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Friday, January 31, 2014

These little piggies went to Mark's Feed Store in Louisville, Ky.

Mark's Shelbyville Road location

Thomas Wolfe in 1940 famously wrote that “you can’t go home again.” For many years, Louisville, Ky., had been a familiar place for our family.

As Louisville native Hunter S. Thompson once duly noted, this city is known as “The Gateway to the South.” For many years, Louisville also has been the gateway to good barbecue.

A recent trip to visit old haunts there produced mixed results for us from a dining standpoint. Thankfully, one of our favorite barbecue restaurants – Mark’s Feed Store – remains one of its best.

In 1988, Mark Erwin opened his first location on Shelbyville Road in Middletown, in a former livestock feed store. Today, signs advertising sheep dip and other products still adorn the walls. Over the years, we’ve also eaten at its locations on Bardstown Road and across the Ohio River in New Albany, Ind.

Ribs, potato and fried corn on the cob
One thing that sets Mark’s apart is its array of its own sauces, which today include its original sauce, its “red” sauce and a hot version. According to a 1995 Louisville magazine article, Erwin knew that before he could open his joint that he needed his own signature sauces. The original sauce is a tangy mixture of red tomatoes, black pepper and yellow turmeric.

But no good sauce can ever rescue overcooked or poor cuts of meat. On its menu, Mark’s claims that it uses the finest USDA meats, which it smokes over hickory wood for about half a day. Their style of cooking reportedly was handed down from a third generation barbecue master from Eastern Kentucky.

We agree with Louisville magazine’s discerning readers, who have voted Mark’s as the “Best of Louisville” nearly 10 times. We’ve never had a bad meal here and hopefully never will.

When we arrived at about 6 p.m. on a Saturday night, there was a crowd waiting for tables, but the actual wait was under 20 minutes.

Our server quickly took our drink orders and offered her preferences about sides. The potato salad, she said, would be the best we’ll ever have in a restaurant. My wife, a critic of both cole slaws and potato salad, didn’t disagree.

Another thing that sets Mark’s apart is another signature side, its sweet “fried” corn on the cob. Erwin is said to have came across fried corn at small barbecue shacks away from the city. Ears of corn are dropped into a deep fryer for about three and a half minutes and then delivered hot to the table.

It’s that simple – and delicious. According to a 2002 article in Saveur magazine, Erwin only buys a certain variety of corn and he didn’t divulge the details.

The rack of baby back ribs we shared was equality succulent – and properly sauced.

For those who don’t want ribs, chicken or even beef, Mark’s also serves Honeywings and some great desserts.

Apparently Erwin and his employees aren’t content to rest on their laurels. Our waitress assumed that this was our first trip and asked us to fill out a questionnaire (as she did at the table next to us), in return for a free piece of buttermilk pie and a bottle of sauce to take home.

Hopefully, this article provides an even better evaluation. As a favorite professor of mine often said, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Location we visited:
11422 Shelbyville Road
Louisville, KY

Mark's Feed Store on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 27, 2014

Charlotte and Charlotte's Rib, two St. Louis institutions

Charlotte's ribs with two of its sauces
Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures is being relaunched with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. As a follow up to last week's very popular new article about Pappy's, here is an article about another St. Louis area institution, Charlotte's Rib, from May 11, 2011. Thank you for reading and place come back often.   

Charlotte Peters may have passed away in 1988, but she continues to have a major presence at the St. Louis area barbecue restaurant that has been operated by her family since 1977.

As you enter Charlotte’s Rib, located in the Claymont Center strip mall in suburban Ballwin, Mo., a television screening highlights from 23-year career of the “First Lady of St. Louis Television” makes her as omnipresent as the cowboy items everywhere (including a mural on the wall that greets you, “Howdy Partner”).

Peters seemingly interviewed everyone who came to or near St. Louis from 1947 to 1969, including director Alfred Hitchcock, singer Eddie Fisher and renowned circus clown Emmett Kelly Jr.

Charlotte Peters
However, today we can thank the daytime TV entertainer for talking a Roman chef into giving her his recipe for a meat rub that her father-in-law, a career chef, further modified. They still use the rub today at Charlotte’s Rib.

