Kruez Market is one of the more storied BBQ places in Lockhart, the business has been in operation since 1900. It was originally located and ran in the building where Smitty’s Market is located today. As I understand it, the Kruez Market was owned by Edgar Schmidt. The business was left to Rick Schmidt (son), and the building that housed Kruez Market just off the town square was left to Nina Schmidt Sells (daughter). After a “disagreement” in the late 1990′s, Rick decided to build a new building for Kruez Market on the north side of Lockhart where it resides today.
Photos by Ray Pierce
The building itself is huge and is a rusty barn red color and shape. When you enter you pass some old scales and equipment from older era. You wait in line in a central corridor that has dining rooms on either side of it. The one of the left is not used as much as the other. The dining room on the right also houses the area where you purchase your sides and drinks, which I assume is why it’s used more. One you enter the pit area, you are met by two different counters that can serve up to four people simultaneously. Behind those counters are butcher blocks, and an array of brick pit smokers. It’s quite a massive room with really tall ceilings. You get the faint smell of smoke in there, but it is not as concentrated as the other places that we’ve visited in Lockhart.
For today’s order I got 1/2 lbs of brisket, 1 hot beef sausage link, 2 pork spare ribs, and a slice of pit ham. I also ordered some sauerkraut and a bottled Big Red soda. The one thing that I’ve been impressed with in Lockhart is the price point of meat. Generally it’s been about 15 for the amount of meat we order, and another 3 or 4 dollars for the sides and drinks. Generally in total it’s around $20 for me.
As for the food itself, I’ll start with the best of the day. The pit ham was delicious. When we visited a few years ago it was the same, I’m glad it stay consistent. By it’s nature ham is a bit salty, but not more than my expectations. The beef sausage link wasn’t really remarkable or flavorful, but it was moist. If I would have remembered I would have gotten the jalapeno cheese sausage link, at least it had flavor. The pork ribs were paltry in size (maybe 3/4 of an inch wide), and tough as jerky. The rub on them was a bit heavy on the salt, but still manageable. They weren’t what I would serve to my customers.
That brings me to the
leather, I mean brisket. It was so dried out that the strands of meat were snapping. In my serving I also got a charred in the brisket, which tends to keep a lot of the smoke flavor. This one though, was like chewing leather, and was left on my plate. The rub on the brisket was a bit heavy on the salt just like the ribs, but the flavor of the more center cuts was decent. The meat still maintained a decent sized smoke ring. All in all, there’s no way that I’ll order the brisket here again. The sauerkraut was good, but nothing to write home about. You just don’t see it on many places menus.
Kreuz Market is a significant place for EatsBBQ. This is the place that we got the idea for putting together a site for BBQ reviews. So this is essentially where we began. We had heard from friends, family and coworkers was that the BBQ in Lockhart was the best around. So we packed up and decided to give it a go back in 2009. One of the reasons that the idea for this site surfaced was that we were really disappointed in the product that we got. Much like today’s outing, it didn’t live up to anything that anyone had talked about. I’m beginning to think that all the talk about Lockhart BBQ is more of a marketing ploy than actually good BBQ.
There’s still a couple of places left that I’m going to try there, but my hope is waning. Black’s and Chisholm Trail are still on the list to visit.