|Smitty's Market oak wood pile & Caldwell County courthouse. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)
At the Posse, we're ready to declare State Highway 130, the high-speed tollway that skirts Austin, the Barbecue Super Expressway.
However, we're beginning to wonder whether Lockhart, one of the main stops on that highway, still deserves its title as the BBQ capital of Texas.
Yes, we know that's borderline smoked-meat heresy. But on our recent Best of Texas Tour, we ate at three Lockhart joints and only one -- Kreuz Market -- made our top tier of six. The others -- Smitty's Market and Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Que -- were well off the pace.
In Texas Monthly's last Top 50 ratings in 2008, Kreuz and Smitty's both made the top five. Kreuz should be there again when the new ratings come out this year. Smitty's? Our guess is no. It is a historic place and has great atmosphere, but it doesn't serve historic barbecue, at least not during our recent stop. Lots of places are equal or better.
(Note to fans of Black's Barbecue: The Posse has always been split on the place so we passed during this trip.)
Lockhart is about 225 miles from Dallas and on the return home those first 60 miles evaporated. The speed limit on some parts of the tollway is 85 mph. Posse co-founder and wheelman Chris Wilkins set the cruise control at 88 on our rented Chrysler minivan and before long Georgetown, where 130 meets I-35, was in the rear view mirror.
We made it home, with one stop, in just over three hours. Thank you, SH 130.
|Smitty's Market has amazing atmosphere, but the meat doesn't rise. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)
|Don't let the long lines fool you, Chisholm Trail BBQ in Lockhart isn't worth the wait. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)
|All 3 meats at Kreuz Market were amazing, one of the best in Texas. (Photo ©Chris Wilkins/Texas BBQ Posse)