This summer, my wife and I set out on a BBQ tour of central Texas. We wanted to hit the big name BBQ places, but also find some smaller joints to try as well. We also wanted to find other unique and interesting craftsmen that didn’t involve food. Each week, we will post about one of the stops along the way. Some of our stops are short. Other stops were so long, they may take several weeks to cover.

Our goal was to take you with us — as if you are really right there — on our trip. I hope you enjoy riding along the backroads with us just to see where life takes us.

This week we feature Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas. Legendary Black’s started in 1932 and is in its fourth generation of the family. They do things a little differently. The current pit was built in 1949 and holds 500 pounds at one time. Black’s uses a multi-step process for smoking their brisket. First, the meat is partially cooked in a rotisserie wood-fired smoker. The meat is cooled for a day or two then finishes cooking in a traditional offset brick smoker pit.

https://youtu.be/hE0ZJaBpKTE

Learn more about Black’s in this article from eater.com: Black’s Barbecue: 82 Years of a Texas Smoked Meat Legend

This salad was developed by one of the best chefs in the world Chef Bernie Kantak in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve put my own twist on it, but kept the same spirit. Mixing the salad at the table sets the perfect scene.

Dressing:

1/4 cup basil pesto

1/2 shallot, roughly chopped

1/2 cup aioli (see note)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Best Salad Ever
Best Salad Ever

Salad:

1/3 cup cooked Israeli couscous

2 ounces chopped arugula

1/3 cup diced roma tomatoes

1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup diced smoked salmon

1 tablespoon crumbled Asiago or Feta cheese

1 tablespoon toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

2 tablespoons dried black currants

For the dressing:  Combine pesto, shallot and aioli in a food processor; blend thoroughly. With motor running, add buttermilk. Add pepper and lemon juice; blend to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Note: Aioli is like garlicky mayonnaise. Look for it in gourmet food stores, or make your own by blending together 1 to 2 finely minced garlic cloves, 1/3 cup olive oil and  1/4 cup mayonnaise.

For the salad:  Combine the cheese, pepitas, and currants together to make trail mix and set aside. Combine tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar and set aside. Start arranging ingredients in separate rows on a large platter or bowl. Begin with salmon, following by a row of arugula, then couscous, trail mix, sweet corn, and last a row of the tomatoes. Toss salad at the table, using about half of the batch of dressing. (Refrigerate remaining dressing up to three days.)

People always ask me what is my favorite food. Well in this video, I answer that question!