Texas is a giant of a state of that isn’t at all shy about who or what it is. Every region of the state, from the plains of east Texas to the valleys of west Texas, are full of different flavors and cultures to experience, and hidden away in the heart of the hill country is the small but unforgettable town of Lockhart. In this quiet but cozy city, the time seems to move just a little slower and the people around are a lot friendlier. But this traditional Texas is known primarily for one thing: BBQ! Tourists, locals and first time Texans all journey to Lockhart in search of the smoked meats that make Texas so famous. Make no bones about it, Lockhart is the king of BBQ. So be prepared to see a lot of smoked meats and sausage links on this list, among other things. If you’re hungry for a true taste of Texas, we've got the perfect local’s guide to eating and drinking your way through Lockhart.
Brisket, Sausage and Mac n’ Cheese at Black’s BBQ
There are four quintessential BBQ stops that every visitor should make along this tasty tour of Texas, the first being the long-standing Black’s BBQ. This treasured Texas smokehouse has been in the Black family for over four generations, serving up over nine different kinds of prime meats that are patiently slow-cooked by Pitmaster Kent Black just the way grandpa did in 1932. The family secret (which is less of a secret than a genius pairing) is a simple rub and local Post Oak Wood that gives each bite of meat a deep smoky flavor and sublimely crisp bark. Featured in countless magazines for their award winning BBQ, you can be assured that anything on the menu is going to be perfection from start to finish, whether you order a chopped beef brisket sandwich or a giant rack of pork baby back ribs. But, according to the experts, you can’t leave Black’s without trying the tender certified Angus Beef brisket, the homemade jalapeño smoked sausage and the deliciously white-trash Mac n' Cheese smothered in velveeta cheese.
Homestyle Breakfast at Henry’s Restaurant
Lockhart is the perfect place to wander all day and get lost among the locals. There’s plenty of sustenance around town to keep you fueled between window shopping, whether you’re in the mood for Mexican or barbecue. But if you’re looking for a down-home country style meal that’s full of flavor, tradition, and calories, then head to Henry’s Restaurant for some good old-fashioned comfort food. The mashed potatoes are rich, buttery and made in-house. The burgers are hand pressed and among the best in town, and the fried catfish is a local favorite. So if you want to start your day of touring and gorging right, then get a hearty, stick to your ribs breakfast plate at Henry’s. These divinely decadent breakfasts are made with crispy potatoes, fluffy eggs, bacon, and homemade biscuits with pork sausage gravy to keep you going all day. There’s also an off-menu secret that locals say you need try: Deep Fried Oreos with ice cream! Yes, please!
Brisket, Ribs and Sausage at Smitty’s Market
The third BBQ stop on the list is the highly acclaimed Smitty’s Market. Founded in the turn of the century, this BBQ joint has been captivating visitors and delighting taste buds for over 100 years. Their giant smokestack, which is visible from Lockhart’s Colorado street, is a longtime city landmark. But the real magic happens in the smoke pit, which customers get to walk right by as they make their order. The moment you walk through the doors, you’re greeted with the intoxicating scent of seasoned oakwood and smoked meats that practically carries you to the counter. Featured on popular TV shows such as Food Paradise, Crave, and Food Wars, Smitty’s is known for the painstaking amount of detail and time that goes into their selection and slow-cooking process. If you want to see what everyone is raving about, then order the melt in your mouth brisket, savory sausage, and juicy pork ribs, all of which were recently voted as the best in Caldwell County.
Sandwich and Fries at Market Street Cafe & Apothecary
While Lockhart isn’t exactly known for being health food conscientious, Market Street Cafe & Apothecary is one of the few exceptions in town. This quaint brunch and lunch spot is situated inside a small storefront on Lockhart’s square and has a true boutique restaurant feel with old-fashioned tiled floors and antique furniture galore. On the menu, you’ll find a healthy variety of guilt-free dishes that range from salads and starters like Fried Goat Cheese and Spinach Artichoke dip to massive entrees like Meatloaf and Mash and the “HoneyBird” pecan crusted chicken breast. But what really keeps people coming back to Market Street Cafe are Chef Sutton’s incredible sandwiches, which are made fresh with meats smoked in-house and served with a side of finger licking homemade french fries. Whether you stop by Market Street for brunch, lunch or dinner, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re feeling saucy, order an ice cold boozy root beer to wash it all down.
