It's kind of embaressing that I am writing about meat again. But last Sunday I went on a lunch trip with a friend from school and her boyfriend to Lockhart, Texas (aka the Barbeque Capitol of Texas) and it was such great fun I can't keep it to myself.
I enjoyed the trip for numerous reasons, not just the brisket, which I will iterate:
1) The furthest outside of Austin I had been within Texas is the Austin Airport, which probably doesn't even count. Though we ventured less than 30 miles outside of Austin, the surroundings felt very different very quickly. Austin is known for its lakes and hills, and as we were heading south the landscape changed noticeably. The land was suddenly very flat and barren. We passed trailers, pecan trees, and cows between Austin and Lockhart and not much else. The clouds were looming, adding to the ominous character of the land. To pass so quickly into such a different territory was itself an experience.
2) Smitty's. We tried out two different BBQ places, sampling different meats from each. My friend's boyfriend had done a BBQ tour recently so he knew just where to bring us and just what to order. The first place we stopped was Smitty's (http://www.smittysmarket.com/9.htm). When you walk into Smitty's you basically walk into a smoker. There are exposed flames from the wood logs that are burning to create the smoke which flows into the large pits. It's one big room with granite floors and brick walls, and the savory smell of smoked meat. This is where you order the meat by weight, which is served on wax paper. The next room from the smoke room is a cafeteria-like dining area where you can pick up your sides and sweet tea. We skipped the sides to focus on the important stuff, took our seats and got to work. Our sampling included their brisket, sausage, and pork chops. The pork chops hands down were my favorite. A thick, juicy cut that you have to eat with your fingers. They literally do not have forks in this place. The food coma was starting to set in but we still had some BBQ to try.
3) Black's Barbeque (http://www.blacksbbq.com/). We were glad we went to Black's BBQ second because it has a cozier feel for eating, and with the mounting daze from all the smoked meats we knew we would want to take a seat for awhile after eating and before heading back to Austin. We also decided to try out some of the sides and desserts here. Our sampling included brisket, smoked turkey, jalapeno cheddar sausage, banana pudding, blackberry cobbler, candied marshmallow yams, and deviled eggs. Wow, this seems even more decadent as I write it out. Each of the sides is in just a small bowl so I swear it's not as bad as it sounds, and three of us were tasting. I tried everything except the yams and my ranking from best to worst is as follows: 1) smoked turkey; 2) banana pudding; 3) brisket; 4) deviled eggs; 5) jalapeno cheddar sausage; 6) blackberry cobbler. The turkey was a welcome break from the delicious yet moist and fatty brisket that I have been consuming entirely too regularly since I moved to Austin. It was smoky and lean and guilt-free. The banana pudding was to die for. I don't think I have had banana pudding before and from what I hear it is pretty easily made but I was still impressed. The blackberry cobbler was disappointingly bland and as for the sausage, well I don't really like sausage flavored with too many additions. Nothing against Black's BBQ, but just meat is fine by me. The brisket was good, and the deviled eggs could have been creamier and less yolky. An altogether satisfying second lunch and I was glad we were able to linger in the booth we were sitting in. There were also longhorn horns (?) above every doorway, inspiring me to look on Ebay for a set for my apartment. My bedroom is a bit too girly and nothing plays down girliness like some dead animal paraphernalia.
4) Lockhart's Caldwell County Courthouse is just stunning (see above.).
5) It's nice to spend some good time with good people, especially in a new place. Makes it feel a bit more like home.
I fell into a food coma when I got home from the outing and was useless for the rest of my Sunday afternoon, but with no regret.