City Market: Sticking to the Holy Trinity in Oil City

  • Home
  • Barbecue
  • City Market: Sticking to the Holy Trinity in Oil City
Oil Derrick Texas

Earning the "Oil City" nickname in Texas says a lot about Luling.

A towering oil derrick announced our arrival in Oil City, along with signs advertising Luling as the Proud Home of the 1999 Boys Cross Country State Champs and the 2000 Girls Track & Field State Champs. Those are certainly big accomplishments for such a small town. Still, central Texans know the best reason to visit Luling: City Market.

Barbecue Texas

The legendary barbecue parlor has anchored “downtown” Luling since 1958. Up the road in Lockhart, you’ll find mammoth barbecue barns selling many more meats and sides, but none can match City Market’s simple perfection.

Barbecue Texas

City Market’s wood-lined interior is decorated with a plush-toy claw game and a cooler full of cold drinks. Order in back.

Barbecue Texas

In the overflow dining room, this mural depicts a central Texas farm scene, complete with a cow, AKA future barbecue. Burned into the wall are numerous cattle brands from local ranches.

Barbecue Menu Texas

The menu couldn’t be simpler: beef brisket, pork ribs, and hot sausage links. If you’re a local, grab a box of 50 cold sausages to go, to heat later. Otherwise, sit and begin gorging.

Sausage Texas

The pit man pulled back the lid to reveal a smoker full of City Market’s perfect house-made sausage links.

Barbecue Texas

The expert City Market pit men carve ribs and brisket on the wood block.

Barbecue Texas

A stack of wood, fuel for the smoker, resides next to bins of fresh-cooked pork ribs and a vat of house barbecue sauce, which gets painted onto ribs while they cook in the big black box.

Barbecue Texas

It would be a mistake not to order pork ribs, brisket and sausage links, the holy trinity of central Texas barbecue. Ribs and links get no better, and the brisket, with its nice outer char, certainly held its own. The ribs had an unbeatable caramelized crust, which locked in the essential juices of the pork. Sausage featured a coarse texture and an unrivaled peppery kick.

An old hot sauce bottle housed a sensational burnt-orange barbecue sauce that nearly matched the zing of its previous tenant.

Barbecue Sides Texas

For sides, we split a cup of potato salad and a half-pint of pinto beans. They were fine, but we didn’t fly to Texas and drive to Luling to eat potatoes and beans.

Every six years, Texas Monthly publishes a definitive list of the Top 50 barbecue parlors in the state. In 1997, City Market made the top three. In 2003, they scored in the top five. Given our latest experience, there’s little doubt that City Market is well on its way to the winner’s circle yet again in 2009.

City Market: Sticking to the Holy Trinity in Oil City


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Leave a Comment