When the latest Monthly rankings came out, two of its five "best of the best" were in Lockhart. A town of 11,000, Lockhart became Texas' barbecue capital for three reasons. First, Germans and Czechs settled in this part of Texas starting in the mid-19th century, bringing the central European butchering and smoking techniques that made Texas barbecue. Second, Lockhart is where the Schmidt family settled. And third, the Schmidt family can't get along.
In 1948, Edgar Schmidt bought a German meat store in Lockhart from the Kreuz family. Over the next half-century, Schmidt's Kreuz Market became the most beloved barbecue restaurant in the state. In 1999, nine years after Edgar's death, his children squabbled. Son Rick Schmidt was running Kreuz Market, while daughter Nina Schmidt Sells owned the building. Nina wouldn't renew the lease, so Rick took the coals out of the pits and hauled them five blocks down the road to the massive new Kreuz Market—a "barbefeud" that made the newspapers and even got a segment on 48 Hours. Nina and her son kept the old Kreuz and renamed it Smitty's Market—thus turning the greatest barbecue restaurant in the world into the two greatest barbecue restaurants in the world.