Chisholm Trail BBQ Lockhart Texas. So everyone boasts to have the best BBQ, especially here in Texas where everyone brags about anything and everything. So when our roaming correspondent and local BBQ expert hit the road once again to ingest some serious calories, they ended up in this central Texas town of Lockhart, about 30 miles southeast of Austin, Texas. Here, they claim the best BBQ in the state. Truly, some of the joynts he mentions go back to the early 1900′s, and Chisholm Trail BBQ to the 70′s, the ‘new kid’ in town. So are they the best? Well, read on……
Last holiday weekend brought a quick lunch trip down to Lockhart, TX, proclaimed “The BBQ Capital of Texas”. Pretty strong words, there pardner, but can they back it up? The answer is…Hell yes!
This small town of approximately 14,000 people, the county seat of Caldwell County has one of the most picturesque County Courthouses in Texas, completed in 1894. This town was on one of the main trails of the Chisholm Trail, with Cowboys riding herd to drive beef to the railheads in Kansas. That history of handling beef has taken hold with four BBQ places (and counting) that would be considered among the best in Texas.
After previously trying the better-known BBQ “joints” in town, like Blacks, Smitty’s, and Kruez, we were determined to try “Chisholm Trail BBQ” right on Hwy 183 in town, but well past the other places mentioned above. The low-slung, but long building is unimpressive outside, with signs advising of a wide variety of foods including chicken-fried steaks and fajita plates. We found one parking spot available out front—the place was packed. Walking in , there is initial confusion, no real directions to the service line—indeed there were two lines. After watching a minute and then asking a local, we learned that the left hand line is for “to Go” orders and the right line was for either eat-in or to go. The floor was commercial tile, the tables, old worn Formica, scattered about several divided rooms. Old pictures and the occasional stuffed bobcat/coyote were the decorations. A wide variety of choices then presented themselves—what to eat. You can order a plate with 1 or more meats and sides, or just order various meats by the pound. You can get a Styrofoam container to eat in or go, or just have them put it on butcher paper like other places in town. We quickly decided on the plate lunch, either the 1 or two meat plate came with 3 sides (most places offer two sides) along with bread and onions (which I think must be offered by law in Texas). In order to compare “apples to apples” when reviewing BBQ, I usually get the brisket and sausage as I did here. The sides had over a dozen choices, cottage fries, green beans, pinto beans, potato salad, coleslaw, fried okra, mac and cheese, black eyed peas, green salad, were among those offered. My companion got green beans and black-eyed peas, and I got the ‘tater salad and coleslaw. (again, pretty standard for comparison sakes).
The green beans tasted like home-grown picked and slow-cooked with ham bits-very good. The black-eyed peas were met with approval. The potato salad was delicious, crunchy, firm, with celery and pimento bits included. The only disappointment was the coleslaw. While the presentation was good, with carrots chopped and added to the mix for good color, the slaw was bland, almost warm, vinegar-based. The sweet tea was especially refreshing after a busy morning.
But let’s talk about the reason for the visit—the slow-cooked meats. The brisket was very tender, with a beautiful pink smoke ring. Juicy but lean, it almost melts in your mouth. The flavor both with and without sauce was close to the best we have had on the BBQ road. (Country Cousins in Centerville—watch out!) The sausage was very good, the casing was tough to cut, but the meat inside was smoked, with interesting spices. Not the best sausage we have had, but certainly in top 3 territory. The brisket could be cut with a small plastic knife with little effort. BBQ sauce was available on the side(Bonus Points!). We bought two pounds of sliced brisket to take home with us, something we seldom do.
We found that having three sides with the BBQ plates to be a great value as well as delicious. The prices were the best we have seen on The Barbecue Road. Great food, great prices, great value—no wonder the locals pack the place! Overall, The Chisholm Trail BBQ gets an “A”, better grades than most of the more famous BBQ brethren in town. The food is better, the attitude is better, the place was packed with locals—all the visitors hit the other places…but the food—mmmm…..great job, folks, great job. We will be back!
The Barbecue Road beckons…..
PS: A trip to their website indicates they will ship you meat across the county. Several of the better BBQ joints in Texas have begun to do this. This is a way, although not the best like being there, to try some of the meats written about regularly on our bohemian site.
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