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Texas: Deep in the Heart of Pie & BBQ


A trip south from the Metroplex starting with a legendary hamburger, a visit to the town that put sweet kolaches on the map, through Hill Country pie palaces and finally to Lockhart, the BBQ capital of the known universe.

Kincaid's
Village Bakery
Monument Café
Blue Bonnet Café
Blanco Bowling Club Café
Salt Lick
Texas Pie Company
Smitty's
Kreuz Market
Black's Barbecue
Kincaid's - Fort Worth , TX
Kincaid's is a former grocery store known for its hamburger: a half a pound of beef, charred and well-seasoned, lean yet drippingly juicy, sandwiched between thick halves of a big warm bun that oozes a surfeit of condiments, onions, tomato slices, and shreds of lettuce.
Village Bakery - West , TX
The Village Bakery is just about the best place in central Texas to eat the locally-favored, Czech-ancestored pastry known as a kolache.
Monument Café - Georgetown , TX
The Monument Café makes some of the best desserts anywhere in Texas, using the finest ingredients to produce classic sweets. There is usually a fried pie (fruit fully enclosed in a pastry crust and fried to a crisp); we have had superb baked tapioca pudding as well as angel food cake with fresh strawberries; and the cool cream pies are dazzling. Chocolate pecan is dark and fudge-like, loaded with chunks of nut and topped with a ribbon of pure white whipped cream.
Blue Bonnet Café - Marble Falls , TX
The menu has something for everyone, but our favorites are fragile-crusted fried okra, pork-rich pinto beans, and butter-sopped leaf spinach. It is essential to end any meal at the Blue Bonnet with pie. About eight or ten are available every day, plain or a la mode; and while we enjoy the apple pie and pecan pie, the one we’ll come back for is the peanut butter cream.
Blanco Bowling Club Café - Blanco , TX
Pies are spectacular, with meringue tops that rise three times as high as the filling they top. And the fillings themselves are delicious. Coconut pie has an indescribably creamy flavor, accented by little bits of toasty coconut scattered across the top of the meringue. Fudge pie is dense, rich, and super-chocolaty. If you are a pie fancier, put this Blanco bowling alley on your must-eat list. Meringue pies get no better than this.
Salt Lick - Driftwood , TX
Located in the Hill Country west of Austin, it is a theme park of barbecue, its limestone buildings surrounded by rough-hewn log fences, the air smelling of slow-smoked meats. The meats come pre-sauced, which is not a bad thing, because Salt Lick sauce is terrific: a tangy-sweet glaze with perhaps a hint of mustard.
Texas Pie Company - Kyle , TX
The Texas Pie Company makes it easy to eat more because the pies it bakes are available not only full-size, but as individually-sized mini pies. The Lemon chess pie had a bright citrus flavor with a buttermilky cushion. The irresistible cake was strawberry: so, so moist and crowned with a heap of fruit-flavored frosting.
Smitty's - Lockhart , TX
In the back room, logs still burn in the old pit, which turns out gorgeous sausage rings and big-flavored brisket. Order your food here, and it is presented to you on butcher paper, which you carry up front to one of the tables in the air conditioned dining room. Most people know to eat this meat with their hands. It’s too tender for utensils, and too nice not to touch.
Kreuz Market - Lockhart , TX
There is absolutely no denying that its slabs of pit-cooked prime rib are among the most carnivorously satisfying foodstuffs on earth. Brisket, sausage, and ribs are all superb. Despite its modern facilities, Kreuz has maintained pit-cook tradition: a limited menu that is meat, bread, and condiments; and tote-your-own service from a ferociously hot pit where meat is sliced to order and sold by the pound.
Black's Barbecue - Lockhart , TX
Black’s dining room actually has décor in the form of trophies and pictures of the high school football team on its knotty pine walls. These luxuries have no bearing on the superiority of Black’s pork ribs, sausage rings that burst with flavor, and brisket slices bisected by an ethereal ribbon of translucent fat.

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