We’d spent the morning in Taylor, Texas tasting barbecue, and now we were heading to Lockhart.
For as much ‘atmosphere’ as the two joints in Taylor, Texas had, Kreuz Barbecue’s enormous new building (as of 1999, so by Texas Barbecue standards, it is in its infancy) has none. They tried to give it the Olde Tyme look, but thats just not something you can fake.
You also can’t fake good meat cooked right, and Kreuz had plenty of that.
This is Kreuz’s lean brisket. Lean, by the way, seems to be a word used in a broadly comparative sense. As in: this is lean meat compared to bacon. Or fat back.
The lean brisket from Kreuz was quite moist and lightly seasoned: it tasted mostly of mellow beef.
Below is the clod (a.k.a. shoulder clod), which is a rich, fatty– and yes, delicious cut of meat. It’s not about the seasoning at Kreuz– it’s all about the robust meatiness, enhanced (and not overwhelmed) by post oak smoke.
The pork wasn’t as rich as the clod, but again– the true flavor of the pork came through. If only this wasn’t our third stop…
Fortunately, my friend Cathy Whims and I spotted real, live vegetables on the buffet table. We grabbed each other in excitement. We were ready to crunch!
Alas, those are not carrot sticks, they are cheese sticks. Crestfallen, Cathy and I proceeded down the buffet line, filling yet another “plate”. (I use the word “plate” loosely. At Kreuz, as everywhere, lengths of brown butcher paper torn from rolls served as our plates.)
Kreuz’s jalapeno sausage picked up my spirits. That’s it below, snuggled up against the squishy white bread. The kick of heat tasted especially good in the company of all that meat– almost like a palate cleanser. Yes! Refreshed by the punch of jalapeno, I was ready to taste still more.
Starting with the bread and heading clockwise: lean brisket, clod, pork, sausage, jalapeno sausage (my hands-down favorite sausage of the day)…and in the center, our imitation veggie (aka cheese stick) and the obligatory pickle.
619 North Colorado St.
I am a sucker for a barbecue joint with real character, and Smitty’s Market got me where it counts– before I even tasted a thing.
I had a good feeling about the place. These are some nice looking wood piles:
Smitty’s, it turns out, was founded in 1900 by a fella named Kreuz, who later sold it to Smitty Schmidt. Like Kreuz Barbecue, Smitty’s is ranked among the top five barbecue joints in the state by Texas Monthly magazine.
Here’s where all that wood gets used to smoke brisket and clod:
And here, in the pit where the sausage is smoked.
This sausage just came out of the pit:
And here it is on my ‘plate’, waiting to be eaten. Just below the sausage is fall-apart tender clod with it’s rich, meaty flavor buoyed by judicious use of a spice rub; and to the left is their brisket, which we all agreed was dry.
Best of all at Smitty’s– and that’s saying a lot, because Smitty’s was our favorite clod of the day– were the meaty ribs.
- A Girl and Her Rib… Or, Cathy Does ‘Cue
- (This is our friend Cathy Whims, who also happens
- to be the highly-acclaimed chef and co-owner of
- Portland’s Nostrana restaurant)
208 S. Commerce
Our last stop of the day was at a park, where we made a picnic of Luling Bar-B-Q. Just when I thought I could not possibly eat another bite…just when I was sure the button of my shorts would pop if I did…just when I thought I was going to go into a food coma… piles of the succulent looking sausage and ribs were brought out.
Who am I to resist such offerings? Surely I could manage just one or two more bites, in the name of expanding my knowledge and understanding, and providing better service to my readers. Surely I could do that.
And so I lifted a piece of shiny, fat sausage from its pond of grease and put it in my mouth. It was oddly soft, almost mushy. Strange. And savory: this sausage was the most highly seasoned food we’d had all day. After all the meatiness, all the earthy flavor… herbs and spices tasted and smelled remarkably vivid and new, like when you see the first green shoots of spring pop through the dreary brown soil. As quickly as my excitement rose, it diminished, because as flavorful as the sausage was, it was also soft and greasy.
My last bite for the day, no-matter-what-anyone-says-or-puts-in-front-of-me, will be the Luling ribs. The chatter in our group about these has been going on all day, with phrases like “saving the best for last” batting around.
I can’t bear the idea of taking an entire rib for myself at this point, so I take a bite from my husband’s. I get up from the bench, walk over to the cooler and grab a soda. I swig down a few swallows and head over to food table; I grab a paper towel and a rib, return to the bench. Quietly and trance-like, I eat the entire sweet and gooey, moist, meaty glazed pork rib. We did, indeed, save the best for last.
709 E Davis St