Hold up in Dallas. Not exactly known as a mecca for Texas' specialty slow smoked BBQ. Though there are many types of barbecue across the country and many I enjoy, over the years I've come to understand that Texas style is my favorite. In Texas 'cue is all about the meat (mostly beef which I prefer), and the smoke. Here in Dallas brisket is king --as it is across the state -- but pork has made significant inroads. Beef ribs, the pinnacle of TX barbecue and the focus of my local meat love affair -- are hardly to be found. The sauce -- if even included -- is at best an afterthought. Fine with me.
Maybe not the best the state has to offer. But when in Texas one must eat barbecue.
Not too far from my hotel I found the well reviewed Lockhart Smokehouse, a local mini-chain run by relatives of the more famous purveyor Kreuz Market. Why not I thought and headed over. True to Texas market style you walk up to the counter where your order is cut, weighed, and wrapped, along with spongey white bread, in butcher paper. I ordered burnt ends, a one day a week specialty, and jalapeño sausage. Burnt ends, generally a specialty of Kansas City BBQ, are one of my favorite meats. It is the slow cooked point cut (the fattier part) of brisket often cubed and some times covered in sauce. At Lockhart's the cubes are big with the requisite black char "bark". They look just right but in fact -- and perhaps because for the lunch rush the meat is already cubed and waiting in the hot box -- the meat was a bit dry. Smokey enough but dry. The sides, deviled eggs and blue cheese coleslaw were at best nothing special. But, contrary to the reviews I read, the sausage was the highlight of my visit. There is something indescribably alluring about the taut skin of slow smoked sausage and Lockhart's version (supplied by Kreuz Market) nearly popped under my teeth. Juicy, flavorful and highly spiced this sausage and the ample supply of spicy pickle chips were the highlight of my afternoon visit.
To be honest Lockhart can't stand up to the greats of TX barbecue. Its close and that may be the best recommendation I can offer. If I were nearby I might venture in for a sausage link but I'd remember not to order anything else.