No trip to the Austin or San Antonio areas is ever complete for me without a trip inside the storied walls of Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas.It’s become a staple of my travels, and I simply refuse to return to Dallas without a trip to Smitty’s. If you are beginning to notice a pattern with a town called Lockhart, it’s quite intentional, as Lockhart is considered the BBQ capital of Texas, and home to two of the top three BBQ joints in the state.

View from the back entrance.

On any given day, Smitty’s is probably my favorite BBQ that I have been to.Interior walls of Smitty’s could be considered works of art by themselves, as decades of smoke have seasoned them with a layer of blackened char that leaves little doubt about the heritage and tradition contained within this storied meat market.Hallowed brick pits at Smitty’s command reverence, and stand as ancient monuments to the fading art of slow and simple cooking.The carving room itself carries a church like atmosphere where the only sounds penetrating the silence are the crackling embers of burning oak and the brusquely whispered orders of eager patrons.

I ordered up my usual pile of protein at Smitty’s with the three wiseman equally represented: brisket, sausage and ribs.As always the brisket was well penetrated with smoke throughout, and every morsel was melt in your mouth tender.The sausage was done perfectly and snapped with each flavorful bite.Now if only they would offer a Jalapeno sausage like Kreuz’s….The ribs are what truly shine at Smitty’s, however, as they are smoked perfectly throughout with a telltale pinkish hue and finished ever so subtly with a sweet glaze.In fact, the food on this day was so tasty we even sidled back into the smoke room for a second round…

Simply put, if you’re looking for a one of a kind combination of vintage atmosphere and truly world class barbecue in Texas, Smitty’s should be at the top of a very short list.

One final note: If you’re looking for one dead giveaway of a genuine barbecue joint, have a look out the back door.If you see a giant pile of hardwood like Smitty’s, you know you’re in the right place…

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