The restaurant was founded in Kirkwood by Herb and Pat Schwarz, Charlotte's daughter and son-in-law, in 1977. Now at its third location in Ballwin, Charlotte's granddaughter and son-in-law carry on the tradition.

As evidenced by our meal and the numerous trophies also on display near the entrance, the next generation is doing it quite well. The ribs had excellent smoke markings and yet were very moist. Their variety of sauces complimented the flavor but weren’t always needed. The portion sizes were outstanding.

One person in our group surprised us by ordering the catfish, which he found to be delicate and flavorful without being greasy.

According to the classic book Real Barbecue, which was available for purchase at Charlotte’s Rib, Herb Schwarz entered the Kansas City American Royal Barbecue Cook-Off under an assumed name, Dr. Rollin River. Schwarz, who really was a doctor, was the contest champion for his pork in 1981. A year later, Pat’s chili recipe was an award winner at the Regional Chili Cook Off in St. Louis.

Trophies share wall space with many mementos.
Herb passed away on Valentine’s Day in 2007, but his family has kept up the family reputation in competitive barbecue. Charlotte’s Rib won second place in the cook’s choice category of the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational Barbecue in 2008. 

Prominently displayed during our visit were several trophies from the St. Louis Home Fires completion in 2011, where Charlotte’s Rib was the reserve champion and brisket champion and won third place in rib category.

The family says its sauce is based on a family recipe, passed down from previous generations. They now have four versions, which they sell at the restaurant and at a nearby grocery store.

Since we were visiting St. Louis, we were compelled to have the ribs, but Charlotte’s Rib also is well known for its pork sandwiches and beef brisket – which we’ll try next time. Also on the menu are chicken, salmon, shrimp and steaks and burgers. Charlotte’s Rib also is known for its onion rings, but we were disappointed to find lacking of flavor.

On Thursday’s they offer a delicacy, burnt ends -- the trimmings from a smoked brisket. When beef is smoked, there are pieces around the edge that tend to dry out and get very smoky in flavor. After being trimmed off, they are either often used in sandwiches or stews. It’s a phenomenon common in these parts as well as in Kansas City.

As we enjoyed our dinner, we frequently looked up at Charlotte on the TV screen – dressed as a mermaid, a fairy or as Annie Oakley – and traded laughs. If you want to see her during the golden years of live television, her son and famous cartoonist Mike Peters has lovingly posted videos from her variety shows online on YouTube.

As some would say, “What a hoot.”

Location we visited:
Charlotte's Rib BBQ
15467 Clayton Road
Ballwin, MO

Charlotte's Rib BBQ on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

St. Louis' Pappy's Smokehouse growing larger in size and stature

On one of the walls of Pappy's Smokehouse is a signed menu that says, "Well worth the heart attack, thanks!"

Thankfully it was in jest, as penned by late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, on one of dozens of similarly signed menus posted on the walls throughout this venerable St. Louis restaurant.

There are signed menus from St. Louis Cardinals past and present, including World Series heroes David Freese and Adam Wainwright (also aself-confessed foodie), as well as Super Bowl XXXII MVP and Denver Bronco Terrell Davis. Flavor Flav, a member of Public Enemy and a fellow "restauranteur," also has been here, as been Paulie Shore.

But Pappy's Smokehouse is far from being a destination to see the hip and trend (or in the case of Paulie Shore the formerly trendy).

Since opening in February of 2008 at 3106 Olive St. in St. Louis, Pappy's has been on a fast trajectory to becoming one of America's best barbecue joints. 

Within six months, Pappy's was Sauce magazine's readers' choice as the best barbecue in the Gateway City. That September, it was chosen as Riverfront Times' best new restaurant as well as the best barbecue spot.

Burnt ends, pulled pork and ribs at Pappy's

Word then started to get out beyond the Gateway Arch. The Zagat Survey of America's Top Restaurants included Pappy's in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and ranked it among the 10 best barbecue restaurants in the countr

"St. Louis-style ribs are found on menus across the country, but it’s a Memphis-style joint (think slow-smoked meats, easy on the sauce) that seems to be the consensus favorite for barbecue in town," the New York Times' Dan Saltzstein wrote of Pappy's in 2010.

