Hi everyone, my name is Takahashi and I’m the manager and pitmaster at the Bashamichi Taproom. I recently had the opportunity to fulfill my dream of going to Lockhart, TX, aka the BBQ capital of the USA. Here I’d like to tell you about a few of the “joints” that I had the pleasure of visiting.
The city is scattered with BBQ joints, some of which have a history that stretches as far as 80 years, some even 100 years. Many of these have been in business for so long that the walls are pitch black from so many years of smoke, and the rich smell of burnt oak oozes from every cubic inch of the interior. On our way from Austin, the capital of Texas, to Lockhart, my head was filled with anticipation as I was about to find out with my own eyes (and tongue) just what level our 4 years of doing BBQ at Bashamichi Taproom had brought us to.
Now I’d like to take a bit to introduce a handful of locations that I visited!
We first arrived in Lockhart, which was richer in history than I had expected, and after a brief stroll around the area we entered Kreuz Market.
This was one of the famous spots that I had wanted to visit, and upon entering the first thing that stood out to me about it was the pitmaster’s amazing sideburns. This place was unique in that it used no sauce. There was salt and pepper at each table for individual seasoning, but other than that the seasoning was very simple and allowed one to fully enjoy the pure barbecue flavor.
Our next stop after Kreuz Market was Black’s, a restaurant with 85 years of history. The building exterior and interior both reflected that with a very established historic look. This spot is a must-see!
Smitty’s Market is a joint that was originally formed by a “barbefeud” that led to the founder of Kreuz Market opening this independent spot. It was memorable to me for the classic style brick walls and the smokey air. The pork chops here were to die for.
Our next spot is in Austin, not Lockhart, and is currently the most prosperous shop around. The brisket here was exceptional. The rumors I had heard about it were also true: there was a line waiting outside even before opening hours!
This joint is relatively new compared to the others. If you choose the wrong day to enjoy some BBQ there you could end up waiting 1 or 2 hours to get in. Pitmaster Aaron Franklin is even a bit of a Hollywood star and you can catch him in the movie “Chef.” The restaurant has an older style to it but it is also very unique and seen as something of a revolutionary member of the BBQ community. Their BBQ manifest is a must-read!
Next up is Louie Miller Barbecue in the town of Taylor. This place has some history and is currently in the hands of the third generation. Taylor is similar to Lockhart in that it’s very flat and the cityscape has almost no highrise buildings. This joint is where aforementioned Aaron Franklin studied BBQ and I personally really liked the atmosphere. It’s a bit more expensive than the other locations, but the beef rib they serve is a luxurious flavor that you can’t find anywhere else.
Aside from the places I’ve mentioned here, there are countless other great BBQ joints in Texas. All of them adhere to a strict BBQ bible of long smoking times. I observed how they start early in the morning, extensively checking firewood levels and how well the meat is cooked and then tasting the meat at intervals and that helped me to realize that we at the Bashamichi Taproom offer a very authentic smoke barbecue experience.
On the other hand, the sheer amount of meat that they process daily and their constant battle with the firewood levels in order to preserve their traditional flavor reminded me of the Baird Beer brewers and their daily brewing struggles. I won’t be so bold as to say that we offer the exact same experience as these famous BBQ joints, but I can guarantee that the barbecue you will get from our pits at Bashamichi Taproom is an accomplished American BBQ smokehouse experience.
Those who wish to know more about barbecue, we happily await your visit at Bashamichi. You’d be hard pressed to find a better place to enjoy craft beer, music, and delicious BBQ.
Bashamichi Taproom Pitmaster Takahashi