the barbecue capital of Texas

I kind of lean in a vegetarian direction.  But when you go to the Bar-B-Q capital of Texas, you just HAVE to be a carnivore.

And last week, when my mom and I drove out to Lockhart, Texas, for a book event, we asked around for the best BBQ and got many different opinions.  Finally, since most places around Lockhart seem to close down around six, we had an easy choice–we went to one that didn’t close ’til 8.

And, man, were we glad we did.

Because these people? They are NOT kidding around.  This is serious food.

The place is big enough to house the whole town, first of all.

And then there are the fire pits smoking the meat.  And the enormous chopping blocks, slick and black from years of smoke and melted fat.  And then there’s the fact that they will not give you a fork.  Or BBQ sauce.  Because it’s a “no fork, no sauce” kind of place.

No hiding that brisket in barbecue sauce.  No cutting it with utensils.  You have to tear it with your bare hands and eat it like a man.

Which feels deliciously naughty, totally exhilarating, and a tiny bit traumatizing.  Especially if you’re a lapsed vegetarian.

Barbecue like that is the reason people love barbecue.  And it made the barbecue I’m used to seem pathetic and plastic and weak.  It made it seem like this barbecue was real, and everything else that called itself barbecue was false.

Kreuz’s market has been cooking barbecue for 110 years, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that something about eating there–food so foreign to me and yet so much a part of my own German-Texan heritage–made me feel like I was in the presence of something larger than myself.  Something that spanned generations.  Some lost part of my own history.

And that makes for a hell of a meal.

7 responses to “the barbecue capital of Texas”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Fellow Texan vegetarian here – but also former carnivore and lover of chicken fried steak and bbq. That place is legend and probably had to be sampled! (did you feel blarpy after though? – it’s been so long since I ate that stuff, I am kind of afraid to!)

    Cheers and love your Lockhart stories.


    • I love that word “blarpy”! Did you make it up? I’m going to start using it and just shepherd it right on into the lexicon! And, no–we didn’t feel too blarpy. Maybe psychologically blarpy, but physically so. Go beef!

  2. David says:

    I think I will need to travel to Lockhart in the not to distant future and get me some of that. I never thought that when I started reading your blog I would be fortunate enough to get reviews of barbecue.

  3. detes says:

    Love that Lockhart bar-b-q.

  4. That barbecue looks mouthwatering! And you’re right it looks like I could eat it even without the sauce. Most barbecue that I’ve tried are usually drowning with way too much barbecue sauce that you can no longer taste the meat itself. I always come back to places where they took barbecuing seriously and not just brag about this and that barbecue sauce.

  5. The Queer Next Door says:

    I must be a barbecue whimp … I have to have at least a little sause …

    wonder if would they be upset if I BMOS.

    Great review. I’d sure try it (even w/o the sauce).

  6. Kelly says:

    Just stumbled on your website via Tea and Cookies. We just brought a car load of Canadians to Kreutz Market a few weeks ago and they were in heaven. I lean veg too and just couldn’t do it but it is still a very interesting experience. Great photos!