This is one of the old Czech barbecue joints where cold canned peaches are a favorite side dish. The menu has been updated by third-generation owners Nathan and Laura Novosad. Unusual cuts like lamb ribs and pork steaks are popular here. They’ve also brought house-made beans, cole slaw, cucumber salad, fresh-baked bread, and other pleasant (though untraditional) touches to the old meat market.
“My granddad started barbecuing in Taylor. He sold his place there to Rudy Mikeska and moved here in 1959,” Nathan Novosad says from behind the counter. Novosad is a Czech name, and Hallettsville is a Czech town. “My dad served barbecue on butcher paper without any sides, but when my wife, Laura, got into the business, we started making beans and slaw.” In the old days, the back of the meat market was a place where farmworkers and oil-field roughnecks could eat in their dirty coveralls. They didn’t have to get cleaned up as they would at a restaurant. The men were surprised when Laura showed up. “I freaked people out when I first started working here,” she giggles. “First a woman, and then side dishes.” Cold canned peaches were the only side dish served with smoked meat before Laura took over. “It’s a tradition around here to eat cold canned peaches with barbecue in the summer. I tried to switch from peaches in heavy syrup to fancy homemade ones, but everybody got upset,” she remembers. “Some things you just can’t change.” Pork steaks are actually slices of pork shoulder (Boston butt), but don’t buy a bone-in Boston butt roast thinking you’re going to slice it at home—you’d need a band saw to get through the bone. Ask the butcher to slice it for you.
- 1 T. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground sage
- 1/2 tsp. ground bay leaf
- 2 lbs. pork steak
Combine the seasonings, and sprinkle on the pork steaks, rubbing them into the meat well. Set up your smoker for indirect heat with a water pan. Use wood chips, chunks, or logs, and keep up a good level of smoke. Maintain a temperature bet