Friday, January 28, 2011

City Market (Schulenburg)

109 Kessler Ave

Schulenburg, TX 78956


Open M-F 8-5:30, Sat 8-2

Update: Rarely do I find reason to increase a joint's rating by two stars, but I had a feeling on the last visit that they weren't showing off their best. I learned why on this visit. On that first trip I ordered at the counter, and they were out of nearly everything. This trip I discovered the pits. You see, the lunch hour is their rush period, and ordering is done at the pit to be sliced by the pitmasters. What I had previously eaten was just the leftover scraps that they keep at the counter. On this visit, I got the cream of the crop straight from the pit.

During lunch, you can pick your meat directly out of the pit, and give instructions to the deft pitmasters on how you want yours cut. We ordered some sliced brisket from the middle, so we could get some flat and point. We then added some ribs and a house made hot dog to top it off. Orders are then taken to the counter inside to settle the bill.

The hot dog may have been house made, but microwaving it to order wasn't what I was expecting. On a simple white bun with a squirt of yellow mustard, it still turned out pretty well, but I was here for the smoked meat.

Tender slices of brisket were heavy with black pepper. The heavy oak smoke penetrated every layer of the moist meat, and these slices were just perfect. The nearly 1/4" thick smokering was one of the thickest I've seen. Intensely smoky ribs had the same heavy black pepper rub. The meat was moist and perfectly tender. It came from the bone with the greatest of ease, and every bite was bursting with bold BBQ flavor. These quickly became some of the bet ribs in my recent memory. I now know what I was missing on that first trip here. Make sure to come around lunch time for the best quality meats. Come any later and the pits will be closed up and you'll only get the mediocre leftovers.

Rating *****

2009: Advertising itself as "The Best Little Meat Market in Texas", this small meat market just south of I-10 also churns out some good 'cue. Buffalo steaks, sausage and their famous wieners fill the case that nearly runs the length of the store. Unfortunately the 'cue is not on display, so I had to order blindly at the register where orders for BBQ and raw meat alike are placed. I was told at 1:00 on a Saturday that they were already out of ribs. I ordered brisket, sausage and smoked turkey.

The smoked turkey was one of the best meats we had all day. It was tender and moist, which is hard to do with this incredibly lean meat. The crust, and the meat were smoky and succulent. The sausage was a solid effort with a semi-fine grind, high fat content and a bit of casing snap. None of the flavors provided much of a kick, but this was a solid link. The brisket, while smoky and flavorful, needed some more time in the smoker to tenderize a bit more. It's tough and slightly dry texture tells me that this brisket may have been cooked with too little patience, but the fat was well rendered, and the black pepper in the crust provided a nice flavor dimension in addition to the smokiness. I'm anxious to return and try the ribs and another version of their brisket next time I'd headed between Houston and San Antonio.

City Market on Urbanspoon


Ray said...

I got here between 12:10 P.M. and 12:20 P.M. They were already out of pork ribs. I figured as long as I got here before 1:00 P.M. I would be able to get some ribs, but I guess I was wrong. I know, my fault.

As far as the rest, the brisket was ok. I've had worse but I've had better. The sausage, however, was very underwhelming. There's better sausage up I-10 in Weimar at Kasper's (however, it's not barbecued). The sausage at Schulenburg City Market doesn't compare to the best sausage I've had at Sam's in East Austin, City Market in Luling, Food Market in Gonzales, and Smitty's in Lockhart.

Barbecue Station in northeast San Antonio has better sausage than this place. Who would think a place in San Antonio would have better bbq sausage than a heavily German & Czech influenced small Texas town? With all of that said, I still plan on making a return trip so I can try out the pork ribs. I guess I'll have to treat it like I plan on treating any future visit to Franklin's in Austin and get there really early.

P.S. Parking sucks!

Anonymous said...

This place must be better on weekends or earlier in the day. We got here a 1pm on a Wednesday. Horrific. I'd give it 1 star. The pits were unmanned and I think we got leftovers from a couple of days earlier.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.