Like many CH readers, I wondered about the Texas Monthly list. Are these five places really the best? I was especially curious about Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. Could a pit only open on Saturday really beat the great pits of Lockhart, Luling and Taylor? There was only one way to find out. And so, on one Friday and Saturday I ate at all five.
It’s not really that difficult. You simply have to pace yourself. It’s like going to Napa Valley and hitting many wineries. Also, it helps if you don’t fill up on bread/crackers or eat sides. On Friday, I sampled Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market in Lockhart and then City Market in Luling. On Saturday (after a stop at Round Rock Bakery) it was Snow’s and then Louie Mueller in Taylor. After that, all I really wanted was a salad.
Here is what I found.
1. It is worth it to drive to Snow’s if only for the brisket.
I hit Snow’s at 9:30 on Saturday morning. Already, there was a line and a full if small dining room. In talking to Kerry Bexley and the amazing Tootsie Tomanetz they don’t run out quite as quickly as they used to. This is because their mail order operation has allowed them to expand the number of pits. The brisket is so tender and flavorful. I don’t like burnt ends normally but these are amazing. The other meats are good but not quite as good as the brisket. So, if your BBQ favorite meat is ribs or sausage, Snow’s won’t be the great experience as it is for a brisket lover. Still, I’d go anyway if simply to see the pits and eat BBQ at 9:30 without feeling weird. The order for the other four for brisket was City Market, Smitty’s and then Louie Mueller’s (I didn’t have brisket at Kreuz because they had smoked prime rib and Smitty’s was out. However, I thought the brisket at City Market was better than the prime rib at Kreuz).
2. City Market in Luling is the best overall.
Snow’s has great brisket. But I believe City Market’s sausage and ribs are better. Also, its hours are better and they don’t run out of meat. If you could only go to one pit on a Saturday morning I might lean towards Snow’s. But as a general one pit rule I’d go to City Market over Lockhart and Taylor. This brings me to my next point.
3. The Austin tollroads changes everything.
It used to be so hard to get to these pits. Now, SH 130 ends about ten miles North of Lockhart (24 miles North of Luling) and cuts travel time to Lexington and Taylor. At some point, these pits will become suburban restaurants. Already, the building that houses Smitty’s also hosts a gym. I hope easier access doesn’t ruin these places but you may want to hurry.