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Smitty's

208 S. Commerce, Lockhart, TX - (512) 398-9344
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/14/2009 10:59:00 AM
Smitty’s operates from the building in which Charles Kreuz opened his grocery store over a century ago. That store is what put Lockhart on the map as a destination for superb Texas barbecue. In 1948, Kreuz sold the business to the Schmidt family, who operated it until the mid-1990s, when a family feud split them up and sent the Kreuz Market out to a big new building.

In this old place, customers used to sit at wood counters against the wall, where the only utensil was a knife chained to a post so that everyone could use it to cut their sausage, if desired. The creaky wood counters are no longer in use; and you now dine at long communal tables in a front room that is cool, quiet, and comfortable.

But in the back room, logs still burn in the old pit, which turns out gorgeous, juice-laden sausage rings, big-flavored brisket, and insanely succulent prime rib. Order your food here, and it is presented to you on butcher paper, which you carry up front to one of the tables in the air conditioned dining room. Most people know to eat this meat with their hands. It’s too tender for utensils, and too nice not to touch. Plastic spoons are available (for eating beans) as well as knives for cutting sausage.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
sausage ring
Prime Rib
brisket
Pork Ribs
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

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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