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Smitty's

208 S. Commerce, Lockhart, TX - (512) 398-9344
Posted By Glen Goldstein on 11/12/2007 10:28:00 PM
We did the giant BBQ tour of this area, hitting six legendary barbecues in one day:

City Market in Luling
Crosstown Barbecue in Elgin
Southside Market in Elgin
Smitty's in Lockhart
Black's in Lockhart
Louie Mueller's in Taylor

I would have to say that Smitty's was the winner of the entire bunch, although each had its merits. Why Smitty's?

The pit alone is worth a visit. Large logs sit aflame on the floor at one end of the long brick pit and the smoke is drawn to the other end. No propane here and no commercial smoker -- wood only. You step up to the counter where the pitmaster tears off a piece of butcher paper and cuts off as much barbecue as you like. You take your piece of butcher paper in to the next room -- a bright lunchroom that reminded me of a soda fountain. The old original dining room is still there, but it mostly seems like a place for friendly locals to hang out, drink a beer, and watch the pit.

(By the way, I love this system in Texas where you can order as much or as little as you like -- perfect for the giant tasting tour we were on. Many 'cues that I've been to in other regions require that you purchase an entire order or platter.)

The sausages crack when you bite them, and are juicy inside. The brisket is superb, and tied in our unofficial voting with Louie Mueller's in Taylor. The brisket at Mueller's is moister and spicier. The brisket at Smitty's is more chewy (in a good way) and just a bit less spicy, which allowed the smoke flavor to be more prominent. Both Mueller's and Smitty's serve adequate barbecue sauce on the side, but in both cases it seems more like an afterthought -- the meat is the star here. Can't comment on side dishes -- with six restaurants to hit in one day, we avoided sides in order to (barely) have room for all the food we tried.

Why didn't we hit Kreutz's on this trip? Simple -- one restaurant had to be crossed off the list before we passed out, and Kreutz's randomly got the short straw.


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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Rate this place
The Sausage Ring has long been a specialty of barbecues in this area. It doesn't have the velvet-smooth class of brisket, but its succulence is awesome.  To bite into this plump baby and feel your teeth release its juices is a sensual experience beyond words.
"The Sausage Ring has long been a specialty of barbecues in this area. It doesn't have the velvet-smooth class of brisket, but its succulence is awesome. To bite into this plump baby and feel your teeth release its juices is a sensual experience beyond words."
Michael Stern





The Texas smoke-house meat of choice -- fat-ribboned brisket, oozing juice and edged with black crust -- is here shown atop a pit-cooked pork chop with a sausage ring behind. With that bread at the far left and a couple of tall sweet teas, it's a perfect meal.
"The Texas smoke-house meat of choice -- fat-ribboned brisket, oozing juice and edged with black crust -- is here shown atop a pit-cooked pork chop with a sausage ring behind. With that bread at the far left and a couple of tall sweet teas, it's a perfect meal."
Michael Stern


Rosy slices of prime rib from the pit.  The outer rim is punchy and smoky, the pink center is beefy, juicy, and tender.
"Rosy slices of prime rib from the pit. The outer rim is punchy and smoky, the pink center is beefy, juicy, and tender. "
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A master barbecue man shows off beef sausage rings cooking in the wood-fired pit.
"A master barbecue man shows off beef sausage rings cooking in the wood-fired pit."
Michael Stern


No side dishes, no appetizers, no desserts to worry about.  Just two questions to ask:  which meat do you want, and how much?
"No side dishes, no appetizers, no desserts to worry about. Just two questions to ask: which meat do you want, and how much?"
Michael Stern


After selecting and buying your meat in the adjoining pit room, you carry it into this air-conditioned dining room and dine at these long tables.
"After selecting and buying your meat in the adjoining pit room, you carry it into this air-conditioned dining room and dine at these long tables."
Michael Stern


Towards the upper right you can see the back door opening.  As you enter you practically wade through fire and ashes to reach the order counter.  This is a scene we could not even remotely imagine back east, what with regulations and agencies and insurance concerns and all.
"Towards the upper right you can see the back door opening. As you enter you practically wade through fire and ashes to reach the order counter. This is a scene we could not even remotely imagine back east, what with regulations and agencies and insurance concerns and all."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


In the foreground, briskets bask in the smoke of slow-burning logs.  In back, one of the pit men severs a few pounds for a hungry customer.
"In the foreground, briskets bask in the smoke of slow-burning logs. In back, one of the pit men severs a few pounds for a hungry customer."
Michael Stern


The old bench-tables against the wall are no longer in use; but in their day, many tons of good meat were eaten here.
"The old bench-tables against the wall are no longer in use; but in their day, many tons of good meat were eaten here."
Michael Stern


Smitty's is in the location where the estimable Kreuz market used to be. Kreuz -- still wonderful -- has moved to the edge of town, and Smitty's maintains the tradition as though nothing has changed in decades.
"Smitty's is in the location where the estimable Kreuz market used to be. Kreuz -- still wonderful -- has moved to the edge of town, and Smitty's maintains the tradition as though nothing has changed in decades. "
Michael Stern



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