The National Barbecue Association's annual conference, held in San Marcos over the weekend, is where one can see how the sausage is made — and celebrate it.

Kent Black, of Lockhart's Black's Barbecue, was on hand March 6 for a session at the conference.

The hour-long talk, which also featured Tim Mikeska, of Mikeska Brands Texas Bar-B-Q, was centered on the German and Czech origins of Texas sausage and how it evolved to be a Texas barbecue staple.

Black said sausage sales are trumped only by brisket at his restaurant, which began in Lockhart but recently announced plans to open a San Marcos location in late spring.

While many in the film and tech industries were descending on Austin for the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference, the Embassy Suites San Marcos Conference Center drew barbecue buffs and business people from across the United States and other countries from March 4 – 8. The NBBQA Conference & Trade Show focused on trends in the barbecue industry and offered those in the industry a chance to network.

Black's Barbecue began in the 1930s as a grocery store and meat market, Black said. Black said it was common for barbecue to be served by grocery stores and meat markets through a window. The family was in the grocery business for about 50 years before focusing solely on barbecue.

With the advent of refrigeration technology developed but not widely available, making sausage was a way to preserve the leftover cuts of meat, he said. With German ancestry on his mother's side, the Blacks made sausage the Deutsch way, and the recipe has remained the same since the 1940s, Black said.

"It's been real consistent and good for us," he said.

In a slideshow presentation, Black displayed photographs of the barbecue restaurant's equipment for making sausage. He discussed how the sausage is ground, seasoned and cased as well as why it's shaped like a horseshoe.

Black said it was a source of pride that the NBBQA chose San Marcos as the location for its annual conference and highlighted its potential for educating those interested in making barbecue.

"There is such an interest in Texas barbecue," he said. "Other parts of the country don't cook brisket like we do, so a lot of people want to come here and learn how to do it."

The conference wrapped up on March 8 with a cook-off, live music and a chance for revelers to sample the fare.