Sunday, August 31, 2008
After a couple of deep breaths when we finished up at Kreuz, we drove about a minute down the road to our second lunch at Smitty's Market. Also one of Texas Monthly's Top 5 for 2008, expectations were again high. How would it compare to Kreuz? Was it worth driving 60 seconds past Kreuz, were we to return for a meal at just one spot in Lockhart? Could we judge it fairly, given that we had just eaten what was more than enough for one lunch? We had to stay focused.We waited in the sweltering Texas heat to enter the restaurant through the back door.
Once inside, our hopes of cooling off crashed like waves on jagged rocks. As you stand in line inside Smitty's, waiting to order, a fire burns on the floor, literally a couple of feet from you. Wood ablaze, ashes strewn, nothing separating you from the flames and the heat. Sweat came quickly.
Like Kreuz, no plates, no forks, no sauce. Just butcher paper and meat. We loaded up on brisket and ribs. The former was moist and tender; the latter, unlike the meaty, cracked-pepper ribs at Kreuz, were sweet and succulent. Both excellent. The slaw was a nice complement. Note: Unlike Kreuz, your basic pickle slices are not free at Smitty's. Like Kreuz, however, bread and/or crackers are.
Russell provides another great recap: "This place gives new meaning to, 'If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.' If you feel like stepping back in time, and don’t mind straight man-ing up to what must be several hundred degrees of flame and smoke to order you some meat…then you are truly in for a geniune Central Texas treat at Smitty’s. The brisket was amazing and the ribs, which had a bit of a sweet, melt-in-your-mouth flavor, were simply out-of-this-world awesome. Sweet tea was also top notch. This place is not for the faint of heart and requires you to man up and get your eat on."
Todd's reaction: "These ribs were covered in a sweet sauce, which was a little too sweet for my taste. I need to go back and try the other cuts of meat for a more accurate rating. The atmosphere and history of the joint helped the rating, watch out for the fire! Oh, and get some blue bell ice cream."
Jason loved him some ribs: "Crack ribs…that’s all I have to say about this place. Best ribs I’ve had in Texas maybe in my life. If you like pork ribs; you need to try Smitty’s. So of course I will review the ribs first; the ribs are sauced up; a sweet sauce that just goes well! I’m not saying that you need sauce to make a good rib…Hey I call these crack ribs for a reason; b/c I need them on frequent basis. The ribs that day were an 8.5 I like mine a litte more saucy...and it was def. competing against the dry rub pork I had at Kruez’s. Had the pleasure of getting Prime rib at Smitty’s; an excellent choice! I loved it; very tender and nice good rich flavor. The price was nice to; as it was significantly cheaper then Kruez’s; which was a selling point for me to try it! Def. a 9 on the prime rib!"
Both Kreuz and Smitty's were top notch. Both worth a drive. If you make the trip to Lockhart, you might as well hit up both. However, if I had to choose between the two, I'd give the slight edge to Smitty's, based on the ambience. Kreuz is in a newer, nicer building, while Smitty's looks like it hasn't change since oil was first struck in Lockhart and allows you the opportunity to mull your BBQ order standing next to an open fire, smack dab on the floor. I guess that tips the scales for me.
Russell's rankings - Ribs: 10; Brisket: 9; Overall experience: 9.8
Drew's rankings - Ribs: 9.5; Brisket 9.3; Overall experience: 9.5
Todd's rankings - Ribs: 7.25; Overall experience: 8.9
Jason's rankings - Ribs: 8.5; Prime rib: 9; Overall experience: 8.5
Overall Man-Up Ranking: 9.175