Sunday, April 12, 2009

Kreuz Market in Lockhart, TX

Kreuz Market (pronounced Krites) has been in business since 1900 and the current pitmaster has not taken a day of vacation in 21 years. Waiting behind the counter, a nice lady who looks like a grandmother from Central Casting takes your order. She’s exactly who you hope to find at a place like this. She let me know that in 1999, a family feud led Rick Schmidt to take the name Kreuz to this location, while sister Nina kept the original location and named it Smitty’s.

The new Kreuz Market is a Texas sized dining hall, with two huge seating areas (seats 560) and a pit room with two giant pits. If you’ve ever sat in a big church when no service is going on, you know what JP and I felt like at Kreuz. The lady at the counter told me they do almost 50% of their business on Saturday, so on our Thursday afternoon visit we had the place almost to ourselves.

JP and I ordered a half-pound of brisket, a half-pound of ribs and two jalapeno cheese sausage links, which they pulled out of the giant smoker and sliced in front of us. Then we went into the dining room and ordered two Lone Stars and a small block of cheddar cheese.

The brisket had a smoky, peppery flavor to it. Similar to City Market, some pieces were dry, while others were juicy, tender and simply fantastic. The ribs, while a little dry, had a great smoke flavor to them. Having been smoked for hours with post oak, they were completely pink all the way through. The jalapeno cheese sausage was the best sausage I had on the trip, full of flavor and smoke. I invented a cardiologist’s dream sandwich by pouring sauce on some of the drier brisket, piling on chunks of cheddar cheese and sausage and smushing it all between white bread. I was pretty proud of myself.

All in all, Kreuz lived up to its reputation. JP and I walked out quite full, having just learned a valuable lesson in portion control.

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