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Dining Guide

Black’s Barbecue

Kent Black’s methodology (developed by his parents, Edgar and Norma Jean) is definitely odd: briskets are cooked for eight hours in a Southern Pride rotisserie using only wood, no gas. This leaves them partially smoked. They’re then stored for a couple days in a cooler, then smoked for four hours in the old brick pits. This may be the weirdest smoking routine in Texas, but it’s hard to argue with the results. A thick black crust covers the tender beef, and there’s plenty of well-cooked fat with a deep and powerful smokiness that just isn’t found elsewhere in town.

City: Lockhart


Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit

Pitmaster: Kent Black

Pro-tip: When Black's is busy, it staffs the cutting block on the left with the B team. Go to the one on the right.

Price: $$

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 215 N. Main, Lockhart, TX, 78644

Hours: Sun-€“Thur 10-€“8, Fri-€“Sat 10-€“8:30

Phone: 512-398-2712

Website: blacksbbq.com

Year Opened: 1932

Last updated: May 3, 2013


  • I’ve been to this one and actually like it better than the “big two” in town- Kreutz and Smittys. I found the brisket to be exceptionally tender and tasty.

  • It’s the best steam tray place I’ve ever had barbecue.

  • Black’s is a joke. Don’t go saying they do all their meat well and then say the brisket needed to be left on longer. When I ate there a few years ago they needed to leave their brisket on a lot longer, several hours for sure. It was so underdone that the really hadn’t even begun to gel as it should in a good brisket.Course ground sausage is fine but I’ve had tacos meat that would ground up better than the junk they put into their casings.To date, Black’s is the only BBQ joint in Texas that I’ve just thrown my plate away after taking a few bites.Smittys, Kreutz and even Chisolm Trail all cook respectable ‘Q, but Black’s just puts up big billboards claiming their historic significance. It just goes to shows marketing will keep a poor business open.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Brian. We traveled from Washington State to try this famous barbecue. Big disappointment. The brisket was mostly dry with no taste. I was very surprised. Sides were nice. I would not go there again.

  • David

    After eating at Kreutz market on Saturday and being very satisfied, I ventured back to Lockhart on Sunday and only Blacks was open.I was very disappointed. The turkey was cold and dry and the brisket was very average. I think I would have preferred Rudy’s over Blacks, but maybe it was because it was about 3PM on a Sunday and they were the only show in town. There was still always someone at the Q counter making an order though.Next time, my first stop will be Smitty’s which I regret missing on my last trip.

  • Smitty’s is the best in Lockhart. Black’s is a joke and Kreutz is over hype and more of a tourist place.

  • Went to Black’s on July 4th weekend, and I was underwhelmed to say the least. The brisket was pretty good, the ribs were average at best, and the pork chop was not edible. It was drier than a piece of wood (not kidding at all). While I know BBQ places have good days and bad, I don’t expect you get legendary status without some level of consistency. I will probably give it another shot though (at some point in my life)…

  • bbqlover

    I’ve been to Blacks twice in the past year, and can’t get enough of the brisket. Best brisket I’ve encountered in all of TX.I get down to the Austin area so rarely, I’m hesitant to try Smittys/Kreutz.

  • TexasBBQbeast

    I had Black’s and was very disappointed. If you want real BBQ and unbelievable brisket that is consistently awesome whenever you go then go to Snow’s in Lexington. Kerry Bexley don’t have a distiguished Texas BBQ “pedigree” and he is beatin’ all of them, just ask the long line of people from all over the world waiting to get in at 8 in the morning. They are only open on Saturdays and sell out by 11.

  • I’m right with you on Black’s. I’ve had one bite throw away meals at Smitty’s, but I’ve always had a consistently great meal at Black’s. I have probably eaten there 8 or 9 times now, and have yet to leave with anything but a smile on my face and smoke flavor in my mouth.

