Last night, when we returned from Fredericksburg to Kingsland, we stopped at Cooper’s for supper, and I can only confirm the impression I had when – years ago – I ate there for the first time: it’s the best barbeque I’ve had so far. One has to have seen and experienced Cooper’s oneself, though, as it’s difficult to describe: the “old-time pit bar-b-que“, as they describe it themselves. Everything starts outside of the restaurant, where you get in line at the warming-pit [which, of course, is Mesquite-wood-fired as are the "real" barbeque pits], and then, when it’s your turn, choose the meat and the size you want. If you want, the meat is dipped in in Llanobarbeque sauce, and then placed on a tray you carry inside. The choice of meats is two kinds of sausage [mild and Jalapeno, which, of course, is hot], ribs, brisket, chicken and steaks.
Inside the restaurant, the meat is cut up and then wrapped in brown wax paper and you proceed to the check-out, where you pay. Just before the check-out, though, you’ve had the opportunity to get coleslaw and/or potato salad and a drink. A the check-out you also get some white wax paper which serves as your plate. With all that you proceed into the very nondescript “restaurant proper” – just an unassuming large room with tables and benches, where you sit down. On the tables, Texas Toast, barbeque sauces, pickles and paper towels [to be used as napkins] are provided. And there’s also beans and onions. All that is free, btw. There are knives, forks and spoons, but no plates: you use the wax paper instead. So you just put the meat on the wax paper and start to eat.
As I said above, it was simply delicious: mouth-waterin’ finger-lickin’ good, the best barbeque I’ve ever had. The meat was very well seasoned, and then barbequed to perfection: the brisket was crisp on the outside and juicy inside and melted on your tongue. The ribs needed a tad more “tooth-work”, but that’s exactly as it should be. They were thoroughly done. The sausage – I had chosen “mild” – was very hearty. I can’t comment on the chicken other than that Mary liked it a lot.
As to “the best barbeque in Texas“: I’ve had barbeque locally – in Karnes City and in Kenedy – quite a few times, and it was always good. But Cooper’s was excellent. And I really can’t understand why people – and magazines and newspapers, at that – always sing the praises of Kreuz Market in Lockhart: they absolutely can’t compete, quite the contrary. The one time we stopped there and got barbeque to show friends of ours from Germany “real Texas BBQ”, we were ever so disappointed and secretly ashamed: the meat was dry and hard. Definitely nothing to boast about.