We got back in the saddle today after few month hiatus with a trip to Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, TX. Lockhart is known as the BBQ Capital of Texas because of the amount of top notch BBQ joints in the city. From my research, Smitty’s is one of the four must stop BBQ joints in Lockhart.
Photos by Ray Pierce
We showed up a little later in the afternoon, just past the lunch rush. Smitty’s is located just off of the square in downtown Lockhart. It’s really quite a cool looking courthouse, surrounded by classic small town shops. One of these days I’ll take a side trip just to shoot photo’s of it.
When we arrived, we made our way around the back of the store. It’s a little weird, but the main entrance is on the backside. There is a street entrance, but it leads you to the back of the building. We waited in a small line, and as we walked through the entrance we were greet by a soot covered doorway that right next to the serving pit. It was complete with fire going to keep the meat warm.
I ordered brisket, a pork rib, and link of sausage so that I could get a good sampling of their offerings. By the time we got there they had already sold out of the Prime Rib, otherwise I would have gotten some of it as well. I passed on the smoked pork chop because I knew that I couldn’t hold that much. They are smoked as whole pork loins and then sliced into chops when the customer orders. The servers weigh the meat on an antique scale with a rolling dial. I didn’t want to hold up the line so I didn’t get a picture of the area. In typical BBQ fashion the meat is served on butcher paper.
Something that is a little unique is that you pay for your meat in the pit area, but your drinks and sides are paid for in the dining area. Everything is cash or check, so don’t expect to pay with credit card. Pleasantly surprising though was the cost of the meat. I was expecting to pay a lot more, but either I finally ordered an appropriate size of meat or their price per pound wasn’t as much as anticipated.
The order itself looked great. The brisket dried out rather quickly for me during the process of taking pictures before I dove in. That was a little disappointing to me. For a place that doesn’t have forks, the meat was a bit too tougher than my liking. That’s not to say that it was bad, but we are talking about a joint that’s supposed to be in the upper echelon of BBQ joints. This could be because of the time that we arrived and their constant firing of the meat in the serving pit. The brisket tasted good, but didn’t seem to have a penetrating smoke flavor. It also lacked in a thick bark, but that wasn’t a deterrent for me. It’s gotten to the point where a lot of places may have too thick of bark in my opinion and this was a nice change of pace.
The pork rib was quite nice. It had a sweet flavor to it, as if they were glazed with sweet BBQ sauce then smoked. The meat stuck to the bone just as it should. Having it too tender makes them harder/messier to eat in my opinion. Just a little tug with the teeth should be all that’s needed. The sausage link was the star of the day for me. It was plump, juicy, and well flavored. Each link looked to be smoked by itself, rather than in a chain.
After the meal we looked around a bit and were told that we could go look at the empty front counter. It contained quite a bit of old antiques used in store in an earlier time. The building itself looks to have a great character about it. You know you are in a places that’s seen it’s fair share of business through out the years.