Reviews

Kreuz Market

The old Kreuz Market was like a one-room chapel. The humble brick building off the courthouse square in Lockhart had turned out divine smoked meat since 1900. But just as churchgoers nowadays worship in larger halls, so too does the visitor to the new Kreuz Market, which opened in 1999 in a gigantic building at the edge of town. (The old building now houses Smitty’s.) Kreuz (pronounced “Krites”) does 45 percent of its business on Saturday….

Lamberts Downtown Barbecue

Can a place that cooks its meat in a gas-burning rotisserie make really great ’cue? Well, the brown-sugar-and-coffee-rubbed brisket was delicious, the maple-and-coriander-encrusted pork ribs were tender, the pulled pork was perfect, and the chorizo-ish jalapeño hot links were unforgettable. Sides and desserts were extraordinary. A jícama-and-carrot slaw, in particular, had plenty of cilantro and lime to cleanse the palate, and the hot blackberry fried pie prompted an “oh, my God.”

Cripple Creek B-B-Q

Though the usual fare can be found at Bill and Patty Flowers’s joint, it would be a barbecue sin not to sample their famous hog wings. The delectable hickory-smoked wing—actually a pork shank—looked like a juicy meat lollipop. Instead of dipping this treat in the unremarkable barbecue sauce, try the sweet, hot Mae Ploy chile sauce, traditionally served with Thai barbecue.

Longhorn Cattle Company Barbecue and Steak Restaurant

Even though the back room is the size of a barn, it has character: rough timber walls and Longhorn skulls. A cup of charro bean soup arrived gratis the minute we sat down, easing our wait for the all-around-good-quality mesquite-smoked meats (chicken and ribs were the best, brisket close behind). A bonus: real china plates and metal utensils.

The Smokehouse

This modest spot with vinyl tablecloths and a TV mounted on the wall is brought to life by the old players handling the forty-foot indoor pit. We encountered laborers, families, and professional types all enjoying crunchy-on-the-outside, flavorful-and-moist-on-the-inside 24-hour brisket along with juicy pork ribs and not-too-greasy sausage, all smoked over mesquite. The homemade sauce (with a touch of honey?) is mighty fine.

Hashknife on the Chisholm

Like a mirage in the desert, the Hashknife springs up out of nowhere at an otherwise unremarkable intersection just north of Mineral Wells. Pitmaster Jim McLennan and his wife, Lesa, have been in business here only since 2006, but Jim’s been serving up ’cue for oil field workers and nearby ranches since he was sixteen. We could taste the experience: His pecan-and-oak-smoked ribs were juicy and his vinegar slaw unparalleled.

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