Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Ah, load-out day. Sigh. Another wonderful weekend getaway about to end. This one I feel followed the usual pattern of such getaways: Day One filled with anticipation and travel tensions, Day Two chock-full of wonderful discovery and healing, Day Three a whistful sadness at departure. My lovely wife the Rock Star and I spent the morning leisurely packing, with more good coffee after another very good nights sleep (love those comfortable beds!), then with quick stops for gas and ATM, left New Braunfels vowing to give Lockhart another shot. Which would it be this time? Kreuz? They were closed and sauceless to boot. Blacks?? Possible, but too many mixed reviews. City Market in Luling??? I really regret not trying their recommended pork ribs, but we were coming in to Lockhart by another road and it would have entailed an extra side trip. No, we decided to stop for lunch at a local's favorite place. You see, whilst lunching the day before at Gruene River Grill, I happened to mention our desire to revisit Lockhart to our lovely waitress Scarlett. (Yes, that was really her name, and no, I did not ask about Rhett and Tara.) Serendipity! Turns out Scarlett is from Lockhart and recommended two places, one of which was Kreuz, and the other was a place named after a historic cattle drive route.


When I was doing pre-trip research for this roadtrip on Chowhound, someone mentioned this place, saying that they heard Chisholm Trail had great side dishes, and I somewhat rudely replied that going to a great BBQ place for sides is like going to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf and ordering steak. I distinctly recalled that exchange as I was dining on Chisholm Trail's (you guessed it) excellent sides. Chisholm Trail is a newcomer to the Lockhart scene, having only been in business since the 1970's, and yes indeed, they are a local's favorite. The parking lot to this rather trailer-like building was almost full about Sunday noon, but there was still plenty of room inside. You go thru a cafeteria line, dishing up the sides yourself (three to an order are allowed), then you tell the friendly counter folks what kind of 'cue meats your needs, and they slice it for you. My brisket and pork ribs were quite good and full of flavor, but I do feel the sides are the thing here, particularly the tangy, well balanced potato salad. The BBQ beans were full of deep, rich smoke flavor, and the corn-on-the-cob was very good as well. The Rock Star, I must admit, continued her persnickety ways, and wants me to be sure and tell both of my readers that in her opinion the best barbecue in Texas is found in Taylor (Louis Mueller's) and Llano (Cooper's), not Lockhart. I feel she enjoyed the meals we had in Lockhart, especially Smitty's sausage, but is rather dismayed that Lockhart gets all the hype, while other Texas Meccas do better, in her opinion. For the record, she had Chisholm Trail's brisket and turkey. Under cross-examination, she admitted both were fine, but her enjoyment was tempered by the fact that the temperature inside the restaurant resembled an icebox in Antarctica, so much so that she made a quick end to her lunch and retreated to our car for warmth. Chisholm Trail Barbecue is worth exploring in warmer times, however, and unlike other Lockhart eateries, they do take credit cards. I could find no website, so call 512 398-6027 with any questions or temperature updates.

After lunch, we stopped briefly at a Dairy Queen for a dip-cone dessert, which restored my lovely wife's mood nicely, and duly chugged home. On balance, a very successful roadtrip. Visit Lockhart, New Braunfels, and Gruene soon, and as always:



Donna said...

Hey Czar, nice series of reports. Makes me anticipate my trip down to Lockhart at the end of March even more. Part of the fame of Lockhart can be attributed to the fact that the BBQ joints there are so concentrated. You don't have to travel far to get a sampling of some of the State's best. Add to that the long family histories and back stories, and you have that "legend" feel.

I ran into some fatty brisket at Black's last time I was in Lockhart, and was informed that if you want less fatty brisket, you need to request it. Lesson learned, I guess the urbanized BBQ joints have been serving leaner cuts of brisket to better suit the "city" taste and I just got used to it.

Food Czar said...

Donna, I think you are spot on with your assessment of why most people travel to Lockhart. Why go to just one Mecca when you can get 4-for-1? (Five if you count City Market in Luling.) I finally decided on Chisholm Trail for my last day visit for the simple reason that the locals visit it and virtually no one else would even mention it. I often find I have a more interesting adventure when I take the road less traveled.