The Travel Channel included it among its "101 Tastiest Places to Chowdown in America." Man vs. Food host Adam Richman came to Pappy's in December of 2008 and attempted to eat but did not finish the "Big Ben" meal, which includes a full slab of ribs, 2 sandwiches, a quarter-chicken, and four side dishes.  

Earlier this year, owner Mike Emerson, appeared on the national food-talk show, "The Chew," and for the second straight year, Pappy's was among's top 20 barbecue joints in the nation.

All of the national attention is most deserving.

Like another, more famous mecca, Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, people come early to Pappy's and wait in line all day for what is prepared in its four pits.

After a 30 minute wait, you should know what you want.
And you need to come early, because when Pappy's runs out of menu items, they go off the chalkboard. On our first visit in mid-October, chicken was not an option. When everything's gone, they close the doors. He reportedly is a fanatic about never reheating barbecued meats and only cooks what is needed each day.

In our case, the wait lasted between 30 and 45 minutes each time we visited, including after 1 p.m. on a Monday. Servers do an excellent job of getting tables ready for diners as they order and receive their food.

I'm wondering how a building expansion announced a week after our visit will affect how long customers wait.

A competitive barbecuer, Emerson was encouraged to put out his shingle after receiving encouragement from his former employer, the owners of another venerable St. Louis area institution, Super Smokers BBQ. Together, they competed and received top honors at the Memphis in May international competition. Right before you order, you pass by the MIM trophies.

Pappy's is named for Emerson's oldest brother, Jim, who died about a dozen years ago and who was his hero and mentor.

Most barbecue restaurants will offer a selection of meats, but realistically only master one of them. Pappy's versatility with everything it offers -- baby back ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, burnt ends, turkey breast and sausage -- comes through. Tender and smoky with a bark that needed no sauce, the Memphis-style, dry-rubbed ribs perfectly came off the bone with each bite.

A look inside the pit.
The taste profile is complex. Brown sugar and Pappy's rub create a wonderful bark. As you bite through the meats, you encounter a sweet aftertaste resulting from hours of smoking over cherry and apple woods. If you chose to use one of Pappy's three freshly prepared sauces, you won't be disappointed.   

Complementing the main dishes is a delicious array of sides, including fried sweet potatoes, deep-fried corn on the cob, baked beans and cole slaw.

We agree with Zagat's assessment of Pappy's as one of the best barbecue meccas in the country. It has become the standard against which we judge other barbecue.

Because of Pappy's and another renowned restaurant, Bogart'sSmokehouse, located at 1627 South Ninth Street in Soulard, St. Louis may become America's next great barbecue city. 

Location we visited:
Pappy's Smokehouse
3106 Olive St.
St. Louis, Mo.

Willie Nelson and I have something in common.

Pappy's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 17, 2014

Remembering Shyler's in Evansville

Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures will be relaunched in early 2014 with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. This post dates back to July 4, 2011 and now is a remembrance of Shyler's Bar-B-Q and Wood Fired Grill, which closed after a fire on Dec. 9, 2012. Thank you for reading and place come back often.     

Most biographies about barbecue restaurants focus on a family tradition or successes in cooking competitions throughout the Deep South.

The founders of Shyler’s BBQ and Wood Fired Grill, located in Evansville, Ind., aren’t too shy to tell you that they previously ran a series of Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Rax restaurants. They also had a Dog-N-Suds restaurant in Newton, Ill.

But by 1990, J.B. and Marla Simmons got the itch to start up something better, a family restaurant. Even though TV show “Happy Days” had ended its network run in 1984, J.B. remained nostalgic about the 1950s and wanted to reproduce its history in his next venture.

During a family vacation to Memphis, Tenn., the Simmons were introduced to the city’s famous barbecue.

Shyler's ribs as presented by our waitress
While others might be intimidated of the fear of being seen as pretenders, J.B. plowed ahead and worked with a barbecue restaurant in Tennessee to learn the art. 

On March 1, 1991, Shyler’s – a combination of the names of their two sons Shawn and Tyler – was born at 405 S Green River Rd. A lot of Elvis, a juke box and 1950 paraphernalia helped to set the tone.

I made my first visit to Shyler’s shortly after it opened. Richard Gilbert, a native Floridian and barbecue aficionado who used to work with me at Indiana University, was there with me and also was impressed.

