The limestone down yonder can be brutal on tires! 🙂
The tires I had best luck with in that area of Texas have been Kenda Nevegal Pro’s with DTC rubber. They’re pretty aggressive, but the lugs on them never get shaved off on rocks and they hold up well as the miles wear on. Not the fastest rolling, but toughness is the trade-off I guess. I rode the same tire front and rear. As a rear tire, excellent climbing and braking traction. As a front tire, the deep tread holds well in turns on loose terrain, but it can break away abruptly depending on pressure (more abrupt with higher pressure). Once you know how they react, they work well up front. The Nevegal’s work fine on hard pack too, just not the fastest, as mentioned. I’ve ridden various models from Maxxis and WTB, all worked fine, but the Nevegal’s were the most confident and the only tires with which I almost never had a flat. Flats there were always the occasional cactus or mesquite thorn. So, yeah, if I stayed on the trail, I didn’t get flats. 🙂 Never had any pinch flats with the Nevegal’s (can’t say the same for the others). If you want something less aggressive as the Nevegal Pro, try the Nevegal X Pro. Kind of a heavy duty XC version. Smaller edge lugs to make the tire more rounded. Overall tread’s not as deep either. Roll pretty fast too. I have these on my XC bike, but not a lot of riding on terrain like yours with the X Pro. problem with the X pro is price, unless you can find a deal. When sizing the Nevegal Pro’s, keep in mind they run big. The 2.35’s I used measured 2.45+.
Having said all this, I’m currently back on WTB’s. My most recent trail bike purchase came with WTB’s… Trail Boss on the rear, Vigilante up front. I have ridden them on a couple of trails in north Texas that resemble the limestone rock you have in south central Texas. Handling on that stuff with them is very good, somewhat surprised, actually. The Trail Boss is not as solid when it comes to climbing and braking compared to the Nevegal, which if you look at the tread, would be expected. But it’s not bad. Can’t speak to their longevity yet.
If all I rode were trails in south central Texas, I personally would stick with Nevegal Pro’s.
The guys I know who ride those conditions regularly swear by Bontrager XR3s or XR4s. Very tough tires for dealing with strewn rocks and rock gardens and decent rolling resistance. I’ve ridden plenty of rocky and rooty trails with Specialized Fast Traks with no tire cuts or flats. The tires are pretty minimalist but they are fast and supple.