Black’s planning big BBQ Anniversary bash
By Kyle Mooty
Kent Black’s sons told him he might as well wait until their family’s restaurant, The Original Black’s Barbecue, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2032.
“Well, on my next birthday I’ll be 70, so I said no, ‘Let’s have it now,’” Black said.
Black’s will celebrate 90 years Saturday with a full day of national and local musical talent, as well as tip on how to cook the perfect brisket. There will be food, drinks, and memorabilia to purchase at the event.
Black’s is the oldest same family-owned restaurant in Texas.
“We want to do this to thank our customers that have helped us last 90 years,” Black said. “We have never done anything like this.”
The doors open at noon with the first 100 in line receiving a free Black’s BBQ hat. There will be a beer garden just outside of the restaurant on Main Street. The merchandise tents will also open at noon.
“There are a lot of moving parts to this,” said Black, third-generation owner and pitmaster at the restaurant.
At 12:30 p.m., Mayor Lew White will welcome guests to Lockhart. Black said he has heard from people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and many from Austin and San Antonio that plan to be on hand.
A ceremonial slice of brisket will be performed by Black’s mother, Norma Jean Black, who is also 90. There will be a national anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and posting of the colors.
Mill Scale Metal Works, which just moved into Lockhart, will have a display of its grills from large to small, performing cooking demonstrations. Mill Scale will also be cooking a whole hog. Just recently, Mill Scale did a similar show at a Willie Nelson event.
One of Black’s sons, Barrett, will cook what his father calls “fancy barbecue.”
Beginning at 1 p.m. is a Best of Lockhart music event organized by Naomi and Chazz Bessette. Among the artists are acclaimed singer-songwriter James McMurtry, Steven Collins, Jenn Hodges, Richard Allen Platt, Halleyanna Finlay-Welch, JRC, Dustin Welch, Naomi Bessette, Chazz Emile Bessette, Jackie Oberkrom, and Hoyt Van Tanner.
The 12-piec house band of Lockhart musicians had to learn all of the performer’s song to be played, about 30 in all.
David Beck’s Tejano Weekend Band will perform from 3-4:30 on the St. Mary’s Catholic Church Park stage at 101 W. Pecan Street north of Black’s Barbecue.
Beck, whose mother taught several years in the Lockhart school system, will sing songs in both Spanish and English.
At 5 p.m., Barrett Black will do a 30-minute demonstration with brisket; how to pick one out, trimming it, seasoning it, and more.
Last week, Black to a crew of six to Kansas City to cook at the Kansas City Barbecue Festival at Arrowhead Stadium, including guest Andy Reid, head coach of the Chiefs.
The event will be capped off by Shinyribs (Kevin Russell) and his 10-piece band from 6-7:30 p.m. Former front man of The Gourds, Shinyribs has made a name for his new band with hits such as Song of Lime Juice and Despair, Take Me to Lake Charles, Who Built the Moon, Poor People’s Store, Devil’s Song, and many more.
“I’ve seen him multiple times,” Kent Black said of Shinyribs. “He will be perfect for this event.
“Afterwards, I encourage everyone to go downtown and support Lockhart businesses. It’s going to be hot, but for promoters, that beats rain. We are celebrating with merchandise all year. This will be our theme for the rest of the year. We will have similar amounts and other locations, only smaller.”
Black’s also has restaurants in Austin, New Braunfels and San Marcos. Kent Black’s sons, Eric and Barrett, oversee those venues with Eric focusing on New Braunfels and San Marcos and Barrett with Lockhart and Austin.
“I like to say we are a 90-year-old overnight sensation,” Kent Black said. “But if it weren’t for my grandparents and parents, we wouldn’t be here.
“When Norma Jean walks in the building it’s like the president has come in. The staff gets nervous. I get a little nervous. She gives her comments on what we’re doing right and wrong. Our pinto beans are named after her — Norma Jean Pinto Beans. I’m often asked who is the best businessman in the family. I always tell them my mother is.”
Black thanked the Catholic Church for use of its stage and property and the Episcopal Church for allowing its parking area.
The Original Black’s BBQ started as a grocery store and meat market in 1932 by first Generation Edgar Black Sr., and by 1936, it moved out of Northside Grocery and Market and into its current building at 215 N. Main Street, where it’s been implementing the same recipes and techniques ever since.