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Queing Up in Central Texas

Part 2 of 4
by Beau Been

Holly Mackerel! What a Summer it has been for those at the House of Been. With grand dreams of launching this blog and starting a new catering company (Traveling Bistro) all has gone well. We might not have been able to blog quite as much as we would have liked but all in all we're satisfied with these new beginnings. Thanks to all that have supported our new endeavors. Now on to the BBQ!

Kreuz Market, Smitty's and Black's Lockart, Tx

Part two of this report takes us to Lockhart, Texas. Considered by many a mecca for Texas Barbeque. I agree with that assessment. A relatively small Texas town supporting at least four (that I can think of) Barbeque establishments is quite a feet. Here is the low down on three of them. Mind you I don't intend to rank these one over the other. In fact I think they all have something to offer. Kreuz Market, Smitty's and Black's, were all visited on this trip to Lockhart.

First stop the BBQ-dome! Looking more like an airplane hanger than a barbeque joint Kreuz Market is huge. Massive piles of wood out back do let you know that this building must house quite a pit and it does. This establishment was built in 1999 about a quarter mile north of the original location. The original location became Smitty's which is also in the family. You see, there was a family rift that led to one side getting the the name of the original establishment and the other side got, well, the original establishment but not the name. That's why you will find very similar products at the two. On this day we sampled the lean beef (or clod or shoulder) the moist beef brisket and the Jalapeño Cheese Sausage. The beef clod is favored by Beth (my lovely and trusty wife) . She likes it because it is much more dry and virtually no fat. While I find this to be tasty and smoked to it's zenith, this cut just doesn't rock me. The flavor too one dimensional. The brisket is another story entirely. Moist, flavorful and tender. The right touch of smoke made this cut my favorite at Kreuz's. The Jalapeño Cheese Sausage was good it was not so spicy as to set your mouth ablaze but it has a nice kick. It is worth trying. Here at Kreuz's don't expect sauce or silverware, there is none. You can buy a couple of sides or a slice of cheese or an avocado but it is mostly about the meat.

Next stop Smitty's. For me, in Lockhart, it is my stand by. The atmosphere of the original meat market turned barbeque provides the charm and add to the experience. Again this place is about the meat so don't expect a bunch of sides and silverware. Order your meat with some brad or saltines and enjoy some of the best Texas Barbeque has to offer. Again we sampled Clod, Brisket, and Sausage. If there is a difference between the Clod here and Kreuz's I can't tell. The Brisket also quite similar. This is to be expected since the same methods, same style of pit and the same family are doing things same way now for for half a century. The sausage though, well, that was a different story. While this was a plain Beef Sausage as opposed to the Jalapeno Cheese Sausage it was amazing as usual. A little greasy I'll admit but or so flavorful. The texture is a little crumbly once you cut into it as opposed to a solid mass. I like that. The seasoning was perfect. I'll eat it again .... and again .... and again.

Finally we end this meatfest at Black's. Another family owned and operated (since 1932) establishment that is well worth the visit. It is different that the previous two in that it has plenty of sides and silverware and sauce. Don't be fooled though because it's still about the delicious barbecued meat. Here, I find the brisket to be special. It has a slight sweetness not found in the others tried this day. It was tender and moist as you would expect. If you made me pick just one brisket is Lockhart, (Dear Lord, please don't make me do that) it would in fact be Black's. Here we sampled the sausage too. It was not bad in any way but just didn't quite match the others. We also tried the Pork Rib. It was a nice change of pace from the beef we had gorged ourselves on but let's face it, Central Texas Barbeque is about the beef and that was the focus of this day. If I need a Pork Rib, and sometimes I do, there are other places I'll visit.

In closing, you all should come visit all these places and find your favorite. Each experience is a little different. All offer friendly service and are very dedicated to their craft. Really, it's a no loose situation wherever you try. I should mention my vegetarian, sister-in-law came with us on this trip and while she did not eat the meat she was impressed the dedication and seriousness of this BBQ mecca. She enjoyed the sides at Black's too!

Read Part 1


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