As I was making the itinerary for our recent Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour, I reluctantly added Southside Market in Elgin. It was on the way from stops one and two in Austin and our fourth stop at the Taylor Cafe in Taylor, where the posse was overnighting.
The problem was that reviews of Southside Market are all over the place, never a good sign if you're looking for the best joints in Texas. This was either going to be the best sausage the posse had ever tasted or a waste of time.
As we pulled in the parking lot at sunset, I was reminded of the trip to Kreuz Market on our first BBQ tour one year ago. Southside Market was a big place, much like Kreuz, looking more like a BBQ superstore than a joint. As we walked in Kreuz last year, several of the posse members were grumbling about this being the Walmart of BBQ joints. I stopped the group and said, "Let the meat speak for itself." In the end, we named it the best overall stop on our visit to the best BBQ joints in central Texas.
Unfortunately I can't say the same for Southside Market. Here are a few responses from posse members when giving feedback from the tour:
"Southside Market? Don’t bother stopping."
"Southside Market: I split a pound of sausage here with my Dad. It was of average quality: a little on the greasy side and not particularly flavorful. Most of the order went back to Dallas in a cooler for my Dad's hound, who has an unrefined palate."
"There is no reason to go to Southside."
This is a very popular place, located on Hwy. 290 from Houston to Austin. Maybe we'll give it another chance one day. After all, the posse is more about describing the BBQ journey in words and photos than writing restaurant reviews. We'll leave that to our friend Daniel Vaughn, one of the top barbecue experts in the country. His Full Custom Gospel BBQ blog is the place to go when researching Texas cue joints for your next lunch or your next BBQ tour.
Southside Market BBQ, 1212 U.S. 290, at Hwy 95, Elgin, (512) 285-3407. (Open M-Thur 8am-8pm, F-Sat 8am-10pm, Sun 9am-7pm).
(Photos by Chris Wilkins)