Friday, April 17, 2015

More BBQ and a Road Trip to Austin, Texas…

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While in Lockhart we decided since we were close to the state capital of Texas, Austin, we would make a road trip to see how it has changed since we last visited. Man o man is this town under massive construction. There were cranes everywhere changing the skyline of Austin at that very moment!

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Austin is about a half hour drive north of Lockhart State Park so we headed out about lunchtime. But before hitting the road to Austin we stopped at Black’s BBQ to have one more brisket hit from Lockhart. Blacks is the oldest BBQ establishment in Lockhart and thus has more history than do the others. Upon walking in the door past the sign that says they are open 8 days a week there is a line to stand in while waiting to order your road treats. Lining the walls are lots of photos of days gone by and some interesting ones of LBJ and Matthew McConaughey who either new one of the Blacks or had BBQ there. Out back of the place is the largest stack of wood I have ever seen… takes a lot of wood to smoke that meat!!!

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The brisket we had at Black's was much more moist than was Smitty’s this year but the texture at Smitty’s was nicer than Blacks. As for taste they both had that nice smoked ring and the dry rub on both was perfect. These two I rated pretty much neck and neck overall unlike last year when we had Smitty’s ranked as our favorite. However, there is still one more BBQ place we wanted to try before leaving Lockhart.

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After lunch we headed north and pulled into the parking lot near a baseball field by the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake. Instead of walking around the capital like we did last time we decided to do an urban hike around Lady Bird Lake or as I use to know it ......Town Lake. The trail is described as “a lush, urban path that meanders along the water’s edge and passes by skyscrapers, neighborhoods, ball fields and cultural attractions” and that pretty much nails it.

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The trail is 10 miles in length but we did a shorter segment of it as there are several well appointed pedestrian walkways across various locations along the lake. Lots of people were out on this perfect weather day either jogging, walking or kayaking yet we never had the sense of being in a big city until seeing glimpses across the lake of the numerous skyscrapers and the soon-to-be-completed waterfront condos going up. What a great place for a walk.

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We then did a smaller urban hike around the University of Texas campus in central Austin. We have walked this campus many times before and it was comforting being at a place in Austin that hasn’t changed much. Next up for us was a visit to a cool little pub owned by a good friend of ours called The Crown and Anchor. They have really great hamburgers and tacos, and a nice assortment of Texas craft beers. We really enjoyed seeing our friends Craig and Donna over a burger and craft brews but it was time to head home….

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Our last morning in Lockhart we readied to leave but before going had one more brisket run to make. Chisholm Trail BBQ is known more as the “locals spot for BBQ” than the other joints. We tried their brisket as well and even though we ranked them third last year we declared them the best of the lot this year (albeit just barely). Their brisket had a nice smoky flavor, good crust and the texture and moisture were all there. Glad were we that we saved it for last… now we are off to our former home in College Station for a 3-4 week stay!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lockhart Texas and Smitty’s Market BBQ…

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Although it was only 41 miles to Lockhart State Park we took our time as it was drizzling. We pulled in and selected one  of the 10 full hookup sites facing the golf course.  We are staying at Lockhart State Park for just three days so after setting up we immediately headed over to town to begin our carnivorous intent. Since it was lunchtime we went to our favorite BBQ in Lockhart from our last stay, Smitty’s Market, a true Road Treat!

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Lockhart State Park 011There really isn’t anything like Texas smoked BBQ when it is done right and Lockhart has at least four BBQ joints that know how to do it right which is the only reason we come to stay here. Smitty’s has won many state awards but in the most recent annual list of the best BBQ Smitty’s didn’t even make the top 50 list according to Texas Monthly. They have been in the top ten list multiple times but making the top 50 list is tough in Texas and even though we still think Smitty’s makes some excellent brisket we may have to start expanding our horizons to include some other places beyond Lockhart.

 

Lockhart State Park 012We were served our smoked brisket on some butcher paperlong with some bread and anxiously gave it a taste. We agreed that this is still some mighty fine brisket but we also thought the meat was not quite as tender as our last visit .  It did however,  have an excellent smoke ring and was seasoned perfectly with an excellent dry rub. It might not be a Texas Monthly imagetop 50 but I really can’t imagine that there are really 50 better briskets in the state than what can be had at Smitty’s We did discover it made Southern Livings top 20 BBQ places in the south!

After indulging in a meat fest we decided it was in our best interest to take a walk around town. Lockhart has a lot of historical buildings found in the town square. In the middle of the town square is the Caldwell County courthouse which is as elegant as it is majestic. The historic courthouse currently standing was built in 1894 to replace the existing courthouse which was said to be too small for the rapidly growing county.

If you love BBQ (as we do) and old historic towns then we think Lockhart would be a great stopover!