Best Barbecue Getaway: Lockhart, Texas
A short trip to this flavor-packed smoke town should be on any true Texan’s bucket list. Dubbed the “BBQ Capital of Texas,” Lockhart is easily one of the most legendary barbecue destinations in the world. While you could make it a daytrip, you’ll need at least two days if you stand any chance of eating your way through it.
Channel your college days and stay boarding-house-style at Ellison House, an 1880s-home-turned-boutique hotel with only four rooms up for grabs; or, y’know, check out Airbnb. Don’t forget to pack a cooler, though, because you’ll be wanting to bring some of this meat home.
Your Day One itinerary includes the bulk of your eating, as you tackle at least two of the Big Three: Black’s Barbecue (open since 1932), Kreuz Market (est. 1900), and Smitty’s Market (since 1948). You need to consume a lot of meat today, so be sure to stop for breaks, share with friends, and proceed in any order you please.
At Black’s, third generation pitmaster Kent Black is slow smoking his barbecue with a simple rub and local Post Oak wood. Choose the behemoth beef rib, packing a 9-inch long bone with around 2 inches of fatty, marbled beef cocooning it; and don’t forget the hand-stuffed and -tied homemade sausage (original, garlic, or jalapeno-cheddar), made from an 80-year-old recipe that has stood the test of time.
The black soot covering Smitty’s foyer and pit room is a good sign -- it means the place is alive and kickin’ after all these years. Go for the Texas trinity of brisket, pork ribs, and sausage, fresh from the pit, and throw on a pork chop or shoulder clod if you’re feeling wild. This is the kind of spot where asking for sauce is welcome, and it’s a tasty sauce indeed.
Hopefully you’re well rested, because you’re not done with the meat sweats just yet. Lockhart has one more stop in store for your before the drive home: Chisholm Trail Barbecue (opened by a Black’s alum in 1978). There’s a drive-thru and bbq sandwiches if you so please, but you can also head inside for a full plate lunch packed with smoked turkey, sausage links, and moist brisket, with sides like mac and cheese, hash browns, and broccoli salad… because you should probably get some greens in.
Distance: 156 miles, around 2 hours and 15 minutes by car