Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q

LOCKHART: Chisholm Trail Bar-B-Q
1323 S. Colorado St. (Hwy 183)
Lockhart, TX 78644
Open Daily 8-8

Update: After a long day, this was our ninth and penultimate stop. I took a quick trip inside to grab one of the links that I liked so well from my last trip, and a rib that wasn't available on my previous visit.

On the hood of the truck I unwrapped the package. The glistening paper let me know I was in for a juicy treat, and that was confirmed as I bit into the tasty link. It snapped nicely between my teeth, and some juice ran down my arms. This beef and pork link was perfectly smoked with great peppery flavor. The rib could have been a bit more tender, but it was well seasoned with plenty of salt and black pepper. The meat had great smoke and was plenty moist. After trying the Texas BBQ holy trinity at this joint in two different visits, I've got to say that it holds its own with the best in town. It would be the best in many cities across the state, and certainly deserves a visit if you're in town for one of the more popular destinations.

Rating ****

10/2010: I've heard it proclaimed before that Chisholm Trail would be the best BBQ joint in most other Texas towns, but in Lockhart it's hard to match the hype of the three other storied joints serving world class 'cue. These folks aren't afraid of some competition. They opened up about the time I was birthed in 1978, and by that time this town of just over 12,000 already had two joints with state-wide acclaim, and both had been open for 50+ years. Today Chisholm Trail is said to be a favorite among locals because of high quality at lower prices than the competitors. I decided to give it another shot, and to give it a fair shake we started our morning off there rather than stopping as an afterthought with a full stomach.

Making this our first start caused an issue with meat availability since ribs aren't ready until 10:30 and we arrived at 8:30. Brisket and sausage was piping hot so I brought a butcher paper package full of meat over to the anticipatory gaze of my dining companions. It certainly passed the Homer Simpson clear paper test with plenty of grease to give that butcher paper some sheen, mainly from the sausage. Links are 87% beef and 13% pork, and were the best of the day in Lockhart, ahead of Black's and Smitty's. The snappy casings held coarsely ground and well seasoned meat that had just enough spice. The brisket that emerged was incredible. The meat was deeply smoky, and that fat clinging to eat slice was silky smooth. The meat could have been a touch more tender, but this could easily be the best brisket in Dallas, and could even take first or second in Lockhart on any given day. After this trip I won't view this joint as an afterthought again, and I'm looking forward to a return stop to try those ribs at lunch.

2006: This place generally plays fourth fiddle in this legendary BBQ town, but measured against other joints statewide, it holds its own. The ribs were an excellent version of large, meaty spare ribs with a slightly sweet and peppery rub. The fat was well rendered, and the smoke flavor permeated the meat. On the other hand, the brisket was dry with little smoke flavor despite the nicely formed crust. The fat was not well rendered, but the flavor was still good overall. I wouldn't choose it over others in town, but it's worth a stop for a good comparison.

Chisholm Trail Barbq on Urbanspoon


Chris Wilkins said...

Daniel: Really glad to see someone take a hard look at this joint. My friend who lives in Lockhart backs up the "this is where all the locals go" claim. It's the only place he eats Q in Lockhart.....

Season said...

I was introduced to Chisholm Trail by a local. I've heard of and visited the more "marketed" joints in Lockhart. Chisholm Trail has them beat. (And Chisholm deserves more stars than Smitty's Market, by the way.) The reason for visiting is Chisholm's way with meats and smoke. But it also offers a variety of interesting sides, beyond pintos and potato salad. The one shortcoming of Chisholm Trial is that it can be slow to get through the line when the crowds arrive. If you're in a big hurry, this may not be your place. But if you want the best, then commit to wait and visit with your line-neighbors (most likely local folks) as you move forward.

Anonymous said...

What happened to your Kreuz page? It says it's not available.

David said...

I agree, this is not second-rate BBQ at all. Ate there today, and it easily beats ANY joint in San Antonio, and is right up there with the Lockhart big guys.

Becky Fisher said...

I'm a local and have eaten at them all -- and we like Chisholm Trail best of all. The others nickel and dime you to death and are rather snobbish about not supplying forks. It's rare to go by and not see several cars in the drive through. We saved Chisholm Trail for our last one to try when we moved here and haven't been back to the others since!

TXC said...

This is the only time, in 2 years of eating bbq all over TX that i totally disagree with the review. I went today at 2pm and got a 1/4 of brisket and 1/4 of sausage. The flavor of the sausage was good, but the skin was so tough it was literally impossible to cut through or chew. The brisket was tender and did have a small smoke ring, and a small amount of bark, but was absolutely nothing I'd ever desire to eat again. The flavor just wasn't there.
I had to go to Blacks to make up for my bad experience. Blacks was twice as expensive, but the hatch chile sausage and brisket and turkey were all totally perfect there.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.