On a cold January day the first thing you notice about the (rear) entrance of Smitty's is a welcome stack of blazing logs (not sure if designed for the cold weather or typical even on 100 degree days) that warms you upon entry.
The vast iron pits and slightly Serbo-Croat glyph-like writings on the boards can leave you (as a first-timer) a bit confused, but it soon becomes clear choices are fairly simple and center around meat, how much thereof. Also number in your party will be asked to determine size of butcher paper and apportionment of bread and plastic cutlery.
I ordered a slice of "lean" shoulder, two of "fat" (brisket), two pork ribs, and a link of hot sausage. Bread was offered but not required in my case. You pay for the meat in the pit area then (if eating IN) proceed through the double glass doors into a vast cavernous space where drinks and fixin's are dispensed and paid for separately. I got onion and pickles: the standards. Later I noticed many people had possibly the most unlikely side I could have imagined, namely . . . whole avocados. I cannot imagine the combination of BBQ and avocado being that brilliant but its popularity suggests some sort of taste combination you have to try to appreciate.
Now, the meat . . . well, it was perfectly good but I have to say it did not have me reaching for the superlatives thesaurus or thinking I had died and gone to meat heaven. Perfectly and very good was about it. The ribs were particularly disappointing for me as it appeared some sort of glaze or other (pre fire soak??) adjunct was on the rib. I prefer mine unadulterated. The sausage was only fine. I admit I don't warm to Texas sausage much. It's so close to the meat itself it's made from I can't see the point of all the extra work. I realize this is likely heresy but I just don't get it.
The shoulder and the brisket were nice but certainly not oozing juice and only showling mild signs of smoke on the crust. Just to be 100% clear, this was very nice meat just not died-and-gone-to-heaven quality. I LOVED most of all the people-watching. Glorious to see so many happy people communing with butcher-paper-wrapped late Christmas "presents."
When I visited the close-by Black's I have to say I rated their brisket much higher, mainly as I did not feel any need whatsoever to want sauce with theirs. Here at Smitty's the table sauce is a thin hot pepper one. Thin and in order to get more than a few drops (which, trust me, you want plenty more than) you have to temporarily remove the plastic stopper thingee and then you can pour a good amount into a container, in my case the thing the pickle had come in. While sauce may be anathema to Texas BBQ in general, here I warmed to the combination. The slightly dry meat needed sauce I found and the pepper thin "bite" of this sauce I found very much to my taste with the shoulder and brisket.
Overall a very enjoyable visit but as I say as Lockhart goes I say Smitty's has far superior "theater" but Black's sliced brisket may be the one to go for unless you are going to do both.
One final note, I visited Sunday. Since everyone must get a day off it's possible the pitmaster etc. is the standby one on Sundays. I tend to think that M-F operations should be sampled at places before finally passing judgment.
Thanks for reading.
208 South Commerce
Lockhart, Texas 78644
Mon. - Fri. 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat. 7 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Fresh Choice Meat