The ribs were moist and easily separated from the bone. No gristle or excess fat could be found; just good flavor with or without the sauce.

Shyler’s serves both St. Louis-style and Baby Back ribs, chicken, beef brisket as well as pulled meats.

Over the years, my family and I have eaten at Shyler’s many times. We’ve enjoyed seeing the expansion of the menu to include prime rib and other steaks, burgers, fried chicken and catfish and bourbon chicken.

If you want a 64-ounce steak for four, you will find it at Shyler’s. However, as evidenced by the pictures you see here, pork ribs are their specialty. We last ate here in mid-June.

Today, Shyler's sits quiet. According to media reports, the Simmons family hopes to reopen the restaurant in 2014.

I’m rooting that they can keep things going in the right direction.

Shyler's Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 13, 2014

Squealers, a place in Indianapolis for ribs and ribbing

Our server Ken can handle a lot

Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures will be relaunched in early 2014 with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. This post dates back to May 11, 2011. Thank you for reading and place come back often.   

Here in Indiana, there’s a tradition, “Hoosier Hospitality.” At Squealers Barbecue on the northwest side of Indianapolis, you’ll find it epitomized in our server Ken, who is pictured to your right.

From the moment my wife and I sat down, we realized that the wit and wisdom of Ken would only add to our dining experience. We’ve been big fans of Squealers since they opened their first location in Mooresville, Ind., in 2001.

We have frequented Squealers even more since they established a second location within minutes of my mother’s home in 2004, but usually our pleasure has been limited to what’s been on the plate.

Like many other places, Squealers is the result of people who have left their mark on the competitive BBQ circuit. The father and son team of Ron and Jeff Yater hit the circuit in the mid-1990s and quickly found a following. In 1999, they competed and sold their meats and sauces in about 25 cities, and I learned of them through their participation at Rib America’s festival in Indy.

They’ve continued to compete at events all over the country and their sauce in particular has frequently been honored at the National Barbeque Association Expo.

Clearly, their specialty is pork ribs and Squealers offers both Baby Back and St. Louis style ribs. A popular choice for our family has been their "Barbeque Nachos," which highlight their pulled pork and some gooey cheddar jack cheese.

This was the senior portion!
It’s also nice that they honor older folks like my mother with very ample portions on their senior menu. This is her pulled pork plate and she was happy to go home with leftovers.

On this visit we also were joined by my wife’s sister and a friend of Mom’s. Let’s just say that Ken is a charmer (although Mrs. Ken need not worry).

Because of our recent travels to Texas, I opted to try the beef brisket, and agreed to help my wife with her full rack of baby backs.

As their name would suggest, Squealers is best when the meat of choice is pork. Everyone raved about the ribs and pulled pork and I likely will steer back in that direction of the menu next time (When you’ve had brisket in Texas, the bar is set very high).

Sides such as the Amish-style potato salad and coleslaw are real pleasers and the Brunswick Stew is pretty good too.

At the outset of this article, I mentioned our server, Ken. While we’ve enjoyed the service and recommendations of many kind folks in the service industry, he set himself apart through his jokes, stories and kindness. He also can carry the weight of a lot of barbecue on his shoulders.

Until we come in again, stay well Ken. Tell the family I said they should play your sports video games with you more often.

Location we visited:
5515 W. 86th St.
Indianapolis, Indiana

Squealer's Award Winning Barbecue on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Living in Dreamland, Tuscaloosa, Alabama's best known rib shack

Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures will be relaunched in early 2014 with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. This post dates back to April 27, 2011. Thank you for reading and place come back often.   


This remembrance about Dreamland was written hours before devastating tornadoes tore through Tuscaloosa on April 27. While my thoughts are with the many people who lost lives and property throughout the Deep South that day, I am happy to report that Dreamland was open for business the next day and all of my friends are fine.


Someone I respect tremendously recently asked me what my favorite barbecue restaurant was. It is a difficult question to answer, given the various styles and variations of BBQ nationwide, if not worldwide.

Feeling a little on the spot, I replied, “Dreamland, a place just outside Tuscaloosa, Alabama.”

It’s certainly more than a safe answer, although it’s also not a definitive response.

