Annual Pilgrimage to Lockhart
Bostonian making annual pilgrimage to Lockhart on upon arrival at Austin. Have been to the big three: Kreuz (just OK) Smitty's and Black's - both are stellar and somewhat different. Anything new going on or anything to watch out for this year? thanks in advance...
I persist in my humble belief that Louie Mueller's in Taylor is the best BBQ in Texas (and therefore, by definition, the best BBQ in the world). I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but hell, you're withing 30 or 40 miles. Just drive on up and have one more plate of brisket and sausage. Absolutely must try the sausage at Mueller's. If you get the brisket, ask for it with some fat. It's better that way.
I'm like Northender, going to Lockhart once a year (3 years in a row now). Just came back from there & went to Kreuz's. To Northender's question about changes, I'd say the menu, clientele, atmo etc. looked about on par. I think these places don't change much, but I agree with those who say it makes a difference when you get there. I showed up at 12:30 p.m. & all the meat, at minimum, was fresh and tender.
We used to go to Kreuz's in the '80s when it was in the downtown location where Smitty's is now. What amazed me when I was there last Friday was the price. Prime rib is $17+ a pound. I ordered what I considered to be a thin slice & it was 10 bucks. I got some brisket (fatty first cut), sausage and ribs. The prime rib didn't seem to benefit from the wood smoke very much & IMO wasn't worth the money. The sausage was OK, but I personally like the all-beef of times gone by & am not sure you can really find it at any of these places. (Anybody know whether you can?) Best thing about Kreuz was the ribs . . . very tender, smokey, FOTB, with nice peppery rub. I agree with above assessment of brisket, good but not superior to Smitty's etc. Is the beef shoulder clod any better?
All this being said, meal was culinary ephiphany, way better than anything I can get in Washington DC area where I live.
In the past week, I have had the distinct pleasure of hitting Kreuz's and Smitty's in Lockhart, and City Market in Luling. The ribs I had at City Market were transcendent: a thin, crisp char on top, with moist, tender, juicy meat beneath. I almost regretted getting the brisket and hot link (although those were very good), and nearly ate the bones. At Smitty's, I finally got the prime rib, and was not disappointed (I'm such a fan of Smitty's pork chop, I rarely stray from ordering it). My only regret was not ordering a bigger piece. At Kreuz's I had the brisket, which was good, but did not send me to the ecstatic heights I reached at Smitty's and City Market. Eating at these places makes the world seem like a lot better place than it really is.
re: Dallas Alice
We did make it down to Luling and I have to agree, the ribs were great and so were the links. We then went to Smitty's which was also great and we had disagreement about which sausage were better - I voted for Smitty's the others for City Market. We all agreed on the ribs and the brisket was a tie. The folks at City Market were really friendly and Smitty's was, well... Smitty's. But it really great to stand in the pit room on a cold day waiting to order. For us Yankees, Lockhart and Luling are shrines. Next year we hope to get to Elgin and Taylor. Thanks to all for their advice.
(oh and dinner at the Austin Four Seasons wasn't shabby either - although not as much fun as Luling/Lockhart)
Yes, Austin now has its own board. This is being discussed in the following threads on the "Site Talk" board (which is probably where any such discussion should remain):
One of the specific concerns I mentioned in one of those threads (and which wasn't responded to by the mods, as far as I know) was the ambiguity about whether posts about non-Austin towns in Central Texas (e.g., Lockhart, Luling, Elgin, Taylor, Llano, Marble Falls, etc.) go on the Texas board or on the Austin board.
Anyway, as for Northender's specific question, I'd say you're still best served by going to Lockhart if you want the highest concentration of great barbecue. If you want to branch out for some other very well-respected legends in the area, you could consider heading up to Taylor (Mueller's and, room permitting, Vencil's), stopping in Elgin for hot guts at Southside Market along the way. If you don't mind a longer drive and have interest in a different style of barbecue (i.e., direct heat pits over mesquite coals), you could head west to Cooper's in Llano, with a stop at Inman's Ranch House in Marble Falls for turkey sausage.
Welcome back to Texas, Northender. Enjoy the barbecue.
PS For some photos of some of these places, see the following links:
Wow, thanks Scott. This is great stuff. A lot to chew on. We will probably go back to Lockhart since we have new Pilgrim joining us this year but.. there will be other visits.
I was interested in whether there were any changes, subtle or otherwise, in the Lockhart area. thanks again.