Travel & Food – Lockhart, Texas

Today we tackled the big three in Lockhart, Smittys, Blacks and Kreuz (pronounced crites).

Lockhart Texas

We started off at Smittys. It’s very dark when you first enter Smittys and there’s a roaring fire right by your ankles. The walls are black from years of meat smoking. We ordered some brisket and a sausage and went and sat in the bright, air-conditioned dining room attached (although we’d have preferred to have sat at the cool wooden tables round the corner).

Smittys exteriorSmittys Market Lockhart TexasSmittys interior Lockhart TexasSmittys inside LockhartSmittys barbecue interiorSmittys dining roomThe brisket was delicious. The second best we’ve had (the first being at Louie Mueller). I can’t really comment on the sausage as I don’t like sausages much in general.

Brisket and sausage at Smittys BBQ Lockhart TexasAfter that we headed to Blacks, which has been around for 80 years. When you go in, you load your plate up with sides yourself and then move around so they can get you your meat. Again, we ordered brisket and sausage. I thought the brisket was fine, but not as nice as Smittys.

Blacks BBQ signBlacks interior LockhartBlacks BBQ Lockhart Texas

Brisket and sausage at Blacks BBQ Lockhart Texas

Last on our list for Lockhart was Kreuz. The story goes that the guys that own Smittys and Kreuz are cousins and they had a big falling out one day and now they are kind of rivals. I was not impressed with Kreuz at all. The staff were a bit grumpy and the brisket was as dry as an old boot. It’s also enormous so you kind of get the feeling that you’re eating in a warehouse. I wasn’t at all surprised when the lady told us that they don’t get many locals in there and that it’s mainly tour groups that all come together on Saturdays.

Kreuz BBQ Lockhart TexasKreuz interiorBrisket and sausage at Kreuz BBQ Lockhart Texas

Once we’d rolled ourselves out to the car we drove about 15 minutes to Luling (pronounced loo-ling) to visit the City Market BBQ. We ordered brisket and sausage for the fourth time and it was really good with a kind of sticky sweet taste that we were told wasn’t from a rub, but from using the same smokers for so many years. (I’m pretty sure you don’t need another picture of brisket and sausage. Three is enough for one post. It all looks the same).

City Market BBQ Luling Texas

We had a quick little wander around Luling and had a long chat with a lady selling pumpkins about all the different types and varieties and how crazy everyone goes for Halloween over here and then we jumped in the car to drive 3 hours to Beaumont, Texas which is where we are staying tonight before going to New Orleans tomorrow.

(Some of these pumpkins have awesome names like Cinderella and Fairytale!)

Tiny pumpkinStacked pumpkinsPumpkins at Luling Farmers MarketGreen pumpkin in texasColourful gourds in Texas

Travel & Food – Austin, Texas

We arrived in Austin on Friday night. We didn’t go out to eat anywhere as we were still full from amazing Louie Mueller so Nick just jumped in the hot tub for a little while and we just chilled out.

On Saturday morning we got up nice and early to queue for Franklin barbecue. We arrived at 9.30am and the queue was already about 30 people deep. It doesn’t open until 11am.

Franklin BBQ sign Austin Texas

Queue outside Franklin BBQ Austin TexasOnce the doors had opened, we queued for another hour, so it was about 2.5 hours in total. At this point, barbecue was the last thing in the world I wanted to eat so Nick ordered some brisket and a sausage and I tucked into the sides of coleslaw and potato salad which were delicious. I also ordered myself a little pecan pie.

Brisket and sausage at Franklin BBQ Austin TexasThe brisket and sausage were perfectly fine but not a scratch on Louie Mueller. If anyone said they were thinking of going, I’d tell them to save their time in the crazy queue and drive 30 minutes to Taylor instead to go to Louie Mueller.

After that, we just spent the afternoon mooching around really, and I had a bit of work to get done. We were both pretty beat from so much driving and the heat is absolutely stifling. It’s 30 degrees and humid in the middle of October. That evening we went to a Mexican restaurant but I really wasn’t impressed. It’s hard when you’ve lived in Mexico. The guacamole didn’t have any lime juice in it, my burrito was bland and they plonked us right in the middle of the restaurant on a tiny table when there were loads of spare cushy booths. I didn’t mind enough to complain until they started pushing a huge cocktail cart around and bashing into me every 5 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever left a negative review on Tripadvisor/Yelp but this place is certainly getting one.

This morning we had a nice lie-in and then, determined to find good Mexican food, we headed out for a breakfast burrito. We drove past tons of places that just didn’t quite fit the bill when we suddenly spotted El Primo on the side of the road. It was perfect. We had a lovely chat with a guy in the queue who had lived in London for two years and was holding the most adorable 10 week old beagle puppy and the food was delicious. I had a bacon and egg taco and Nick had the most incredible pastor torta.

El Primo breakfast tacos Austin TexasAfter scoffing our breakfast we drove to Bangers which is on the coolest street in the city, Rainey Street. It’s basically a sleepy back street full of bungalows that have been converted into awesome bars. For example this adorable little house which becomes a taco restaurant in the back yard between 6pm-10pm.

