May 12th, 2013


Bluebonnets, Bats, and Barbecue: April 13, 2013, part 3

Another wildflower picture, taken from the window of the minivan at a stoplight near Bastrop. (It boggled me that Texas allows driving 75 mph on roads with stoplights.)
Wildflowers from the road

As we were passing through Bastrop on the way to Elgin, we saw more than one billboard advertising Buc-ee's. Upon learning that none of us had experienced Buc-ee's, Adam declared that our Austin visit would be woefully incomplete if it did not include an experience of the glory of Buc-ee's. And as it happened, there was a Buc-ee's just on our route.


Adam suggested that I pass him my phone, and so we have photographic record of my expression upon entering Buc-ee's:
Ralph beholding Buc-ee's

Buc-ee's is not a Roadfood stop; it is a convenience store built on a massive scale. I would be hard pressed to throw a paper airplane from one end of the store to the other. (In more prosaic terms, the Buc-ee's website claims that the Bastrop location is 50,000 square feet, though it is eclipsed by the New Braunfels location which is the largest convenience store in the world at 67,000.)


The other claim to fame of Buc-ee's is their restrooms, which Adam strongly encouraged us to visit. The restrooms at Buc-ee's were immense and immaculate. There were two dozen urinals on one side of the men's room, each in their own alcove to prevent any inconvenient risk glancing sidelong and seeing another man. I took no photos from inside the men's room, because there wasn't a moment when the room was empty. But we did take a few pictures of the decor just outside the restrooms:
Buc-ee's Buc-ee's Buc-ee's

We enjoyed samples of the sausage, and Chris bought a hat. We also sampled the Buc-ee's Beaver Hut, a candy concoction of pink goo enclosed in chocolate and peanuts. Unfortunately, it was nasty - I cannot recommend it in the slightest.
Buc-ee's Beaver Hut

Our destination in Elgin was one of the famous sites of Texas barbecue, Southside Market, the originator of Texas hot sausage (also called "hot guts", to Lori's dismay). But Southside Market is no longer a small storefront on the town square, but a large barbecue establishment.
Southside Market Southside Market

The interior was spacious and efficient, but redolent with the scent of smoking meat.
Southside Market Brisket being Carved

We shared a beautiful platter of brisket, sausage, beans and potato salad.
The brisket was delicious we decided that we might prefer the brisket to the sausage.
Southside Market

But I argued that even so, if one were to have one meat here, it should be the sausage. The sausage was unusual among all the hot guts we sampled; it was extremely tender, even soft. But very rich and flavorful.
Southside Market