254 | Caldwell County
I posted this photo on my Instagram a couple of days ago, and someone commented, “You can tell by the smell when you’re in Luling.”
They’re not wrong — the scent of the town’s abundant oil is the kind of sulphuric that can make your eyes water — but in my opinion, the odor just helps deter visitors from overcrowding the little gem of a place.
First of all, there is the watermelon thump, which I have never attended but can bet I will. How can you not like a place that dedicates a weekend to eating watermelon and crowning a Thump Queen? You can’t. I am thoroughly for it.
Second, there is the surrounding landscape — sprawling fields that hint at the oncoming hill country and big, wide sky. There are few roads in Texas I like driving as much as Highway 80. You just have so much room to breathe.
Third and most importantly, though, Luling is home to City Market, a classic barbecue restaurant that makes — hands-down — the best sausage you will ever put in your mouth. (Disagree with me if you want. Just know I’ll disregard your opinion on pretty much everything.) I’m generally an all-in brisket girl, but City Market sausage is the perfect blend of savory flavor, crispy casing, and just about mel(ts in your mouth. If you don’t get there early, you might not get it at all. And prepare to circle the parking lot a few times before a spot opens up.*
(I would also like to note that Luling has a lovely Buc-ee’s; the bathroom of which I once during the Texas Water Safari rubbed myself down with an entire package of baby wipes in one go and partially washed my hair in a sink in lieu of the shower I desperately needed. And now every time I go there, that’s what I think about. Memories!!!)
Anyway, the next time you drive through Luling and the smell of oil hits your nose, just remember: It’s a trap to keep you away from City Market sausage. If you fall for it and just keep on driving? Well, more for us…
*An important note: City Market in Luling is NOT the same as Luling City Market, an inferior barbecue place in Houston. Don’t be deceived. You’re welcome.