208 S. Commerce St.
Lockhart, TX 78644
Open M-F 7-6, Sat. 7-6:30, Sunday 9-3
The sweet glazed pork ribs were huge and meaty, but needed more time on the smoker to render out those gobs of fat. The end cut off the pork chop was an excellent cut with plenty of seasoning and great smokiness. The meat was moist, and the chunks of fat were nicely rendered. Clod wasn't ready so we opted for brisket which was the biggest disappointment. The tough slices held little smokiness, and while they were well seasoned, they needed much more cooking time to tenderize. The fat remaining on each slice was also a bit chewy and unappetizing. This is odd since Smitty's has a knack for making fat appetizing, seriously.
Finally, there's just something about the attitude the staff here. The meat cutter almost seemed annoyed that he had to stop his smoke break at the counter to go back and cut off some brisket for us. I know they'll get the business regardless of the level of service, but it would add so much to the mystique and small town feel of this joint if they just made a sincere effort to help their customers enjoy what can be a great meal.
2009: Something about watching a man in a grease stained white jacket and a large knife portioning out my lunch, makes me crave it even more with every slice. Service is curt and efficient at this Lockhart legend, but the only niceties I need were piled on that butcher paper.
An order of fatty brisket, lean shoulder clod, ribs, sausage and a large pork chop were tantalizing atop the greasy butcher paper. The sweet glaze on the ribs adds a great flavor to the meat, but the smokiness was missing. The fatty brisket had too much unrendered fat, but the flavor from the rub was great. The smokiness was better than the ribs, so it surprised me that the shoulder clod was missing the smoke factor. It was good enough, but not to the level that I've come to expect from Smitty's.
The pork chop and the sausage were the best. The sausage was fatty with a good snap, and a great smoky flavor, while the pork chop was equally good. It could have been a little more moist, but the delicious crust made up for it.
On our way out we noticed this older man taking a smoke break in this historic corridor, and something about the picture just oozes Smitty's.
While they didn't get the coveted sixth star, this is still a must on any BBQ trip in this region, and I fully expect them to come back into exemplary form on my next visit.
2008: When you're driving down the interstate and you still cannot force yourself to put that rib bone down until it is licked clean, then you know you've found something special. Our first experience here was not particularly favorable, but we chalked it up to a slight case of meat coma as it had been our sixth place of the day in a span of only 5 hours, so I gave it a other try. Was I ever rewarded. On my way out of town I got some lean brisket, fatty brisket, a pork chop and some pork ribs. My wife could see in my demeanor that I desperately wanted to chow, but she wanted to get on the road just as badly. As a compromise, she allowed her lap to act as a makeshift dining table, and she fed me some of the best BBQ I've tasted.
The lean brisket (actually a misnomer, it's beef shoulder) was perfectly seasoned, but this lean meat could have been more tender, and tasted a bit roast-beefy . The crust was remarkable, and the smoke line was pronounced. The fatty brisket was so good that I even ate all the fat. It was pull-apart tender and beautifully smoky with a slight salt rub. The pork chop was similarly dry to the one tried at Kreuz. The spare ribs were the standout here, and rank among the best I've ever tasted. The rub was slightly sweet creating a tacky texture and a nice crust. The meat was perfectly rendered and smoky, and I just could not stop eating them, even at the wheel.
Smitty's name is worth mentioning as well. You'll notice the name is simply "Smitty's Market" instead of "Smitty's BBQ". This was the original name of the meat market. Back when refrigeration was non-existent, the extra meat that didn't sell at the meat market was smoked and sold. Soon this smoked meat became more popular than the raw stuff, so they experienced a shift in focus, and became a BBQ joint. In this, we're all winners.