Texans have been making the day trips to the barbecue mecca of Lockhart for eons. The small town with its triple treat of barbecue joints is the official Barbecue Capital of Texas. While Lockhart has traditionally been known as a day trip destination, it has more than enough to offer for a relaxing weekend getaway. Put your bags down, stop for awhile, and enjoy the small town life with your barbecue.
Where to Stay:
The newly opened boutique hotel, The Ellison House, blends history and chic comfort into one stay. A husband and wife duo from Austin converted the 1880s boarding house into the boutique five rooms hotel last year. The couple scoured vintage thrift stores, local second-hand stores and Craigslist to find the perfect furnishing to create an “L.A.-meets-Texas” country, vintage vibe. The living room is furnished with a record player and records from the beloved red-headed stranger, rooms are decorated with vintage-pull down maps, and claw-foot tub on black-and-white tile bathroom create a sense of history of a time gone-by.
Like a traditional bread-and-breakfast, the Ellison House has shared common areas. Rocking chair lined porches, hammocks and an expansive lawn provide plenty of outdoor relaxation opportunities.
What to Do:
The Ellison House is a ten minute walk to the downtown square. Restaurants, bars, shops and one of the oldest library in Texas surround the majestic Caldwell County Courthouse. The three story courthouse built in 1893 with cream-colored limestone and red sandstone is the most photographed courthouse in Texas. Loads of visitors spend the afternoon walking off barbecue, taking photos, and shopping for vintage Texas wears.
Or spend a more active afternoon enjoying nature at the nearby Lockhart State Park. The 263-acre park has plenty of hiking and biking trails, a nine-hole golf course (with green fees of just $9), and a swimming pool to keep you burn off those calories.
What to Eat:
You are in Lockhart, you need to eat barbecue.
If the wind picks up you can smell the smoke coming off the Black’s Barbecue pit from the Ellison House front porch. Black’s is the oldest barbecue restaurant run by one family in Texas. Today brisket is considered a Central Texas barbecue staple, but when Black’s opened 82 years ago it was the first restaurant in town to serve the juicy cut.
Be prepared to get your hands dirty at Kreuz Market. Their longtime rule “No forks, No Sauce” is no longer in effect because of nit-picky Yelpers complaining about eating with their hands (guess they didn't want to get their smart phone screen greasy). The old-school meat market still has plenty of napkins available in case you want to eat your spicy sausage links or thick pork chop the old fashion way.
Walking through the smoke-lined walls of Smitty's Market gives you the sense of the history behind this barbecue joint. Smitty’s opened in 1900 as a German butcher shop. Today you still order your meat on butcher paper, no plates here, and squeeze into a long communal table. Be prepared to wait during peak hours as the line wraps around the building.