A November trip to Austin necessitated a run on Lockhart BBQ. When in the Mecca of Texas BBQ, you find yourself talking the highs and lows of what makes good BBQ. But where do you go? On Friday, a buddy and I found ourselves at Black’s BBQ. Black’s has long since been on my “must try” list so we headed there for dinner. When my friend started asking if Black’s was better than town fav Kreutz Market, I found myself smiling. “Why don’t we go there tomorrow for dinner and you can tell me?” So a weekend of smoked meat began.
Lockhart is a BBQ lovers dream. A mere 45 minute drive from Austin, it’s worth a few miles and a few minutes to try real Texas BBQ. Kreutz Market, Black’s BBQ, Chisolm Trail BBQ and Smitty’s BBQ are consistently ranked as some of the best in Texas. So choosing where to eat is a challenge. I had been to Kreutz before and wanted to expand my horizons. We went to Black’s.
I ordered two spare ribs, a link of sausage, and three slices of moist brisket. As with most Central Texas joints, you order your BBQ at Black’s by the pound. My three meat plate with a side and a beer came to $18. That is a lot of money for dinner in this hole in the wall restaurant. The sausage was flavorful but over cooked. I did not love the sausage. Next I grabbed a spare rib. The ribs were flavorful and well seasoned. However, the meat was tough and did not fall off the bone. I must admit I had doubts about Black’s. Disappointed, I looked at the moist brisket. Would it salvage my Black’s trip?
Another great thing about Central Texas BBQ is you can order your brisket lean (from the flat cut) or moist (from the point cut). I almost always choose moist. The point cut gives you deep brisket flavor and can often deliver the best smoke taste. So I grabbed my fork and took a bite. Holy smoke! That is amazing. Black’s is the best brisket I have ever had. Period. It’s that good. The deep rich crust is filled with smoke flavor. The deep red smoke ring under the crust gently gives way to moist tender brisket.
Having dove into good BBQ conversation, I am glad we decided to hit Kreutz the next night. Kreutz Market is a long-standing BBQ tradition. Kreutz started in the downtown square in Lockhart in 1900. Over several years the restaurant stayed in family hands the transitioned to family friends who had worked at the restaurant. In 1999, the owners kids got into a fight over the ownership rights. This was a big fight. In the end, Nina Schmidt got the old building and smoker pits. She named her new place Smitty’s. Rick Schmidt got the Kreutz name and moved the restaurant across town.
Kreutz market is good BBQ. If you are a sausage fan, they have some of the best. Their regular sausage is great, the jalapeño cheese is divine. The juicy sausages are slow smoked over the open pits that will have you going back for more sausage. The spare ribs were tender and tasty with a light dusting of salt and black pepper. The sausage and ribs better than Black’s in my book. However their moist brisket falls flat. The lightly smoked brisket lacked deep smoke flavor and tenderness. Kreutz had very average brisket. Additionally Kreutz doesn’t serve BBQ Sauce! They are one of several places that refuse to serve sauce. So if you are a sauce lover, you may not like Kreutz. I like sauce but it is not necessary. Unfortunatly, Kreutz brisket needed some sauce to help with the tougher texture and taste.
If you want good sausage and ribs, check out Kreutz. But in the ultimate search for brisket, you cannot miss Black’s. Their brisket is simple perfection.