208 S. Commerce
208 S. Commerce
Fire is hypnotic. Staring into it can be mesmerizing and may even alter your state of mind. Take the fire at Smitty’s Market for example. Just inside the back door, which is really the primary entrance, an open fire is the first thing you encounter. The flames lick their way beyond the edge of a towering brick wall. Beyond the wall, the space opens up into a large room with meat-filled brick pits. At a…
Something about watching a man in a grease stained white jacket and a large knife portioning out my lunch, makes me crave it even more with every slice. Service is curt and efficient at this Lockhart legend, but the only niceties I need were piled on that butcher paper. An order of fatty brisket, lean shoulder clod, ribs, sausage and a large pork chop were tantalizing atop the greasy butcher paper. The sweet glaze on…
Don’t bother going in the front door. You’ll end up in the parking lot behind the boxy brick building anyway, doing the Smitty’s shuffle: At peak hours, the lines invariably stretch out the back door. Patiently, you inch your way forward, passing the waist-high brick pits and perusing the list of post oak–smoked meats (brisket, pork ribs and chops, shoulder clod, sausage, prime rib). Salivating, you finally place your order for a pound or so…
Smitty’s is just too good to dock it a star based on one mediocre visit, but this last one wasn’t up to the level I’m used to at Smitty’s. [After some poignant review of the last few visits, I must reconsider the high rating of five stars. Of four visits, three have been mediocre, including the last two. This is not a streak worthy of such a high rating.] While the sausage was well smoked as always, I realized I just like a bit of pork in the mix to moisten things up. This all beef sausage is just so intensely beefy, but it if you top a saltine with a slice and a dot of hot sauce, it makes for a great flavor combination.
The sweet glazed pork ribs were huge and meaty, but needed more time on the smoker to render out those gobs of fat. The end cut off the pork chop was an excellent cut with plenty of seasoning and great smokiness. The meat was moist, and the chunks of fat were nicely rendered. Clod wasn’t ready so we opted for brisket which was the biggest disappointment. The tough slices held little smokiness, and while they were well seasoned, they needed much more cooking time to tenderize. The fat remaining on each slice was also a bit chewy and unappetizing. This is odd since Smitty’s has a knack for making fat appetizing, seriously.
Finally, there’s just something about the attitude the staff here. The meat cutter almost seemed annoyed that he had to stop his smoke break at the counter to go back and cut off some brisket for us. I know they’ll get the business regardless of the level of service, but it would add so much to the mystique and small town feel of this joint if they just made a sincere effort to help their customers enjoy what can be a great meal.
(This review originally appeared on Full Custom Gospel BBQ.)