More than a family tradition
BBQ is a way of life for the Black’s family

Sizzle & Smoke
By R. Kell Phelps
Publisher, NBBQN

Is there anything that can compare to barbecue in Texas? Personally, I think not! I have formed this opinion over many conversations with others about this very subject, and most agree with my opinion. Texas barbecue really is totally different in every aspect, as compared to the barbecue habits of other Americans. Their competitions are most often formed as fundraisers with very little to no purse for the winners, and the barbecue restaurant business is abundant in a way that can only be described as the state of Texas itself: Everything is bigger in Texas! Okay, I admit that in this case, it is probably more a case of more in Texas versus bigger in Texas, but if you have ever traveled around the state much, then you totally understand what my point is. According to our friend Daniel Vaughn, who is the barbecue editor for Texas Monthly, Texas leads the nation with 2,238 total restaurant locations. You can see his full article about how big Texas barbecue really is on their website at

In thinking about the massive amount of barbecue families in Texas, there is one that has been doing it longer than any other — Black’s Barbecue. This is the oldest family-owned joint in the state. They opened in 1932 and are now in their fifth generation of family members who are working the pits there. There is no doubt this qualifies as more than a family tradition and more like a way of life for this close-knit family from Lockhart. County Judge Edgar Black Sr., actually opened Black’s Barbecue as a meat market, and now 84 years later they are going stronger than ever before.

The third generation and an active pitmaster now is Kent Black. He was gracious enough to share some of his family’s rich history with us. There is no doubt that this small article hardly scratches the surface to all of the history he has, but we are very thankful that he is letting us share it with you. His parents, Edgar Black, Jr., and Norma Black, both worked and grew the business for over 60 years. They were the first Lockhart barbecue place to hire minorities back in the 1950’s and even had the pleasure of cooking and catering barbecue for Presdient Lyndon B. Johnson at the famed Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC...all of this after Edgar Black, Jr., served in World War II and graduated from Texas A&M. They actually expanded and had the largest grocery store and restaurant in the county at over 6,000 square feet, which was massive for that era of time.  Mr. Edgar is currently the oldest active pitmaster in the United States at the tender age of 90. He started working at Blacks Barbecue back in 1947 and still tends the pits there today.

Kent has been working at Black’s since his high school days and is now joined by his wife Candice with sons Eric and Barrett as they operate locations in Lockhart, Austin, and San Marcos, Texas. This newer generation of Black’s Barbecue has certainly continued to make the family name grow to new heights. They have had the opportunity to sell their briskets five different times on QVC, the Home Shopping Network, once selling 1,000 briskets in only eight minutes. Twice they have been named to the prestigious Best BBQ in Texas list compiled by Texas Monthly. This new generation of Blacks has also made it so everyone can enjoy their barbecue regardless of where you are located, as they now ship their products via FedEx.

We look forward to hearing and watching how the next generation of this amazing family keeps the pits smoking. They all invite you down to Black’s Barbecue at their original location at 215 N. Main St. in Lockhart Texas…the BBQ Capital of Texas since 1932. You can also visit their website at or follow them on FaceBook or on Twitter as well.

Photo courtesy of Black’s Barbecue
This logo has indeed become more
than a tradition for this family.

Photo courtesy of Black’s Barbecue
Here are the pits at the original Lockhart location. These have a cooking capacity of 500 pounds and are loaded up just about all the time…24/7!

Photo courtesy of Black’s Barbecue
This sign sums up how this family has kept the lines long and smoke rolling since 1932.

Photo courtesy of Black’s Barbecue
Edgar Black, Sr. is pictured with President Lyndon B. LBJ once had Black’s send barbecue to him for a party at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. Secret service spent two days with them as they cooked for the President.

Photo courtesy of Black’s Barbecue
Just a peek at what they are serving up daily at Black’s Barbecue in Texas.

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