Wild Bill Winslow, Will Fleischman, and Eric "Big E" Perry at Lockhart Smokehouse, in Dallas. Wyatt McSpadden
Rating: 4.5 Opened: 2011 Pitmasters: Tim McLaughlin, age 33, and Will Fleischman, age 41 Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit Pro tip: Check the cooler case for weird daily goodies like smoked-brisket deviled eggs and house-smoked bacon.
The closest some Dallasites will get to a Central Texas barbecue experience could well be ordering meat by the pound at Lockhart Smokehouse. The similarity to Kreuz Market, in Lockhart, isn’t an accident. Co-owner Jill Bergus is part of the Schmidt family, who run Kreuz Market, and she and her partner (and husband), Jeff, wanted to strive for that Central Texas vibe. Customers place their orders in the back in full view of the cutting board. Meats (including Kreuz-made sausages shipped from Lockhart) are piled onto butcher paper along with bread or saltines. Forks and sauce weren’t available when they opened, but the Berguses have since acquiesced to locals who were demanding both. The fatty brisket (and the occasional burnt end) is the surefire order. The thick black crust is a robust mix of smoke and the joint’s caramelized rub. The beef pulls apart easily and retains its moisture well. The lean brisket slices tend to dry out, so opt for the shoulder clod if it’s a leaner slice you’re craving. Pork spare ribs have steadily improved since the joint opened and are now some of the most consistent menu items. The seasoning mix is complex and a bit sweet, which works well with the smoky pork. The aforementioned Kreuz sausage (85 percent beef, 15 percent pork) is always nicely smoked (we prefer the jalapeño variety, which provides a pleasant heat that doesn’t overpower), and it’s hard to go wrong with a thick pork chop or a hefty beef rib, offered Wednesdays only. But do save room: as much thought is put into the sides as the meat. A creamy and rich mac and cheese, two kinds of coleslaw, and brisket-and-blue-cheese hominy are all great options if you didn’t already order more brisket than you can eat.