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Monday, October 13, 2014
Smitty's Market (Lockhart, TX)
My grandma was starting to get a little full after our first barbecue sampling in Lockhart, but she was still in high spirits as we made our way to stop number two: Smitty's Market.
Smitty's started their barbecue operations back in 1999 (well, technically around 1900), and since then they've been included in two of the four Texas Monthly "Top 50 BBQ Joints" lists in 2003 and 2008. However, it's not quite that cut and dry. Due to a 1999 split in the Schmidt family, the historic Kreuz Market essentially split as well. The original operation became Smitty's Market under the leadership of Nina Schmidt Sells, while Rick Schmidt kept the Kreuz Market name and moved to a new building. With that in mind, Smitty's was essentially part of the 1997 Texas Monthly list as well, at least as far as I'm concerned.
When you walk through their Commerce Street doors into the big, open corridor, it really feels like a turn of the century meat market. Smitty's dining area has been revamped some, but still has a sense of rustic charm. The long tables are great for making new friends, which is my grandma's specialty.
We ended up ordering a quarter-pound of sliced brisket, a quarter-pound of beef shoulder clod, a link of their original sausage, and a couple of pork ribs. At my grandma's request, we also tacked on a side of potato salad.
The potato salad was served ice cold. It had a decent flavor, but there wasn't as much of a strong pickle/pimento aftertaste as I was hoping for. But I didn't come here for vegetables, so I'll let that one slide.
I forgot to request fatty brisket, but that's ok. Our slices still had some good fat mixed in, despite being a leaner cut. They also had a commendable smoke ring, as well as a great smoky flavor courtesy of the well-rendered fat that had soaked it all up. I thoroughly enjoyed the tasty seasoning on the brisket's crust. The meat was much more tender and juicy than I had initially predicted. Well done.
Smitty's big, plump, all-beef sausage looked spectacular, and it tasted even better. The dark casings were crisp, but the meat inside was extremely tender. The smoke had also penetrated the casing nicely. The sausage was flecked with quite a bit of black pepper, which was slightly spicy and added a good flavor. Of all the places I've been in Lockhart, Smitty's definitely had the best sausage.
Beef shoulder clod is certainly a leaner cut of meat in general, but it was delicious nonetheless. The crust was full of flavor, as was the meat itself. Minimal seasoning worked well here. The big hunk of beef still had plenty of smoke, further evidenced by the bright red ring around the edges. This was my grandma's first encounter with shoulder clod, and she really enjoyed it.
The pork spare ribs did not disappoint either. Here again, the light seasoning allowed the pork to be the star of the show. I noticed just a hint of sweetness, suggesting a glaze. The meat was tender and quite juicy, coming off the bone with ease. My grandma thought the ribs were a little tough, but she has dentures, so take that with a grain of salt.
Whether they've been in operation since 1900 or 1999 is up for debate, but one thing is certain: Smitty's knows how to smoke some damn fine barbecue.
208 S Commerce St
Lockhart, TX 78644