Saturday, August 30, 2008
The first stop on our Mission of Manliness was Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas. Lockhart, dubbed The Barbecue Capital of Texas by the Texas Legislature, is home to Kreuz, Smitty's, Black's, and Chisholm Trail. Our 3.5-hour round trip included BBQ at Kreuz and Smitty's, followed by peach cobbler a la mode at Chisholm Trail. Needless to say, we came out of the gate swinging. As we left Chisholm Trail, full of wholesome BBQ goodness and high on life, we knew we had set the bar high for the many outings to come. Lesser men would shy away, but, well, they are lesser men. Drew, Jason, Rex, Russell, and Todd laughed in the face of the challenge, firing back with a call to "Bring it!"
Kreuz's stellar reputation preceded it (ranked one of the Top 5 BBQ joints in 2008 by Texas Monthly magazine), and it did not disappoint. As is the case with several authentic Texas BBQ spots, Kreuz is a no-frills place: No plates (just butcher paper). No forks (just plastic knives). No BBQ sauce (just hot sauce). With 2 stops left, we knew we had to pace ourselves. Even so, we manned up with some serious orders. The main events were the meaty, cracked-pepper ribs and the thick slices of brisket and shoulder clod. The jalapeno-cheese sausage is a must-try, and the ham was a hit. (View the menu.)
Russell recounts the stop, with comparisons to Smitty's (Smitty's post to follow.): "As brisket goes, this is first class, probably about as well as meat can be barbequed by human hands. I believe this place is older than Smitty’s, but somehow Smitty’s feels more authentic. Was not a huge fan of their ordering system, measurement of weights, or the 'service' we received. Did respect Kreuz’s avoidance of forks and sauce; that was delightfully primitive. Neither Kreuz’s nor Smitty’s really need any sauce; that said, I do recommend putting a bit of tabsco or hot sauce on their brisket anyway (and wrapping it in some bread) for that extra man-up flavor! Loved their brisket and shoulder clod; would rank their ribs just a notch below Smitty’s."
Todd weighs in: "These ribs were fabulous! Some of the best I have ever had. Next time, I think I might even forgo every other cut of meat. These ribs were seasoned perfectly, not too much, but just right! The shoulder brisket was good. This cut of meat is pretty lean, so it loses a bit of flavor there. This was good, but I've certainly had better. The ham was amazing. This was some of the best ham I have had. If you go, and this is on the menu, you must try it."
Jason says, "So our first spot on our Texas bbq review started in good ole Lockhart; some call BBQ capital of America! This was my first time coming to Kruez’s in the several visits out to Lockhart. I ordered the pork chop and brisket. Pork chop was a little dry at some places; but near the bone was Awesome!! Dryness is expected outside the pork chop; but a little hot sauce took care of that. Kreuz’s has no sauce; but the dry rub was exceptional! Good old salt and pepper rubbed outside of that bad boy! You must always measure a good bqq by its brisket. So of course I ordered some…Good taste, good texture, and good quality. Fatty pieces are always great! Not the best I’ve had. A little dry in some places as well...the sausage that I tried of Rex’s plate....wow!! Great stuff; I would def. order this next time I go back!"
All Man-Up rankings are on a 10-point scale.
Russell's rankings - Ribs: 8.5; Brisket/Shoulder: 9.5; Overall: 9.5
Drew's rankings - Ribs: 9.8; Brisket/Shoulder: 8.5; Ham: 9.5; Jalapeno-cheese sausage: 9.0; Overall: 9.1
Todd's rankings - Ribs: 9.5; Brisket/Shoulder: 6.98; Ham: 9.5; Overall: 9.6
Jason's rankings - Pork chop: 7; Brisket: 7.5; Sausage: 9; Overall: 8
Overall Man-Up Ranking: 9.05