Deep in the Heart of Texas you’ll find a hidden gem. About 31 miles outside of bustling Austin lies Smitty’s Market, churning out arguably the best BBQ the state has to offer. While Smitty’s seems unassuming in its small-town charm, its notoriety for producing some of the Lone Star state’s best barbecue has helped make the name Lockhart synonymous with great eats!
Born and raised in the state of Texas, I’d like to think I’ve had my fair share of barbecue – and quite frankly I’ve found that a good barbecue experience is something to savor. From five-star kitchens to the backyard grill, I’ve made it a point to sample everything from beef ribs to barbacoa. While Smitty’s Market is by no means a world-renowned restaurant, one may find it impossible to leave unsatisfied (unless, of course, you happen to be vegetarian).
Let’s begin here: Lockhart, Texas. All over the Lone Star state, Lockhart is known for its barbecue. This small historical town, about a 45-minute drive from the state’s Capitol, has made a name for itself in a big way. If you ask any local where they should go to eat good barbecue, chances are you’ll be referred to Lockhart. Any number of barbecue restaurants in Lockhart have their die-hard regulars, and Black’s is one of the bigger names.
Yet, I can never forget my first visit to Smitty’s. Situated right off the town square, Smitty’s Market is unassuming in its modest storefront. Once inside, though, anyone can tell this place has a true old-town charm. The market itself dates back to the turn of the century, and tourists can admire antique framed photos accenting the blackened walls with a little bit of the space’s history.
Ordering food is exciting and also an adventure at Smitty’s. The customer enters another dark room, blackened with the smoke of years’ worth of barbecue, to place an order. Anyone can see the cooks hard at work, pulling out smoked meats from giant smokers and rekindling the flames with fresh logs that are kept stored out back en masse.
The prices are reasonable and the dining hall is wide open, giving an old-time feel to the whole experience. Locals and tourists alike sit in rows upon rows of picnic-style tables. The pork ribs fall right off the bone and melt in your mouth, while the hand-made sausages accent the authentic experience. After the meal, if you have enough room, you can even enjoy a hand-scooped Blue Bell ice cream cone!
While the state of Texas offers about a million choices in the way of barbecue restaurants, one of my absolute favorite places to go will always be Smitty’s Market! Read more about the history of Smitty’s Market on their website!.