“What the Fearless Critic books and apps have that UrbanSpoon and Yelp don’t is a complete lack of bullshit.”
“I’ve spent years driving around with Zagat...but I think I’ll replace it with this Fearless Critic guide.”
–Leslie Brenner,
Dallas Morning News
Fearless Critic restaurant review
Counter service

Mon–Fri 7:30am–5:30pm
Sat 7:30am–4:00pm

Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx


48 miles from Austin
101 W. Austin St.
Giddings, TX
(979) 542-2740
City Meat Market
A ghost town worth exploring, even without the terrific barbecue

The population of Giddings, halfway between Austin and Houston, is just a touch over 5,000, but it feels even lonelier than that, especially given the ghostlike stretch of 290 where City Meat Market is. Are our small towns on the verge of extinction, losing their young to the urban wastelands?

Inside the market, it’s as dark, smoky, and dirty as a ‘cue joint ought to be. The whole transaction feels a little shady, as if you’re buying drugs—which, in a sense, you are: the loose-packed sausages here are like crack. Brisket, especially the fattier end cuts, is wonderfully moist, smoky pork ribs are tender, and even the chicken is good. The sauce here is thin, vinegary-sweet, and beautifully balanced. Your food is given to you sans plate or utensils, so check any prissiness at the door.

The barbecue’s ready at 8:30am, and tends to run out by early afternoon. But be forewarned: we’ve gone at 10:45am—too early in the day, perhaps, for maximum tenderness—and had uncharacteristically tough meat. Even if dining in a pseudo-ghost town isn’t your thing, we highly recommend that you suck it up and try some of this delicious barbecue. If the season is right, keep heading east and take in the unmatched beauty of blooming Texas wildflowers. And say a little prayer for our great state’s small towns.

Comments (1)