Two barbecue joints down, one more to go. My appetite was certainly slowing down, but my grandma and I were determined to see this quest through to the end. Last up on our Lockhart journey was the fabled Kreuz Market.
No surprise, Kreuz Market has been on every one of Texas Monthly's lists of the "Top 50 BBQ Joints," published in 1997, 2003, 2008, and 2013. Although their name and logo tout a "Since 1900" claim to fame, some folks consider Kreuz to be one of the newer players in the Lockhart arena. Back in 1999, there was a split in the Schmidt family which had owned Kreuz Market for the past five decades. The original building was rebranded as Smitty's Market, and this operation moved to a new location and kept the Kreuz Market name. With that in mind, it might be appropriate to place an asterisk next to Kreuz's name on the 1997 Texas Monthly list.
This joint has a huge parking lot, but we found a spot right up front courtesy of my grandma's handicapped placard. Their dining area is equally massive. I'm sure they need all the space they can get, especially on the weekends. At Kreuz, you won't find fancy things like plates, forks, or sauce for that matter. As owner Kevin Schmidt puts it, "Good meat with just a few basic seasonings cooked with the right wood correctly is all you need." Well said.
Everything on the menu sounded fantastic, but we decided to order a quarter-pound of sliced brisket (fatty, of course), some pork spare ribs, a link of original sausage, and a quarter-pound of boneless prime rib. Mmmmm. We also got a side of sauerkraut just for kicks.
The warm kraut was nice and acidic. There was dill aplenty, as well as some caraway seed. I'm not a big sauerkraut person, but my grandma liked it so much that she took the leftovers home.
A dark black crust and thick smoke ring encircled our delicious-looking slice of brisket. I dug in and almost immediately had meat juice running down my cheeks, but I didn't care. The brisket couldn't have been more tender. It had a great smoke level and just enough of Kreuz's simple seasoning to make things interesting. They should slap anyone who even asks for sauce here.
The pork and beef sausage at Kreuz is world-renowned, and for good reason. Their coarse grind on the sausage tells you that it's homemade. Our link was straight off the pit and piping hot. The soft meat had spent plenty of time in the smoker, but the crisp casing contained it nicely. Black pepper is certainly the most prominent flavor, although there was a decent amount of smoke to go around too.
I've never had smoked prime rib before, so I was really excited to try it here. One word: fantastic! The crust was very flavorful, with only a mild smokiness. That's what I was hoping for, since prime rib is delicious on its own. Just a pinch of salt and pepper was the perfect seasoning. Unsurprisingly, the meat was extremely tender. I wish more barbecue joints would put prime rib on their menu, but I'd probably go broke if they did.
We saved the pork ribs for last. Visually there wasn't much of a smoke ring, but the ribs made up for it in the flavor department. Ours were a little fatty, which made them extra moist and extra smoky. The crust was also really tasty due to the simple rub.
Brisket and pork ribs were my grandma's favorites at Kreuz. I concur on the brisket, but I was most impressed with the prime rib. If you haven't been to Kreuz Market yet, go now.
619 N Colorado St
Lockhart, TX 78644