We visited Lockhart on Valentine's Day. We ate at Blacks and Smitty's and looked around Kreuz.
We also walked around town and took pictures.
We all thought that Black's was the best barbecue we ever ate. We had brisket and sausage. Both were amazing! The brisket was really smoky and tender. The sausage was superb, nice bite to the skin, spiced just right and real juicy. Got it on butcher paper and just spread it all out on the middle of the table and ate with our fingers. Shiner bock rounded out the meal nicely.
The atmosphere at Black's was really great: the wood paneling and all the old pictures of HS football teams and bands. Bought a t-shirt and bumpersticker and they still smell like smoke!
Smitty's was next. LOVED the atmosphere. It felt like really old Texas. I understand that this was the original Kreuz. Knife chains still on the tables. The first couple of rooms and pit rooms were like antiques.
Had the brisket, clod, pork ribs and sausage. Wanted prime rib but they were out. If we hadnt gone to Blacks, I'd say this was the best brisket ever, but Blacks was a little more tender and smokier. The sausage: I liked a little better than Blacks, was more spicy and just hotter in general. The clod was kinda tough and not real smoky. The clod piece they cut seemed oddly shaped and very fatty, maybe is just wasnt the most choice piece. Ribs were huge and meaty and very smoky. Had the beans, not real special kinda bland. Shiner Bock again (very nice beer by the way). Kids had Big Red which they thought a little harsh.
Stopped in Kreuz just to look around. Liked all the antique implements on display. Main room was kind of cold that day. Was impressed by all the historical photos and implements, signs, just the uniqueness of it all. I hope to eat there next time through.
One final thought: we struggled with timing this chow event. It seems like in Lockhart, folks just eat cue whenever during daytime and we imagined it would be more like a nighttime dinner. But thanks to our friends on Chowhound, we arrived at about 3 pm and had a nice selection of stuff (darn it the prime rib at Smitty's was already gone). Following your suggestions, we ateat both places rather than carry back to the hotel and that was a key to our enjoyment. I guess it just seems weird (as in "Keep Austin..."?) to this northerner that these places are only open during the day. Also weird with the butcher paper and no forks, etc...but that kind of makes it cool!
As I told my wife on the way back..there is no way I am getting brisket at Merle's (our local favorite 'cue place in Evanston, Illinois) ever again! Nothing can compare to the barbecue in Lockhart, Texas!
All in all, a really fun road trip from our Austin vacation. Thanks to everyone for your help and recommendations.