I first visited this place back in the fall of 1985, when my friend and IU classmate Joe Kiefer and I were starting our careers in journalism. We both had been accepted by The Birmingham News for its glorified stringers program and each of us started out by working from our apartments.

Joe was assigned to cover western Alabama, including the agricultural Black Belt region and the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. I was based in Clanton, Ala., and covered activities in two “dry,” alcohol-free counties – Chilton and Bibb.

Needless to say, if a newspaper reporter in his early 20s wanted to go out for some excitement, he went to see his friend Joe.

Just south of Tuscaloosa, about two miles from the intersection of Highway 82 and Interstate 59, is a red shack that has been serving ribs, white bread and your choice of beverage since 1958. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve eaten at Dreamland, but pictures would suggest that it hasn’t changed much. First opened by John “Big Daddy” Bishop, it has been a successful family business.

As the story goes, Mr. Bishop was a brick mason who had always wanted to find another way to support his family. He narrowed his options down to opening up a mortuary or a restaurant. He believed that God told him in a dream to open a restaurant next to his home – which he did.

Another of my favorite barbecue places, Ken-Tex Barbecue, in Shelbyville, Ky., has a similar story of origin. It’s not something I personally believe, but it ought to place some extra pressure on the pit master.

I’ll never forget how succulent the ribs were my first time at Dreamland. The meat was so tender that it melted into the sauce immediate after it entered my mouth.

The sauce compliments the meat as well as a fine wine.

Among the people there on that occasion was an outdoors/hunting writer who also was an excellent journalist, Mike Bolton. He worked with me on my first story ever as a professional journalist.

I understand that Mike has now retired from the newspaper – probably a good decision. Until 2011, he operated his own barbecue restaurant, Big Bolton's BBQ in Springville, Ala.

Mike, if you ever read this, please accept my thanks for helping to turn this Yankee into a lifelong barbecue lover.

As I look back now, it hardly seems like 25 years have passed. I’ve been able to return to Dreamland only a few times since moving back up to Indiana.

Today, Dreamland has several locations in Alabama and Georgia. They’ve also expanded the menu to include sides, sausage and desserts. But I can’t see myself going anyplace else than the original location, on a two-lane road a few miles away from the home of the Crimson Tide and asking for ribs, bread and a beer.

Location we visited:
5535 15th Avenue, East
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Dreamland Bar-B-Que on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kreuz Market, a high cathedral of Texas barbecue

Kreuz Market, prices circa 2011
Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures will be relaunched in early 2014 with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. This post dates back to Feb. 20, 2011. Thank you for reading and place come back often. 

As you might recall from my earlier article about Lockhart, Texas' Smitty’s Market, back in the late 1990s, a disagreement among family members led Rick Schmidt to construct a new home – some might say a cathedral – for his barbecue.

Mike Mills, in a profile of Schmidt in his book Peace, Love and Barbecue, retold a story related to him by a journalist. When the enormous building was going up, people would walk into Smitty’s and ask, “What denomination is that church they’re building up the street?” The staff would respond, “Why, that’s the Church of Kreuz!”

When we visited on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, it afforded us plenty of places to sit, but I understand that it is hard to find a table here on a Saturday.

Roy Perez
The sign on the door offers fair warning to traveling salesmen: “No Salesmen – Every Third Salesman is Shot & The Second One Just Left!"

Located about a quarter mile north of the old location, at 619 N. Colorado (also route 183), Kreuz Market obviously shares a lot of good DNA with those who continue to turn out tasty barbecue back in the original location at Smitty’s.

The fire pits at Kreuz Market are exactly the same as at Smitty’s. When the place opened in 1999, Schmidt and his longtime employee Roy Perez staged a ceremonial carting of the coals up the street to fire up the new pits with “authentic Kreuz coals.” 

So you know the family feud isn’t too fierce.

And they exclusively use oak. You should see the fence that surrounds the wood pile.

Along with the new building came new items on the menu, including pork spare ribs, beans, German potato salad, sauerkraut and jalapeno cheese sausage.

Because this was the third barbecue restaurant that we’d visited in Lockhart within about three hours, my wife and I opted to share some pork ribs.

