It’s tough to come to Texas and not hear about BBQ. The act of placing large cuts of meat above firewood or charcoal is ingrained in the Texas culture. All throughout the state, in both large cities and small towns, you’ll likely find BBQ shops specializing in Texas marinated beef brisket, German-style sausages, roasted pork loin and a heap of extra-filling sides.
While Austin has its share of good BBQ places, anyone wanting to experience some of the best that Texas has to offer needs to make their way down to Lockhart, Texas.
Lockhart, the self-proclaimed “BBQ Capital of Texas”, sits only 25-30 minutes southeast of Downtown Austin. At first glance, this quaint town may seem like thousands of other town-square communities in Texas. However, three legendary establishments that have been roasting meats for decades lure thousands of visitors each week as part of a ‘BBQ Road Trip’.
The main players in Lockhart BBQ are Smitty’s Market, Kreuz Market, and Black’s Barbecue.
While everyone has their preferences, the best option to take is to head down to Lockhart and try a little of each place. While tempting, make sure not to fill up on the first stop!
Smittys Market BBQ
Smitty’s, established in 1999, is a descendant of the Kreuz Market BBQ restaurant. It was founded by Edgar A. “Smitty” Schmidt, who purchased the location from the Kreuz family back in the 1948. This family-owned and operated restaurant serves some of the best ‘fall-off-the-bone’ beef and pork ribs in the state. It’s famous smoker, pictured above, roasts meats like pork, beef, chicken, sausage and turkey. On weekends, lines form out the front and back doors as people order their food right inside the smoking room. This gives diners a great view of how the meats are cooked under indirect wood-fire, and are served straight from the oven.
While the wait may be long during peak hours, it is well worth the wait. Add some Texas-style beans, potato salad, and a sweet tea, you’ll have one of the best BBQ plates available in Texas.
Established in 1932, Black’s BBQ is considered the oldest BBQ restaurant that’s been owned by the same family throughout the decades. Unlike their local competitor, Black’s has embraced technology and the world and now even offers to ship their BBQ around the world. While this is a great option for those who don’t live around here, we still recommend you take the time to eat their meat straight out of the pit.
Black’s offers a lot of the same BBQ you see around the state of Texas. You got your baby back ribs, smokey Barbecue sauce and chopped beef briskets. Whether you’re looking to order 10 pounds of turkey or smoked beef brisket, or simply looking to try one pork rib out, this is definitely worth the trip.
Kreuz Market BBQ
Kreuz Market, established in 1900, is the oldest BBQ restaurant in Lockhart. After moving into a large, prominent location off the entrance into the city (from Austin), it’s also the most popular of the three. This family-owned restaurant is very serious about their BBQ. They have strict dining policies in that they do not provide BBQ sauce (don’t ask unless you like being scolded!) , there are no forks, no salads (it’s a meat market after all) and no credit cards accepted. While appearing large and touristy, this is a very authentic and quality Texas BBQ restaurant.
Whether you’re looking to try their smoked BBQ pork sandwiches, their roasted mutton (lamb) or the standard German sausage with beef brisket, you can’t go wrong here.
These three are some of the best Texas BBQ places you can go to during your stay in Austin. The 30 minute trip down there is worth it if you only go to one place, or all three. It’s best to park in the quaint Town Square, and walk to each restaurant from there. You won’t be disappointed!
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