Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar be Que

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We are wandering West out of Austin and drift into a town called Llano Texas. This is a very small but famous place for one reason: Bar B Que. We find the reason when we spy Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar B Que. James balks since the line to get in wraps all the way around the building and it is not even noon. I begin selling James on how he could rest and read emails and news while sitting on the motorcycle. I will stand on the line. He reluctantly agrees while eyeing the empty DQ right across the street. Hurriedly I get on line as 20 more motorcycles arrive slowly circling like a flock of birds trying to find a place to land. The line moves quickly, almost too quickly. I am using the helmet radio set to urge James to come over quickly. The couple ahead of us is telling me that I am in for a real treat. ( I hope so). We round the corner of the building to face a tall man brandishing two large knives and a plastic tray similar to what you get at the McDonalds. He stands over a smokey concrete pit some 6 feet X 12 feet full of BBQ meat. He yells out ” What will you have?” Well, since I never make a quick decision about food, I push James forward. He orders a piece of prime rib and a pork rib. It is now my turn and I order a slice of pork tenderloin, some brisket, and a pork rib. All of it is slammed on a red plastic tray and handed to me. We are instructed to go inside. Once inside, the tray is taken away, each meat is wrapped in waxed paper and put on a fresh tray. Any side items that you want you add to the fresh tray. Waxed paper is your plate for lunch. We turn from the counter to face a room full of long tables full of people enjoying their lunch rooming house style. We find two seats across from each other mid table where we are separating two large groups at either end of the table. Loaves of fresh white bread, still in the wrapper are scattered around the tables. Pickles in one gallon plastic jugs and paper towel dispensers nailed to the table complete the setting. We take a seat while James gives me one of his looks but we are too hungry to say anything. The meal is fantastic and of course we have ordered too much. In conversation with our table mates, we find that one of the groups has traveled all the way from San Antonio for lunch. The group on the other side is returning from the Big Bend area of Texas and offers us a word of advice that I will hear later many times: “Never pass up a gas station without filling up”. Soon we will have a very clear understanding of the importance of these words of caution.