meat sundaes: BBQ comparison in austin, (and lockhart) TX

Lockhart TX BBQ Comparison Review: Where to Go For What. Brisket, Ribs, and Rings (Sausage), which Lockhart TX establishment has the best of each? No holding back…

More of my “Dude Ranch” photos >>

Yesterday we drove to Lockhart, the BBQ Capital of Texas, to taste-test some meat sundaes. They weren’t real meat sundaes the way they’re done in Montana, with a pile of “moist” brisket as the base, piled with baked beans, a layer of sausage rings, then a scoop of creamy coleslaw. Instead, it was meat by the pound served on sheets of wax paper (no forks allowed!) with a loaf of white bread. I turned to Phil. “I wonder what people here watch on TV.”
“Dirty Jobs.”

Lockhart, TX BBQ Comparison

More of my meaty characters photos >>

“Moist” brisket– it’s not commonly known– actually, quite simply, means FATASS. It’s for people who want elbow cellulite. We ordered a quarter pound of said brisket with each stop we made. We hit up Smitty’s, where the baby back ribs were lacquered with molasses. Avocados and blocks of cheese were sold upon checkout. The brisket was sliced thick and deckled with fat, then scooped off the waxy paper into my mouth. “Eh,” I said. “Not for me. But these ribs… I like my ribs to taste like meat candy.” I want my ribs to be shellacked in a sticky sugary sauce, and please for the love of God, don’t mess them up by smoking them. Ew. That said, Smitty’s ribs were by far my favorite.


Onward to Black’s Barbecue, which is where I’d send someone if they could visit only one of the BBQ stops in Lockhart. For it’s brisket and its sides of creamed corn, deviled eggs, Nilla banana pudding, and peach cobbler. Its brisket, Phil and I agreed, trumped anything we’d ever tasted, including the offerings of Rudy’s, The County Line, and yes, even The Salt Lick. It was heartwarmingly tender and reminded me of my childhood. The brisket was threaded with fats that had broken down under heat, rendering the slices into meat accordions, glistening, tender, with the perfect salty sting on the outer edges. It coats your mouth in a velvety bloom and reminds you of campfire and fine holiday dinners when the house was cleaned for company… all at once.

Lockhart, TX BBQ Comparison
Kruetz market
is the Bergdorf’s of meat. It’s a powerhouse offering dried meats behind glass cases, as if they’re upmarket jewels. Of course when we walked in to the smoking room–pits of fire attached to long dark smoking boxes, low to the ground– Phil made some comment about “This way to the showers,” that still disturbs me. The weekend ended with a meat coma and one little boy he made pee pee on the pot for the very first time. Lucas fell asleep holding the car sticker he’d earned for his effort.

3 YEARS AGO: Pulling Strings
5 YEARS AGO: In a Cab Headed North, He was Headed South



  1. How funny, my boyfriend and I made a road trip from Austin to Lockhart ourselves on Sunday for BBQ. We went to Smitty's and I have to agree that their ribs were the best then the sausage, and like you I did not care for the brisket.

  2. Totally off topic, but did you keep the puppy? What did you end up naming it?

    Also, forgive my ignorance, but I thought pork was off limits to Jews? Or is that just a certain group?

  3. What about Rudy's? Same kind of thing dump the meat mountain on the table and go at it. Amazingggggg food! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  4. The best loved "Q' here in Great Falls, Montana
    is called Big Mouth Barbecue, and it's owned by a guy from Texas. He calls his meat sundae a Cowboy cocktail.

  5. "This is the way to the showers"
    Well, what do you tell yourself that allows you to ignore what it is your eating?

  6. Ya know, I never woulda figured you for a BBQ gal :) Thanks for the review – I need to get my butt on down to Lockhart for some brisket.

    FROM SK: I'm really not. I went for Phil. I could do without meat. Forever. Except I'd miss lamb and an occasional cheeseburger.

  7. I gotta say it. And yes, I know this is against the Austin religion.

    I can't stand the Salt Lick. I've had better BBQ from a microwaveable tub.

    I know it's an Austin icon and such, but…no thanks!

  8. I gotta say it. And yes, I know this is against the Austin religion.

    I can't stand the Salt Lick. I've had better BBQ from a microwaveable tub.

    I know it's an Austin icon and such, but…no thanks!

  9. I just don't get it. You? In Texas? It's just wrong. There's just nothing more incongruent. Really.

  10. "This way to the showers"? Freaking hilarious! In a very, very, twisted way. I think I would get along with Phil just fine. Jay

  11. I GUFFAWED at Phil's comment. Sick and so, so wrong. And I'm not insensitive I just have a black sense of humor. Phil's hilarious.

    I agree with the commenter who is kind of still in shock you are in Texas.. and for this long! I feel that way about myself and we are planning our escape as soon as my DH can transfer the hell out of here through his company. But good for you for seeing the sights, etc while you are still here. Make the best of it and all of that. The meat pictures made me gag.. I recently stopped eating it (something to do with re reading 'The Jungle'..) and..yeah. I think the wine is a ok though.

  12. A BBQ girl after my own heart. Blacks is my absolute favorite. We order it long distance for big parties, at least brisket anyway. Smitty's I don't care for, but the rest on your list are all stops on my visits to Austin, but Black's tops the list. We always buy extra to take back with us. There is NO good Texas-style bbq here in D.C. Now I'm craving Black's brisket and nilla pudding. Darn.

  13. I've seen two of the places you mention featured on the Travel Channel.

    "Best BBQ" I think it was.

    The waxed paper seems like it would be fun.

  14. Stephanie,
    Yuck… never mention Rudy's. They are NOT in the same league as the Hall of Fame greats of Texas BBQ. They are a CHAIN!

    I learned at my German Texan father's knee that good BBQ is beef. In fact it wasn't until I was in college that I learned that BBQ can be more than barbequed beef (brisket or shoulder).

    At Smitty's I recommend getting the shoulder instead of the fatty brisket. It's to DIE FOR!

    I live in Dallas and we are BBQ deprived. All the best BBQ is in Central Texas. You have close access to Luling's City Market (a diva in the realm of Texas BBQ). Elgin's Southside Market is another great one. And of course Louis Mueller's in Taylor really close to Dell Field where the Roundrock Express baseball team plays. And of course there is Lockhart the holy grail of BBQ towns with several. My hubby and I prefer Smitty's over Kreutz, but I may have to try Black's now that you rave about it.

    Just be happy that you're in Central Texas. There may be no good deli's in Texas (especially here in Dallas) as my Jewish husband from Michigan complains. BUT there is damn good oak or mesquite smoked cow, pig and even chicken. Vegetarians pretty much know to stay the HELL out of Texas!
    (Just kidding!)

  15. ahh- haven't been to your blog in a long while- but we are headed to Austin tomorrow and have been debating whether to take a side trip to lockhart… if we do I guess we will have to go to black's…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.