Hamburger at Grumpy’s
A fairly recent addition to Lockhart’s food scene, Grumpy’s has made a name for themselves thanks to their mouthwatering hamburgers. The location has an undeniable dive-bar feel, set inside a small old building with outdated furnishings. But that just seems to add to the affable charm and enigmatic allure of this no-frills burger joint. If you’re going to order anything here, it’s gonna be a burger. Made with a thick beef patty, the perfect amount of grease, and a fresh bun with a signature ‘G’ stamped into it, these burgers really hit the spot when you’ve worked up a good appetite from mixing and mingling with the locals. Get creative and order a specialty like the Jalapeño cheeseburger or the Guacamole Burger, or stick to the basics - always a choice - and get a classic cheeseburger with a side of crispy tots.
Pizza and Greek Salad at Loop and Lil’s
Once you’ve had your daily quota of brisket and baby back ribs and you’re ready to step outside the BBQ box, stop by Loop and Lil’s for a heaping hand-tossed pizza. Locals and visitors love this spot because the space is open, airy, and inviting and the food is always fresh and inventive. Loop and Lil’s has an enticing selection of rotating and specialty pies that come with cute names like The Mary Margaret (Loop and Lil’s take on the Margherita pizza) and The Old Plum Creek vegetarian pizza. They even have a few not-so-ordinary pies that are curiously delicious like the Smokehouse with smoked pork sausage and BBQ sauce and the Out of Towner with artichokes, feta, roasted bell peppers, and Genoa salami. There’s Maine root soda on tap in place of your run-of-the-mill soft drinks, and the crust is delightfully rustic and crunchy. Among the must-have menu, picks are the family-sized Greek salad, the heavenly calzones stuffed with spiced meats and cheeses, and the Save the Brock meat lovers pizza with pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage, and bacon. You can also build your own pie but honestly, why mess with perfection?
Steak Fajitas and Salsa at Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant
Of course, no tour of Texas would be complete without sampling some of the local Tex Mex cuisine. And, in Lockhart, Guadalajara has all the Mexican food fundamentals to satisfy your hankering for some south-of-the-Border flavor. Whether you’re looking for cheesy quesadillas or sizzling chicken fajitas, this classic hole-in-the-wall will deliver. Their homemade tortillas are served warm, their margaritas are the bomb, and there’s just something about the salsa that people can’t stop raving about! Of course, it doesn’t hurt that most of the dishes on the menu - like the enchiladas and Queso - come coated with a generous helping of Velveeta cheese, either. Some local favs from the menu include the loaded Guadaburger with everything, the stuffed chalupas and the Taco al Pastor, which comes with seasoned meat, cilantro and homemade corn tortillas. If you want to get the full Tex-Mex effect, order the flavorful Steak Fajitas with a side of chips and Queso and a Big Red Margarita to finish it off.
Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage and Sauerkraut at Kreuz Market
Another landmark BBQ spot in Lockhart that is worth a visit is the iconic Kreuz Market. This legendary smokehouse got its humble beginnings in 1900, when Charles Kreuz Sr. began barbecuing leftover meats from his meat market and serving it to patrons on butcher paper while they waited for their order. Thus began the Kreuz Market BBQ legacy. Using only the finest cuts of meats and slow smoking them to perfection on a wood fire pit, Kreuz has created an undying Texas tradition that has spanned several generations. Though the market has changed hands a few times since its inception, the new proprietors and pitmasters have gone to great lengths to ensure that the integrity of Kreuz‘s original concept remains intact. Today, pit boss Roy Perez — who is perhaps just as famous for his Elvia style mutton chops as he is for his smoked meats — is serving up the all the original Kreuz favorites along with a few new ones like German potato salad and pork spare ribs. Try the Jalapeño cheddar sausage and sauerkraut, which has become a new local sensation.
Family Pack and Texas Sweet Tea at Lockhart Chisolm Trail BBQ
Rounding out the essential BBQ list of Lockhart is the slightly lesser known (but equally as important) Lockhart Chisolm Trail BBQ. Locals have been frequenting this spot for decades thanks to their insanely low prices, huge BBQ plates and seemingly endless list of sides. This no-nonsense nosh spot has fast service, friendly regulars, and a menu overflowing with southern comfort foods and post oak wood smoked meats. You can even have your Chisolm Trail BBQ delivered right to your doorstep thanks to their worldwide shipping services. So you can have the taste of Texas anywhere in the world. But nothing compares to the utter bliss of a hot plate of Lockhart Chisolm BBQ straight from the pit. Along with a succulent selection of smoked meats and BBQ sandwiches, Chisolm Trail also has dozens of appetizing sides to choose from - which is part of what makes this BBQ joint so popular. From macaroni and cheese and fried okra to fajita baked potatoes and loaded french fries, you’ll have a hard time choosing just one thing! So do yourself a favor and get a “family pack” with beef brisket and Chisolm Trail’s specialty smoked sausage ring, then stock up on all the sides you can get your hands on, because each one is going to be outstanding. And don’t forget the oversized Texas Sweet tea to sip between BBQ bites.