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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Sun–Thu 10:30am–8:00pm
Fri–Sat 10:30am–9:00pm

Bar Beer
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


65 miles from Austin
604 W. Young St.
Llano, TX
(325) 247-5713
Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ
A long, pretty drive that’s rewarded with spectacular smoked meat

Cooper’s (whose any relation to the Mason location has long been severed) is lodged deeply, snugly, into Red-State Texas, complete with a thank-you letter from W himself, hanging on a greasy, wood-paneled wall. But what has really elevated Cooper’s into the Texas BBQ stratosphere is its world-class brisket, gently smoky and bountiful with well-rendered fat. Usually, it’s spot-on, but if you ask for it fatty—which you should—avoid an end cut (overkill). Ribs are often terrific, and sausage has a good juiciness. Chicken, the locals’ usual order, is pretty consistently moist and liberally peppered. In spite of its reputation, the “Big Chop” does creep close to toughness, as can flavorful pork loin; if it’s available, please...get the prime rib.

You’ll wait in line outside and order your meat from the hot-as-hell pit that’s manned by a no-nonsense fella in a gimme cap. All he wants to know is how much you want and if you want it sauced. That sauce is thin, vinegary, and peppery—correct, in Hill Country terms. Then head on inside and order potato salad (creamy and vinegary) cole slaw, and blackberry cobbler (insanely delicious and doughy) from the nice kiddos, and grab a seat at one of the community tables. Don’t forget to load up on free beans, which are our favorite anywhere, porky and spicy. Now that’s Texas: free porky beans and all the sweet tea you can handle.

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