, along with iced tea, both sweet and unsweetened, water and soft drink dispenser. You'll have passed a nice selection of iced local and domestic beers as you lined up for your meal. And desserts-- pecan pie, banana pudding, and peach cobbler are offered with the sides, and ice cream, also just past the cashier.
Terry Black's Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11am–9pm, or until the barbecue runs out.
A note from the website:
We occasionally sell out of some or all meat items. The pits are loaded up each morning with briskets for the next day and smoked 14 to 16 hours, soon after they come off the beef ribs, pork ribs, turkeys, then sausage go on. Then it starts all over.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Terry Black's Barbecue by its marketing team, and I was fed generously, on the house.