  • AW

    I literally just walked in the door from Lockhart. I was having a hard time deciding between Black’s and Kreuz’s, and we ultimately chose Kreuz’s. While the sausage and ribs were good, the brisket there was an abomination. No fat, no crust, no flavor. My six year old said it was the worst brisket she had ever had, and she was right.To try to make up for it, we drove over to Black’s for a second lunch. We got only brisket, and it was fantastic–food of the gods. It had a nice crust, beautiful smoke ring, perfect amount of fat and was melt-in-your mouth tender. It’s hard to believe that the people above could be writing about the same restaurant. It was as close to perfect as brisket gets.At many BBQ restaurants, a lot of your experience depends on what day you go and what piece of meat you get served from. And I guess that’s what distinguishes the consistently good performers from the so-so. In my mind, Black’s and Smitty’s are the class of Lockhart, and Kreuz’s is a distant third.

  • As a Hill Country native, I really don’t get how you can say Black’s is anything short of great. Maybe you went on the wrong day. You can’t find consistently better bbq or service anywhere else!

  • Grenny1968

    Glad to see this review. I go between Houston and Austin a bunch and patronize city mkt-luling and blacks. Kreutz and Smittys are both good and get tons of media love but Blacks is seriously underrated. Always have had good experience here. Plus I like side orders and sauce so all you so called purist can stick it!

  • RL Reeves Jr

    Black’s Barbecue Supremacy Now UndisputedArticle here:http://chowpapi.com/?p=106I started eating at Black’s in 1991. Kreuz before the move, used to give em a good run for their money.Not anymore.Blacks is the best, others are close but the defining quality of Black’s is the consistency.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone that rates Blacks brisket less than 4 stars out of 5 does not know what GREAT Texas briket tastes like, PERIOD. Everyone has an opinion but those that diss on Blacks brisket are IGNORANT and UNINFORMED. JR (ROCKFISH)Lockhart, TX

  • Went to the top 10 Central Texas BBQ establishments in Apr 2011 trip. Lockhart visits included the big three. Blacks was the clear winner with the best silkiest genuine flavored brisket I have ever eaten. The crust, smoke and fat ratios were a perfect combination. Smitty’s was not a close second and Kreuz would not rank one star on any of their items we ate there that day. Spend your money and time at Black’s.

  • Anonymous

    Blacks is sooooo overrated. Appreciate the history…but not the food.

  • Went to Black’s before our pre-Thanksgiving drive through the Hill Country of Texas. I hit a few of my regular bbq stops on this trip, added this one our itinerary to form an opinion of my own. I do agree that the condiment bar is a bit underwhelming, but our group found some tasty additions to complement their meal. For me, a devout meat eater, it’s about what rolls off the smoker.Our group loaded up on baby back ribs, beef ribs, regular sausage, brisket, and we sampled the shiner sausage.The sausage fell out of the casings, and was a bit disappointing. It had good flavor, but I like a heartier sausage that stays together. The Shiner sausage was a bit darker, stronger in flavor, stuck together, but was a bit dry from the extra time sitting on the warmers. The baby back ribs were good, but didn’t seem to have as much flavor, and smoking time as the beef ribs. The beef ribs were smoked beautifully, fell off the bone, and had great flavor similar to the brisket. I just wish there was more meat on the bone.Now the best part for last. The brisket had to be delivered directly from the bbq Gods themselves. Thick smoke ring, tender, juicy, and perfectly rendered. This stuff was pure heaven!!!!!! Keep the sauce away from this blessed hunk of brisket, it stood alone as the highlight of our trip. I opted out of dessert, and headed back for another slice of this cut.What I found great about Black’s was that the meat stood alone on its smoking. I do like a good sauce, because there are so many variations of additional flavors. The Black’s sauce was subtle, and did not overpower what was already good bbq. My son, who likes the hot stuff, had to sample the ghost chili sauce. We left with a bottle……I will be heading back for more brisket the next time in the area.