Intense Effort
sunshine state of mind marquee
October 5th 2011
It was a Wednesday
The 278th day of the year.

Days like today are ideal for motorcycle riding.
Warm, not hot.
Breezy, not windy.
My favorite – no traffic.

My mission today — which I accepted without hesitation — find out what all the fuss over Luling's City Market was all about. My focus will be on one man's trip through the long line to the smoke room. No, it is not me I am talking about. Instead it is a man I met in a line long enough we had a good chat. This was not his first rodeo. He had sage advice regarding the BBQ situation in the area, which is famous for outstanding smokehouse treats. I listened like a student at his sensei's knee.

About Luling

Luling is a small community at the intersection of US-90, 183 and TX-80, 15 miles south of the BBQ Capital of Texas, Lockhart. The origin of the name is in dispute. Some say it was named after a Chinese worker, which can be easily believed with an addition of a lyrical inflection to the pronunciation. Then again, there was a Judge Luling. But wait; there was a lady who was married to the man who built the railroad with a maiden name of Luling. Take your pick, I have no favorite — actually I lean towards the Chinese worker, but I digress.

Oil, as in many other Texas towns, was the major catalyst behind the rapid growth in the 1920's. What many believe Luling's claim to fame is, is what the locals call the Watermelon Thump. Awards go to the largest watermelon. Another coveted bragging right is for the one that can spit a watermelon seed the furthest. The big, bad spitter has a year to rest on his or her watermelon.

City Market and Dozer

I arrived at City Market ahead of my riding buddy Dozer. I only waited a few minutes and then here he comes. We had planned to try several restaurants when The Fred was scheduled to show up later that day. We only took a couple of bites of ribs at City Market when Dozer stopped eating and said, "We may have just found the best." Granted, we had not tried anywhere else, the ribs were just that good. Maybe it was because we were extra hungry after a long ride. It could have been we were there at an extra special time when the best was being served. BBQ is an art, not a science. All we knew for sure was we were eating some mighty fine grub.

Regardless, this story is not about me. Come on along and I'll introduce you to my nameless friend.

Hungry Men
My nameless friend and his associate.
They knew good grub.
Nameless Friend
My Nameless Friend looks happy
to be so close to the smoke room after
standing in a line that stretched out to
the door of the other room..
Mopping Sauce
We made it to where the pit boss resides.

My nameless friend watched them cutting up
his order, taking in every minute detail.
Mopping Sauce
The man in charge of the mopping sauce
You have to ask for sauce –
most don't believe in sauce.
They feel the meat is too good to add sauce.
Sausage – Sausage – Sausage
Man is proud of his sausage
This man is proud of his sausage.
Partial Order
This is his partial order, probably
what he'll have right away.
Sausage to Go
This he'll keep for later.
A Very Happy Man
He now has his complete order.
A happy man is he!
(I wish I knew his name)

You can't go wrong eating at the City Market in Luling, Texas. There is another good BBQ joint in Luling. When they run out of sausage at the City Market, which they did the first day, everyone jumps out of line and runs for the Luling BBQ which is just about a block to the east.

My meal was modest in comparison to my nameless friend. I enjoyed what I selected and ate myself into BBQ nirvana. Something they do down south is offer avocados to accent their meals. I found that to be a wonderful addition. Take a little avocado, smear it on a piece of white bread (why does white bread taste so good with BBQ?), add a little rib or sausage – or both – and pop it in your mouth. I guarantee, unless you don't like avocado, you're going to thank me. Of course if you're of a mind to – wash it down with a swig of Shiner – sit back – bask in the awe factor.

Yes, I know you see sauce on the table.
I tried some – it was OK – Not another drop!

Bastrop Fires
Page One

Good Bye!