Articles & Write-Ups

Over the years, Black's Barbecue has been featured in a number of different publications and has also been recognized by the government of the State of Texas.

Lt. Governor Bob Bullock

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Texas Monthly

There is something timeless about the feel of this relaxed café with Texas license plates lining one wood wall and Longhorn horns decorating the others. No wonder: It has been run by the same family since 1932. Owner Edgar Black, the son of the founder, still does things the way Daddy did, using post oak to indirectly smoke the meat, which is seasoned only with salt and pepper. The moist, deep-flavored brisket cooks for 24 hours, the good beef-and-pork sausage is homemade. Hammy pork ribs, chicken redolent of smoke. Made-from-scratch sauce is thick, red and sweet. Sides are numerous.

- Texas Monthly "The 50 Best Barbecue Joints in Texas", May 1997

Senate Resolution #750

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Smokestack Lightning

It's the food that makes us want to meet Edgar Black. Not the Jell-O or the boiled eggs or the other items on the cafeteria-style steam table, but the barbecue. Black's own succulent sausages, made in the back of the building, are Frank's favorites in a state where sausage is common. The ribs are excellent but the pork loin, well seasoned on the outside and thoroughly smoked on the inside, is the highlight of this place.

We return to interview the owner, but it turns out to be a bad day for it. Edgar Black is upset this morning - something about a city council lawsuit and some land he owns. We ask questions about barbecue, and he seasons his answers with reflections on his involvement in this town's civic life, by which he means to say that he has given much to this place and doesn't deserve to be handled so roughly or, he thinks, so illegally.

We begin at the beginning, the founding in 1932 of a butcher shop and grocery that barbecued only what meat was left over. But we quickly arrive at 1949, when Edgar Black made his mark on his father's business, by then a sit-down barbecue restaurant that made its own sausage from scratch. And whether he would be as eager to tell a white writer this I don't know, but what he tells us is that he desegregated the business in July 1949, five years before the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education.

"I saw that it wasn't right," he tells us. "Separate restrooms and all that kind of mess. Completely ridiculous today. Some of the people said, "Where're the colored gonna sit?" I said, "They can sit anywhere they want to sit." They said, "That's gonna hurt your business," and I said, "If it does I don't want those people anyway."

Black started a petition in his church showing how silly it was for a town this size to build two high schools, one colored, the other white. So they built one school, later integrated the swimming pool, and ultimately desegregated the Little League.

Jackalope - not on the menu! Black's Barbecue bills itself as the state's oldest barbecue restaurant operated by the same family, but it is more famous for the signs that advertise this fact than for the fact itself. Unlike its two competitors in town, Black's is not on the highway and the lion's share of the barbecue business in this town comes off the highway. So Black's has to call attention to itself with huge, obnoxious signs, signs that seem out of character for this reflected white-haired man. If they are out of character, however, they are no more so than the jackalopes and crocheted shawls and T-shirts and bumper stickers ("There are only two places to eat: Black's Barbecue and home") on the walls.

Black's troubles with the city council seem ironic when you consider the fact that a few years ago he was named Lockhart's Most Worthy Citizen. The irony is not wasted on him. "That's why I told my sons, I'm going to get a bug plaque and put it up. ‘From Lockhart's Most Worthy, 1988, to Lockhart's Most Wanted, 1993'" he says.

- "Smokestack Lightning - Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country" by Lolis Eric Elie, January 1998