Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kreuz Market and Smitty's Market in Lockhart, Texas

Fatty Brisket at Kreuz Market

We're in Texas, so you *knew* there was going to be a barbecue post, right? Well this is it.

We did a lunch run out to Lockhart Texas, a small town about 40 minutes South of Austin which is one of the hubs of Central Texas barbecue.

First up was Kreuz Market. The aroma in the parking lot hit us as soon as we got of the car - lovely, savory, smoky goodness.

Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas

The meat (other than the sausages) is sold by the pound. You don't need to order a full pound, though, so you can try a variety. Since there were only two of us and we were going to eat lunch at two BBQ joints in one day, we tried to keep our portions reasonable and didn't get to try it all.

Menu at Kreuz Market

We ordered a quarter pound of brisket, a hot sausage and a pork chop (no sides - we only had stomach room for the main event). They toss it on butcher paper with some slices of white bread and plastic knives (see the "no forks" rule in the picture above).

Brisket, sausage and pork chop at Kreuz Market

The sausage was very good, and the pork chop had a great smoky flavor. It's hard to see in the photo, but the pork chop had a nice pink tinge to it above the smoke ring.

Pork Chop at Kreuz Market

The standout, though, was the brisket. Fantastic! I've never tasted brisket even close to that good. Amazing meaty taste, and the fat melted in your mouth (check the picture at the top of the post for a close-up of the fat on the Kreuz brisket).

Here's a shot of the barbecue pits at Kreuz:

Pits at Kreuz Market

And the woodpile outside that keeps them running:

Woodpiles outside of Kreuz Market

Ready for more, we drove down the road a few blocks to Smitty's Market.

Smittys Market in Lockhart, Texas

Smitty's is a smaller, more cosy place than Kreuz.

Interior of Smittys Market

This time we ordered brisket and sausage.

Brisket and Sausage at Smittys Market

I thought that the sausage was not as good as Kreuz - less flavor and a more soft texture. As for the the brisket? No contest - it wasn't in the same league as the slices we had at Kruez. Nowhere near the same intense, smoky flavor.

I'm guessing that there are potentially a lot of factors at work here - what piece of meat you get, what part of the piece of meat you get, what kind of day the guy manning the pits is having, etc. At Kreuz, we got slices off of the small end of a piece of meat that had just come out of the pit, so I'd be surprised if that didn't have at least something to do with it. I wish we had the luxury of being able to come back regularly to research more...

Overall, a truly delicious and enjoyable experience.

Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado St.
Lockhart, TX
(512) 398-2361

Smitty's Market
208 South Commerce
Lockhart, TX
(512) 398-9344

14 comments:

  1. Awesome Mike! I've been told that Lockhart is the "Capitol of Texas BBQ". Isn't there some kind of family feud story behind Smitty's and Kreuz?

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  2. Yeah - I'm not sure what the details are, but it seems that something happened in 1999. That's when Smitty's started at the original Kreuz location, and Kreuz moved to their new location.

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  3. From this month's Texas Magazine's article on BBQ:
    "Smitty’s began around 1900 as Kreuz Market, a German butcher shop that sold fresh meat during the week and smoked whatever was left over on the weekend. The Kreuz name endured even after Edgar “Smitty” Schmidt bought the business, in 1948. It was still in use in 1999, when a dust-up among the late Edgar’s three children caused his son Rick to take the Kreuz name to a new building down the road. Fortunately, daughter Nina Schmidt Sells and her son, John Fullilove, kept the fires burning and reopened under the current name."

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  4. Thanks for the additional info, chascates.

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  5. I live about 30 min from here, and the story as I heard it was that when the dad died he left the building to one kid, and the actual business to another... so they would have to work together. Well, there were disagreements on how/what/when to serve, so the owner of the building drove up the rent until the owner of the business was forced to move. Supposedly they still don't talk, and people in the town totally took sides and will refuse to patronize the competing business!

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  6. I WENT TO BOTH PLACES NOVEMBER 2008 WITH MY STEP DADWHO IS 78.....HE WENT TO SMITTYS AS A KID.....WE HAD A SAUSAGE AND BRISKET AT BOTH PLACES.BOTH WERE FANTASTIC...............I PREFERED SMITTYS SAUSAGE..THAT PARTICULAR DAY.........LOVED THE TORTILLAS AT KREUZ"S

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  7. SPICY STUFF! We are looking forward to trying the tasty BBQ too! We just moved to Houston and I've been nominated the one in the family to research and locate the pot of gold... aka--the tast-ee-st BBQ in TX. Rumor has it that both locations are neck and neck. Had no idea Kreuz and Smitty's were related.

    KAWILLA

    NOTE: You're not alone... My sister and I share similar circumstance(s) as alleged above. To this day, we do not speak. It's a shame.

    BTW, the Omni Houston Hotel provided us with a classy guide that has been my ambassador to all things luxe and in-the-know about Houston. It was a surprise to find such interesting photos of both Kreuz and Smitty’s which peaked my interest to investigate further. Really has nothing to do with Houston but the photos are smack dab in the middle of this classy guide…

    Once again, lookin forward to a fun drive to Lockhart to taste some of your infamous Brisket. (next couple weeks?) Headin' to the Houston Livestock Show/Rodeo tomorrow... Yee-Haa

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  8. Smitty's is definitely the best - the sausage and brisket win hands down! In my opinion Smitty's BBQ has a more downhome flavor - the other is more commercialized! I used to go to Smitty's as a kid and it is still the best! If you want real downhome Texas BBQ choose Smitty's!

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  9. Went to Kreuz this past weekend (inspired by your post) and it was the best meat I ever had. The beans and sauerkraut were also amazing.

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  10. *Nobody* went to Smitty's as a kid, unless they're very young. They went to Kreuz. Smitty's didn't exist until 2000 or so resulting from Nina running Rick's Kreuz business out of her building so she could open her own.

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  11. The story I heard is that Rick BOUGHT the business from Dad. But he didn't buy the building. Instead the building was left to Nina who decided to raise the rent on her brother Rick. Then Rick did not feel he could pay that and so he moved locations. He went as far as to talking that coals! 3 weeks later both Smitty's and Kreuz opened.

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  12. My experience was the opposite of the writer. We went to Smitty's first, then Kruez. I liked Smitty's a lot more, thought the brisket had a deeper flavor and was more moist (we always order off the backend when we can). The sausage was about the same in both places. I recently took a friend to Smitty's (he had gone to Kruez the week before) and he concurred that Smitty's was better. Of course, I think I like Snow's brisket better than both places.

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  13. Here's an article from Austin and the true story behind the feud.
    http://www.austinchronicle.com/columns/2003-07-04/166634/

    Being from Austin, I have had both numerous times. I am a Kruez myself. Their ribs are great too. In my opinion, Kreuz beats Salt Lick as well.

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  14. I went with the aim of eating in all four restaurants, but failed after two! However, I can say that the brisket at Black's was sublime, and Smitty's was just okay. Here's my Lockhart adventure if anyone's interested! http://www.dontdrivetodinner.com/2014/07/more-of-best-blacks-bbq-and-smittys.html

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