Taco house on Rainey Street, Austin, TexasWe were there to go to Bangers though. Bangers is a sausage house and beer garden and it’s amazing. We didn’t try any food as we’d just eaten but the beer garden was great. They’ve always got some sort of live music or comedy on and I bet you can see some really cool stuff. There was a blues band playing while we were there.

Bangers sausage house and beer garden austin texasBangers Austin TexasBangers Rainey Street Austin TexasOnce we settled up there, we decided to make the most of the gorgeous, warm weather and we drove to McKinney Falls State Park. It’s in the middle of the city, but you would never believe it. It’s absolutely beautiful. We went to cool down with a little swim. (I was especially excited because there were real life turtles in the water!)

McKinney Falls State Park Upper Falls Austin TexasMcKinney Falls State Park Upper Falls Austin TexasReady to swimFor you boys out there, my husband is wearing:

T-shirt – Volcom (similar)

Jeans – RVCA

Trainers – Nike (in black here)

Bag – ONA

Swimming at McKinney Falls State Park Lower Falls Austin TexasEmma from The Style Box at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin Texas in a white broderie American Eagle Outfitters dressWearing:

Dress – American Eagle Outfitters

Sandals – Zara

From there, we headed to Barnes and Noble for a bit of pre-dinner casual browsing as we are both still mourning the loss of Borders in Bournemouth and are a sucker for book stores.

We decided to try out one of Austin’s many food trucks for dinner and opted for Mellizoz tacos. I had a tempura shrimp torta (not particularly Mexican I know but I had been craving a prawn mayo sandwich and this was the closest thing I could find!) and Nick had a fried avocado taco.

Mellizoz Tacos, Austin, TexasThis was swiftly followed by an enormous peach doughnut from the truck next door, Gourdoughs. The first time I’ve ever eaten a doughnut with a knife and fork!

We finished off the evening with a couple of drinks at Easy Tiger which is a bakery and beer garden which overlooks a canal and has ping pong tables. I know, so cool, right? The outside area had a stage set up for live music and a guy soon jumped on stage and picked up a guitar. We then sat and watched open-mouthed for about an hour. This guy was truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. He was playing it Spanish style and his hands were moving so fast they were actually blurry. His name is Luis Banuelos and you should definitely check him out on YouTube. It was a bit too dark to take any cool photos but it was a really awesome place.

Austin is now officially my second favourite city in America (nothing will ever beat San Francisco!)

Travel & Food – Hot Springs, Arkansas & Taylor, Texas

When we left Memphis, we crossed the Mississippi and entered Arkansas. We had a 9 hour drive to Dallas, Texas ahead of us.

Arkansas state lineOur first destination was McClards in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Now the name Hot Springs had me imagining some lush hilly landscape with lots of lakes but that’s not what it was like at all.

McClard’s was okay. It’s a nice little building with a good atmosphere and they specialise in BBQ and tamales. We ordered a tamale (which I thought looked like a poo) and some ribs. I found it to be mediocre.

McClards in Hot Springs Arkansas outsideMcClards Hot Springs ArkansasMcClards BBQ signPut some south in yo mouth

Emma from The Style Box at McClards in Hot Springs Arkansas

After leaving Hot Springs, we drove back to the motorway. The scenery really got pretty then, full of lush green hills and lots of lakes as I had previously imagined.

ArkansasWe had a rather uneventful drive to Dallas, although we did pass a town called ‘Bald Knob’ which made us both chuckle like school children.

Dallas is kind of a weird town. There doesn’t seem to be much there. But there were some spectacular clouds in the sky, really moody and stormy looking and we saw an incredible lightning storm up in the clouds. It reminded me of Norse mythology and Thor up in the clouds throwing lightning bolts around.

Texas state lineSilver lining in TexasDallas skylineThe next morning we got up and drove 3 hours to Taylor, Texas. There isn’t a great deal in Taylor but it is home to Louie Mueller. Easily the best barbecue I’ve ever eaten. By a LONG way.

Wayne Mueller was the nicest guy in the whole world. Seriously so generous with his time. We were in there for about 3 hours.

I can’t put across in words how much I absolutely love Louie Mueller. The building is incredible. It was built in 1906 and has been a couple of things (a grocery store, a sports hall) before being turned into the BBQ joint in 1959. The walls are black, coated in years and years of smoke and there’s cool, old-fashioned pieces of Americana everywhere.

The food is literally ridiculous. I could have curled up in the brisket and died a happy lady. It was perfect. It’s cooked with a black pepper crust, seasoned with some salt. That’s it. So simple yet so gorgeous. The beef rib was the size of my leg and I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d told me it was from a dinosaur. The rub on the pork ribs was amazing. I could go on forever but really, you just have to try it for yourself.

Louie Mueller BBQ Taylor Texas outsideLouie Mueller in Taylor TexasLouie Mueller BBQ Taylor Texas insideLouie Mueller BBQ Texas insideTypewriter at Louie MuellerLouie Mueller BBQ Taylor Texas insideBusiness cards at Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor TexasBBQ at Louie Mueller in Taylor TexasBeef rib at Louie Mueller Taylor TexasSorry for the blurry iPhone photo!

creator gifMy first ever GIF!

Louie Mueller BBQ Taylor Texas outside

This is just a picture of a cool train.

American trainNow we’re in Austin, Texas for a few days.