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Nanette’s Picks for a Texas Bar-BQ Fix

This is serious y’all!

While getting out of my vehicle in front of The Donut Palace at 7:00 am, I could smell smoke. Not the bad kind…the best kind: BBQ smoke. I am in Lockhart, Texas, and in 2003, the Senate passed a resolution proclaiming Lockhart to be “The Barbecue Capital of Texas.”

Lockhart is located between San Antonio and Austin and has a population of fewer than 13,000. There are four, yes, FOUR barbecue joints in this small town, and they take their BBQ techniques very seriously.

Being the food snob that I am, I decided to try them all and give my opinion. That is all it is, an opinion, so here ya’ go!

  • First up, Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que. Grab your plate and help yourself to salad and sides. Pick out whatever and how much you would like and keep going down the line. At the end of the line you decide which meats (plural) you would like and your choice of drink. I decided on the brisket and sausage with a frosty beverage. I was then asked, “How many slices do you want?” “Oh! Ummmm two please.” Two slices were carved off and placed on a scale, then put on my plate. Ahhhhh, you pay by the pound. Gotcha! My tab was under $9.00 for two slices of brisket, sausage, three sides and my frosty beverage.
    My taste: The brisket had a great smoky flavor, but too much fat. When you are paying by the pound that is not cool with me. The sausage was good, but fell apart when sliced.

  • Next day I rounded the corner and stopped at Black’s Barbecue. Blacks was established in 1932 and boasts, ‘Oldest in Texas – Same Family.’ Once again, pick out your sides then decide on the meat. I wanted to keep my judging fair, so I picked out the same thing I had yesterday, brisket and sausage, but this time I chose the jalapeno and cheese sausage. YUMMY! The total was just over $10.00 for two slices of brisket, sausage, two sides and water.
    My taste: Great brisket, but again too much fat. The sausage was outstanding and my favorite.

  • Lunchtime again? Okay, here ya’ go: Smitty’s Market, the newest joint in town and a little different. I walked in the open door and BAM! I was in the pit. With logs burning on each end, and the smoke and heat being sucked into the pit, it smelled so good! Once again I ordered the brisket and sausage. “How many slices dear?” the grandmotherly woman behind the counter asked. “Two please ma’am,” I replied. As the young man started carving my brisket, two sheets of brown butcher paper were placed on the counter, a ring of smoked sausage, a knife, and—after being weighed—my brisket. The paper was scrunched up and handed to me. I paid for the meat and was told to go through the doors and get my drink. I asked for a glass of sweet tea and looked for the sides. There weren’t any. Also, there are no forks or sauce. Just eat your meat. Total damage: $7.00 for two slices of brisket a ring of sausage and tea.
    My taste: The brisket won here! Great flavor, very little fat and fell apart. The sausage was tasty, but VERY greasy. I had to get a napkin to wipe up the grease mess that soaked through the two pieces of paper.

  • On day four I’m off to Kreuz Market. Kreuz is the oldest BBQ joint in town having been in business since 1900. They also have the big pit with the burning wood on either end. (Just so you know, Smitty’s is a spin-off of Kreuz—one of those family feud things.) I placed my meat order and you guessed it: brisket and sausage, but this time only one slice of brisket. (I’ve had enough) Once again, the meat was placed on brown butcher paper and I was given a knife, no fork. I paid for the meat and walked through a set of doors to get my drink and side—a glass of tea and a serving of mac and cheese—for a total of $7.00.
    My taste: I must have gotten an outside piece because there was very little edible meat on my one slice. The sausage was good, but greasy.

After four days of BBQ I am eating vegan for a few weeks to give my body a break from all the smoky goodness, but I will be back!

Share your favorite Texas Bar-BQ spots in our Best Places contest, especially if you’ve tried Lockhart’s digs!