The Barbecue Capital of Texas
Anyone doing research on Texas BBQ will quickly uncover that while Texas has multiple styles of barbecue, the one that is “World Famous” is Central Texas style BBQ. Dig into this subject matter a little more intensely and you’ll find that it traces its roots to the small town of Lockhart, TX, population 14,844 (according to the 2021 US Census Bureau).
According to H.R. Resolution 1024 by the Representatives of the 76th Texas Legislature, Lockhart earned the honor of “The Barbecue Capital of Texas” due to its appreciation for the alchemy of post oak and patience, its confluence of cultures, fortuitous location on the Chisholm trail and being home to some of the most historic and best establishments. Here is the proposal according to government records.
WHEREAS, Of all the many culinary arts mastered in the Lone Star State, none commands the type of respect and admiration that is accorded barbecue, and no community in Texas can best the city of Lockhart when it comes to an appreciation for the extraordinary alchemy of post oak and patience; and
WHEREAS, The buckle of the Lone Star barbecue belt, Lockhart's fortuitous location witnessed the confluence of Plains Indians, Hispanic vaqueros, and German immigrants; the technique, substance, and skill of a variety of cultures combined to establish barbecue as a favorite food of many Texans; and
WHEREAS, The city's role as a major center on the historic Chisholm Trail spurred the continued refinement of barbecue, and today Lockhart is home to some of the state's most historic, and best, barbecue establishments; and
WHEREAS, There is Black's, owned by the same family since 1932, and Kreuz Market, which first fired its pits in 1900; founded in 1978, the Chisholm Trail Barbecue is a relative newcomer but, like the others, draws its share of fans from across Texas and indeed the United States; and
WHEREAS, From Amarillo to Brownsville and from El Paso to Nacogdoches, the renown which Lockhart barbecue enjoys is indeed widespread, and it is justly fitting to acknowledge that city's preeminence at this time; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 76th Texas Legislature hereby recognize Lockhart as the Barbecue Capital of Texas and extend to the city's pit masters and other residents best wishes for continued success.
May 26, 1999 - 76th Texas Legislature
Lockhart's Famous Restaurants
One key element of the proposal to recognize Lockhart as the BBQ capital was its historic restaurants. If you want to learn more about these restaurants, Texas BBQ historian and writer Daniel Vaughn provides A Timeline of Lockhart Barbecue in this article from February of 2015.
Lockhart's Press Coverage
According to another article by Daniel Vaughn in Texas Monthly, the “inaugural barbecue story” that Texas Monthly published was in 1966 and featured Kreuz Market barbecue. The article goes on to state that in the magazine’s third issue ever published in 1973, “Lockhart and Taylor were considered the best destinations for barbecue in Texas.”
1999 - An Interesting Year for Lockhart, Texas
Based on my research, this proposal by the state legislature was not the only big news that emanated from Lockhart in 1999. According to multiple sources there was a family quarrel between the son and daughter of Edgar "Pappy" Schmidt related Kreuz Market that made national news. The event apparently became known as "Barbefeud" and I can speculate that it helped build even more interest in this little town.
Tim's Take on Lockhart, Texas
If you read the Back Story of Crossbuck BBQ, you'll learn that our Chef-Pitmaster, Tim McLaughlin, was recruited by the step-grandaughter of Edgar "Pappy" Schmidt to help bring Lockhart Texas' style of BBQ to Dallas. The restaurants that he helped her and her husband co-found were aptly named Lockhart Smokehouse. While he has not been involved in the operation of these restaurants since December of 2020, he still takes great pride in their development over the years.
At Crossbuck BBQ, Tim and Damian still honor many of the traditions of this Central Texas style BBQ that made Lockhart so famous...although virtually every element has been enhanced a little to enhance the flavors and consistency of the BBQ while evolving to meet the service and selection expectations of today's diner.