A Visit To The Barbecue Capital Of Texas

It’s 4th of July. Everyone in America is celebrating their nation’s hard-earned gift of independence. How it’s being celebrated varies depending on family traditions and personal preferences but the common favorites are Fireworks at the town center, out-of-town weekend gateways and  barbecue feast among family and friends .

Downtown Lockhart

My family decided to go out-of-town and celebrate at the  Hill Country for 4 reasons. First, to taste the famous, authentic Texan Barbecue in Lockhart. Second, to experience the exciting water tubing at the San Marcos River. Third, to discover the Aquarena Springs, the first amusement park in Texas built-in the 1920’s. Fourth, to visit the shoppers ultimate dreamland, the Tangier and Premium Outlets in San Marcos.All of these combined has a similar euphoric effect that Fireworks can create.

Summer Adventure number 4 : A Visit To The Barbecue Capital In Texas

The Caldwell County Courthouse completed in 1894.

Welcome to the small but unique, hospitable town of Lockhart in Central Texas. In the 1920’s it was a boom town with the discovery of oil fields. Today, about 250,000 people a year eat BBQ at Lockhart. The four famous restaurants are Blacks Barbecue, Kreuz Barbecue, Chisholm Trail Barbecue and Smitty’s Market. Our family decided to savor the mouth-watering BBQ goodness at Kreuz which is correctly pronounced by the locals as “Krites.” When you’re hungry and travelled for 3 hours, the way you say the name doesn’t really matter anymore.

The restaurant has a cowboy country influence written all over it. Historical memorabilia pieces adorned the walls. Some of the traditional cooking equipment are still being used up to this day. It was fascinating to learn a bit of history while lining up for our food. The smell of good old barbecue fills the air and my hunger intensified.

The pit barbecue cooking using mesquite wood  gives a very distinctive flavor like no other. There’s 4 of these in the restaurant. We bought the BBQ by the pound at the area where it’s being cooked. It was very warm. Almost like what it feels like when you’re inside the car without an air conditioning. It made me appreciate the hard work of the staff and the conditions they have to endure each day to bring about the best tasting BBQ .


It was time to eat. We had a delicious array of brisket, beef ribs, smoked ham and spicy sausages served on a brownish-red butcher paper. I asked my brother-in-law, ” where is the sauce?” He told me that there is none. He said, ” good barbecue does not need sauce.” I asked him, “who said that?” He replied, ” the owner!” It turned out he and the owner were right. The BBQ was delicious.

Everyone had a satisfying BBQ experience. The trip was worth it all. We had some strawberry ice cream before heading to the next Summer adventure in San Marcos.

How did you celebrate your 4th of July? What’s the most important thing you like about this holiday? Sharing our stories is one way to keep this special day alive and well-remembered. Happy Independence Day to all!

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About Island Traveler

A father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a traveler, an optimist hoping to create something good & meaningful to every person he shares his world, his home, his dreams, his hope & heart with.
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35 Responses to A Visit To The Barbecue Capital Of Texas

  1. misswhiplash says:

    Aw! you could have parceled some up and sent it to Bulgaria. quite willing to provide address.. It looked so tasty, I could really enjoyed that. Instead I had Chicken pie and chips, not quite the same..
    I am happy that you all enjoyed your day
    love to all P

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    • Thank you. Nice to meet another BBQ lover. I thought I knew what a BBQ should taste like until I had one of the Authentic Texan kind. When they say its smoked, you can really taste the smokey goodness. I wish I could mail you one but the best time eat them is when they just came out of the BBQ pit. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Have a great day.

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  2. ennospace says:

    Hahaha~It really looks very delicious, and it is a city with history!!

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  3. God! when will u stop traveling? now I’m beginning to feel jealous! :p

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  4. If you ever have a free Saturday morning and you’re near Austin, head to Snow’s in Lexington, about 45 minutes Northeast of Austin. They are only open on Saturday mornings and usually sell out by lunchtime, but it is seriously the best BBQ I’ve ever had. As a native Texan, that’s saying a lot. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the comment. I will definitely check it out. Food is not just about eating, it’s the whole experience of seeing places and discovering people and their culture. I just move to Texas 5 years ago and I’m already loving it.

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    • Thanks for the comment. I will definitely check out Snow’s. I went to Austin about a year ago. Just amazing views of the Hill Country. This is my 5th year in Texas and I think it’s just a beautiful state to live.

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      • It is a great state. People are friendly, and … uh … colorful! And you’re right, lots of beauty. Have you been out to Big Bend National Park yet? Do that in the fall or spring, but it’s a great place for hiking. We did this one 14 mile hike where we climbed through 7 micro-climates. Absolutely amazing (not to mention, breathtaking views once we reached the summit).

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      • Oh, wow! I heard a friend mention about it. I was checking Garner State Park when I once again came across it. I will surely add that on my travel wish list. What county is that? Did you have to camp? Thanks for the replies.

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  5. cocomino says:

    I didn’t know how you enjoy 4th of July but I could understand that this holiday was important and enjoyable.
    Anyway I will try a barbecue that I don’t use any sauce.It’s a new challenge. 🙂

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    • They told me that it’s all in the BBQ preparation and the way it is cook. They used a BBQ pit and use Mesquite wood to create the fire. The wood adds to the smoke flavor. Other states us different wood like Hickory, wild cherry, sugar maple and so on. But is it doesn’t turn out as tasty, a BBQ sauce will still come in handy.

