Several months ago, I embarked on a Texas BBQ mini crawl and I loved every minute of it. Franklin BBQ in Austin already set the bar pretty high with its mouthwatering brisket and turkey, but I wanted to feel and experience old-time Texas history. That's why I scheduled a visit to the city of Lockhart. About a half hour drive south of Austin, Lockhart was declared the Barbecue Capital of Texas. According to the city website, it is estimated that over 5,000 people visit the city each week -- just for BBQ. So what would I think about the BBQ that Lockhart has to offer? Let's explore Smitty's, first.
Another memorable sight at Smitty's is their pit and fire set up. I've seen it countless times on TV, but it was finally in front of my eyes. The smoker is very distinct looking -- it basically looks like a dumpster with an open flame pit off to one side. You can see the wood burning right in front of you, and there's no barrier or gate to prevent anyone from stumbling on it. Safe to say, you do not want to be horsing around that area or you'll be burned to a crisp. Plus, I can just imagine how hot and humid the place can get on a summer day.
I ordered the fatty brisket and their signature sausage. They serve the meat on butcher paper, along with some saltine crackers and several slices of white bread. With the first bite of the brisket, all I could taste was a lot of fat. I don't mind fat with BBQ, but it has to be rendered down enough so that it melts in your month. At Smitty's, I had to chew the fat -- and it was very tough to eat. Slicing the brisket along with the grain didn't help either. I also noticed that there was very little smoky flavor in the meat. I did enjoy the smoked ring sausage -- it was juicy and full of flavor, which was peppery and beefy.