Texas BBQ: The Meat of the Matter
By Wyatt McSpadden
Traveling around the state looking for the “right” kind of barbecue places to photograph, my inner sack-boy was reawakened. Some of the places I visited weren’t so different from Dad’s store. Prause’s Market in La Grange, with the beautiful Friedrich refrigerated cases made in 1952, the year I was born; Gonzales Food Market, where the manager, Maurice Lopez, still wears an apron and paper hat from a bread company; Dozier’s Market in Fulshear, with a modest display of canned goods and paper products standing between the entrance and one of the most eye-popping selections of meats I’ve ever seen. What these places have that Central Grocery didn’t is real wood-smoked barbecue, made out back in brick pits fueled by post oak, pecan, and mesquite.
Many of the barbecue places I visited started out as meat markets. Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Novosad’s in Hallettsville, and City Market in Luling still display vestiges of their butcher shop heritage, even though these days the house specialty is smoked meats. Over time the process of creating pit barbecue has transformed such modest spots into great spaces, where the smoke and heat have penetrated the walls and the people who toil within them. To me these are magical places.
From the March 2009 issue.
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