Next time you're in Austin, do yourself (and your taste buds) a favor and mosey 35 miles south to the quaint community of Lockhart, popularly known as the Barbecue Capital of Texas. With no less than four BBQ establishments within the town boundaries, this is any brisket-lover's paradise. In fact, many locals consider it something of a rite of passage to eat at all four joints in the same day. Never fear: eating at all four is by no means a requirement, and there are plenty of great Lockhart hotels where you can descend into a food coma afterwards.
Your BBQ pilgrimage should begin early in the morning when restaurants are just lifting juicy slabs of brisket and loops of sausage links off the smokers, where they've been smoldering since long before dawn. Have a seat, spread your napkin, and lose yourself in the succulent flavor. Elbow-to-elbow with other enthusiastic diners, perhaps you'll begin to understand what celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain meant when he said, "Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start." Afterward, wipe the barbecue sauce off your fingers and put together the pieces of Lockhart's past as you gaze up at the colorful sandstone towers of the Caldwell County Courthouse or spook yourself at the Caldwell County Jail Museum, which has the power to raise goosebumps even on a sunny Texan day. Best of all is the Dr. Eugene Clark Public Library, the oldest in the state. Standing beneath its red dome, it's hard not to wonder about the people who walked the stacks of the library back in 1900, and how the things they learned here influenced their own contributions to humanity. It's something to ponder as you drive one of the rental cars in Lockhart back to Lockhart motels.
Need a hand finding great hotels in Lockhart, TX or booking hotels in Austin? Travelocity will help you track down the best local deals on lodging so you can focus your energies on studying up on the history of Texan barbecue in preparation for your visit.