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  6. Sure sounds like you and your family had a wonderful time! I’m sure you are looking forward to more fun during your trip. The water tubing sounds so refreshing. And the amusement park sounds so nostalgic. As for me, I enjoyed some vegan grilling with my hubby. We had some delicious veggie burgers, grilled veggies, and fresh fruit smoothies. Yum! I know it must sound “boring” to someone who loves barbeque, but believe me it was so delicious! Anyway, it’s great to celebrate the 4th with family and friends. I could be in Alaska in freezing cold temperatures, and I would still have a blast!! I would just bring my coat 🙂

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    • Thanks for the comment. The veggie food sounds just as delicious and it’s good to all our health. I think any holiday,no matter where we are would always be a blast if our hearts are into it. In the end what matters is that you shared this day with the people you care about. Happy 4th of July. God bless you and your family. The coat seems like a must have item if it’s going to be in Alaska.

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  7. clarbojahn says:

    Thanks for sharing your fourth with us. We have our grandson visiting with us for a week and we’ve been playing with sparklers every night before bed. He hasn’t gotten tired of it yet and he’s been doing that every night for five nights. I am glad there’s still some left for his last night tonight. We tried going to see the fireworks at our local park and rec’s but it rained out and there wasn’t a rain date. We’ve been to a petting zoo, fishing, swimming twice, two play dates, biking while Grandpa and I walked two miles, and generally having a good time.
    He’s eight and we live three hours from his house but we visit every vacation and school break.

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    • Thank you for sharing your 4th of July and and fun Summer with your grandson. He’s one lucky boy to have such adventurous and generous grand parents. My in-laws are here with us for Summer and my son is also having the best time of his life. He’s bonding particularly with his grandpa. I really appreciate your advice the last time. Looks like you have an exciting and memorable Summer with your family. I’m happy for you. best wishes to you and your family.

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  8. Big Bend is in Brewster County. There are campgrounds, but there are also plenty of places to stay. We rented a place in Terlingua called the Terlingua House (we had three friends with us) and that was great. You are also not too far from Marfa, so check out the Marfa Lights. And, you have to take your son to the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. They have star parties most evenings and it is soooo coool!

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    • Thank you for the information. I’m all excited already. There so much to discover in Texas with so little time. Looks like you traveled to a lot of super cool places. have a great day.

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  9. eof737 says:

    What a great outing and the pictures make all the difference… Now that I am hungry, how do we get to some of these great food joints? LOL! Awesome post!

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    • Thanks for the comment. These are family owned BBQ restaurants in the Hill Country. From Houston it’s about 3 hours drive. It was on our way towards San Marcos and it was a perfect stop over. I didn’t know about it until my in-law who’s a chef told us about it.

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  10. jhirzel88 says:

    You had excellent pictures showing that restaurant on here! I felt very good reading this blog because I knew exactly what you were showing. As for my Fourth of July, the only thing I did was watch the Fireworks. I felt that I didn’t celebrate the Fourth of July like I had in the past. I remember going to carnivals and going on rides and stuff. There just aren’t as many great events like there used to be. Lets just be glad this nation is still prosperous! That’s all I have to say.

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    • Thanks for the comment. I didn’t see the fireworks. I had to work that night but I ended up going out of town 3 days before that and it was a lot of fun. I enjoy merging pictures with my writings. I just want the readers to feel like they were there themselves. Have a great day. Fun and adventure is all around us, we just have to give it a second look and a adventurous perspective. have a great day.

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    • I’m glad you like it. I always try to bring the story in a way that the reader would feel that they had been a part of it. There are places that I may never visit but the other bloggers help me see those places through their posts. Thanks again.

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  11. Susan says:

    What a great and informative post! Sounds like you all had a fabulous time….now I’m hungry for some good barbecue! 🙂

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    • Thanks. The talk/post of food also makes me hungry. It was fun. My son was so excited. Everything was new to him and he was on cloud 9 especially the river experience. I’ve yet to share it soon. Have a blessed day.

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  12. hiddenlondon says:

    Great photos, glad to hear you enjoyed the day. We once celebrated 4th July with a Stars and Stripes flag made out of fruit!! (the healthy way to go I guess!)

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    • Thanks. That is one unique , refreshing, healthy to celebrate it. But I guess whats important is how we take care of that freedom regardless of what country we came from. Freedom from all sorts of bondage, equality, peace should all be enjoyed by everyone and not for just a chosen few. The world has a long way to heal but it can happen as long as we are trying. Happy Independence Day. P.S. The BBQ was good but it’s something you need to enjoy every now and then and not on a regular basis( clogs the arteries.)

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  13. thedailydish says:

    Looks like a delicious way to ring in the 4th!! We’ve been on vacation the past 2 weeks in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Beautiful, and internet-less — guaranteeing you spend more time relaxing than you ever do at home! On the 4th the tiny town where we stayed put on a big parade and street fair. People from all over, many out of state vacationers, came to witness the festivities. Much fun was had by all — but truth be told, after 2 weeks away I am HAPPY to be home!!

    🙂

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    • Thanks. Vermont is such a beautiful place. What a great way to spend a 4th of July vacation with your family. That is one future post I want to read.. Small towns from my experience are fun, hospitable places to visit, people are down to earth and very welcoming. And their festivities, just full of excitement. I’m glad that you had a wonderful time with your family. You’re right though that after a certain time of being away from home, it feels good to be back.

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  14. In the spring I flew from San Francisco for a weekend of fun in Austin, and the first thing we did after picking up our rental car was drive to Lockhart for BBQ. We went to Smitty’s, and it was amazing. I only wish that I had a big enough stomach for two lunches, because then I would have tried Kreuz too.

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    • If only I knew about it sooner, I would have been visiting the place every year. The town and the food combined makes the whole experience unforgettable. We used to visit San Francisco via Bart Train from the bay area. Sweet days! Miss the cable car and the view of the Pier. And the Dungenees crabs, aren’t they the best? Thanks for the comment.

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