Above: At Cooper’s in Llano, Texas, the carver places your meat directly on the tray, to be wrapped in butcher paper later when they weigh it in. He dipped my pork loin in the sauce, saying that the sauce wouldn’t add any weight to it. He recommended adding sauce to the brisket later because the sauce would increase the weight (and cost), he said (and implied). Go figure!
Since I moved to Texas, many of my friends love to send me messages recounting their experiences with “Texas-style BBQ” (Comrade Howard and BrooklynGuy, I’m thinking of ya’ll here).
Well, I’m here to tell you that here in Texas, we don’t call it “Texas-style BBQ” or even “Texas BBQ.” We just call it “BBQ.” (Actually, some Texans just call it “food.”)
Above: Perhaps because of the distance from major cities and the fact that Llano is no longer a major transportation hub, the original Cooper’s feels like a truly homespun affair, free from the tidy marketese that adorns its web presence and satellite locations. Real deal food. The brisket melted in my mouth and the pork loin was tender and juicy. The sides were good… the beans, probably the best I’ve had so far.
On Monday night, I finally made it up to the legendary Cooper’s Pit BBQ in Llano, Texas, one of the most if not the most picturesque Texas Hill Country town I’ve visited (a veritable western movie set, really). I had spent the afternoon in Brady, Texas, the literal “heart” of Texas, as they call it. (Believe it or not, I’ve been asked to create some social media for a hunting compound up that way. Super nice folks, btw.)
As I drove past Cooper’s at around 1:30 p.m., it was still packed with the local lunchtime crowd. By the time I stopped in Llano on my way back around 7, the dinner crowd had already thinned, but even on a Monday night you could see that the place had been slammed as the staff was cleaning up most of the picnic tables inside. BBQ is always best, in my experience, when it’s prepared and served in large volume.
Comrade Howard and BrooklynGuy: when are ya’ll gonna get your asses to Texas for some real BBQ?
if that ain’t ‘Country’, I’ll kiss your ass.
If that ain’t ‘Country’, it’ll hair-lip the Pope.
If that ain’t ‘Country’, it’s a damn good joke.
I’ve seen the Grand Ol’ Opry, and I’ve met Johnny Cash.
If that ain’t ‘Country’, I’ll kiss your ass.
Next time you go, get the ribs. They are FANTASTIC! I love their “vinegary” bbq sauce.
As much as I like the place, the meat-directly-on-tray approach isn’t my favorite.
Looks great, though. A spring trip to Enchanted Rock might be in order…
@Anne the sauce was awesome! So far, Cooper’s (Llano) is one of my favs! thanks for stopping by!
@S. Dilley dude, let’s go! The meat on the tray is a little intense, I must say. If that ain’t country!
Ha! Yeah, that’s certainly country! Well, cafeteria meets country.
Let’s grab a glass soon. I’m around.