We love the ribs!
While I could get into trouble ranking their beef brisket with the other haunts here, I believe we are on firm ground when I write that Kreuz’ pork ribs were the best we’d had in more than a week in Texas.

We visited with several other people who also had come from many miles away to eat at Kreuz Market, including a couple of brothers who had driven in from North Carolina (one of them took our picture seen here).

However, I am disappointed to report some false advertising about this place. In television programs and even on Kreuz’ web site, it was been reported that if you want barbecue sauce or folks, “they are missing in action from Kreuz Market to this day.” 

A sign inside proclaims, “No Barbecue Sauce: Nothing to Hide.”

Not true. As you’ll see in the picture, there is a barbecue sauce here and it is excellent. But I will agree that it also remains an optional condiment.

Another sign proclaims that they only take cash, no credit cards. Also not true, thank goodness.

Location we visited:
Kreuz Market
619 N. Colorado St.
Lockhart, Texas

  Kreuz Market on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Smitty's -- A barbecue time machine in Lockhart, Texas

The open fire pit at Smitty's

Editor's note: Barbecued Adventures will be relaunched in early 2014 with new posts about barbecue, pitmasters and related travel. This post dates back to Feb. 14, 2011. Thank you for reading and place come back often. 

From the moment that you walk through the doors of Smitty’s Market, 208 S. Commerce St. in Lockhart, Texas, it’s like stepping out of a time machine that propels you back to the 1930s. 

There is very little light in the entry way, except for the glow from the fiery coals and logs emanating from the barbecue pits located down at the other end of the long hallway.

As you make it halfway down the hall, to your right is a doorway into a simple, more brightly lit dining area, where you can pick up sides, drinks and even ice cream and then sit with your food at long, communal tables.

But you’ll first continue down the hallway towards the brick hearth. The temperature gets higher and your anticipation for the barbecued meats and smoked sausage also rises.

Here you make your selection much in the same way they did more than 100 years ago. Smitty’s is located in the same building where Charles Kreuz opened a German grocery store for cotton pickers and other field hands who weren’t allowed in local restaurants.

You still get your food served the same way, on brown paper without sauce. Utensils are optional. Inside the much cooler dining room, you’ll also find crackers, local cheeses and RC colas.

It's somewhat hard to believe that Smitty's has a web site.

The dining room at Smitty's looks unchanged from the 1950s.

"This building has always been barbecue, and it has a great ambiance," says current owner Nina Schmidt Sells, in an article on the restaurant’s web site. "We always have repairs, upkeep and maintenance, but we do our best to preserve the building without replacing or detracting from anything."

Smitty’s is also a story of a family and a disagreement. 

In 1948, Charles Kreuz sold the business to Edgar Schmidt, who had worked there since 1936. In the 1960s, Edgar Schmidt closed the grocery but kept the restaurant going. About a quarter century later, he sold the business to his sons, Rick and Don, who ran it together until Don’s retirement in 1997.

The book, “Peace, Love and Barbecue,” by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe, tells the story (albeit a one-sided story) of a “feud” Rick Schmidt had with his sister, Nina, which led to the opening of Kreuz Market (more to come later).

“It wasn’t a feud. It was just ‘get out’ and I got out!,” he said in the book. “After 99 years at the same location, I’m not proud of it, but family deals happen. When my dad died, he left the business to me and the building to my sister, so she wound up being my landlady.

“She decided she wanted to be in the barbecue business and I couldn’t get along with her and negotiate the lease. And I couldn’t buy the property,” he said.

Sells’ son, James Fullilove, became the pitmaster and the business was named for her father, “Smitty” Schmidt.

The smoked sausage at Smitty's brings on a smile.
I opted for their delicious sausage, which gave me a smile similar to the one you’ll see in the accompanying photo. The sign in the window proudly proclaims their “homemade wieners” for good reason.

Texas Monthly has named Smitty’s one of the top five restaurants in Texas. It is one of the four great barbecue joints here that contribute to Lockhart’s reputation as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas.”

As we left, the logs continued to burn in the old pit, giving off a warm glow that seemed appropriate for a late December day, turning out big flavored meats for those who followed us.

Location we visited:
Smitty's Market
208 South Commerce
Lockhart, Texas


Smitty's Market on Urbanspoon