Lockhart is the BBQ Capital of Texas
What’s the best barbeque in Texas?
Whether you consider yourself a light fan of good barbeque or are an all-out BBQ aficionado, a road trip to Lockhart, Texas is an uncontested barbecue rite of passage. Located 35 miles southeast of Austin and just 13 miles northeast of Leisure Resort, Lockhart is a town of about 13,000 and is officially known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas. The Texas Legislature even says so!
There are four necessary stops to make on this BBQ pilgrimage, which will give you a full day’s itinerary of BBQ goodness. Don’t bother to eat breakfast, because you’ll want to come hungry. Very hungry. Arrive with your appetite, a few good friends, and prepare for an amazing culinary BBQ journey.
Start by burning some calories before you even start the feast and walk to Black’s, located just past the beautiful Caldwell County Courthouse. Back in 1932, the Black family started this joint and it is currently the oldest barbeque restaurant run by a single family in the state of Texas. Kent Black is a 3rd generation pitmaster, and along with his son Barrett, slings some of the best barbeque in the nation.
Good to Know: The line here usually gets pretty long around lunchtime, but not to fear, they (usually) don’t run out of brisket. When you order, you get your sides and desserts first, cafeteria style. Then you get to the butcher block, and when you do, don’t be shy about ordering too much! The dinosaur beef rib, pork ribs, brisket, and three types of sausage are always hot and fresh, and turkey even makes an appearance.
Be sure to share, because we are just getting started.
Kruez Market has been around since the turn of the twentieth century. But the physical restaurant you see today has only been here since 1999. A family dispute led owner Rick Schmidt to move Kruez to its current location. When you get here, go to the back of this massive restaurant to place your meat order among the brick pits. Be sure to say “Hi” to pitmaster Roy Perez along the way. You’ll know him from his iconic mutton chop sideburns.
Good to Know: Try not to come here during lunch hour or on the weekends, or you’ll be waiting in line for a spell. Then order the shoulder clod, which is like a lean brisket – it’s amazing. Sample their pork chop, both kinds of house-made sausage, and their pork ribs. The word ‘sample’ here is key because you’re only halfway done with the BBQ odyssey.
Next up is Smitty’s. Smoke-lined walls greet you as you make your way to the back of the restaurant. It’s like stepping back in time, because Kreuz Market, used to be located here. In fact, Smitty’s was first started by Rick’s sister, Nina, after a family tussle.
Good to Know: If you’re short on cash, best stop by an ATM before coming here – they do not take credit cards. Also, try to get here around mid to late afternoon to avoid the crowds, because the dining room can get pretty toasty with all those open fire brick pits. Order some brisket, some shoulder clod, pork and prime ribs, and sausage. Sample everything, but don’t go overboard, ‘cos we’ve got one more joint to hit!
The finish line is near! This joint first opened in 1978 by a former Black’s barbeque employee, and this place is where the locals go. It’s in the south part of town, well off the BBQ beaten path here in Lockhart. If you just can’t seem to get out of your car at this point, they do have a drive-through.
Good to Know: Once you get to the front of the line, grab a plate and load up on your sides – there are tons of choices. Maybe some veggies are a good choice at this point. Then share a three-meat plate (it comes with three sides). The Texas Trinity is pork ribs, homemade sausage, and brisket – get it. It’s just the right thing to do. By this time, you’ll be well and truly stuffed. But what the heck? At $11.50 per pound, you almost have to order some brisket to go – for tomorrow, of course.
So there you have it! Is your mouth watering yet? Ready for some barbecue? And a nice cold beer to wash it down? Perhaps a nap? Or both? It’s time to plan your delicious day trip from Leisure Resort!