Kreuz Market, Lockhart
Credit: Nicholas McWhirter

Lockhart is small-town Central Texas at its finest, a longtime barbecue pilgrimage site founded on the meats of the state's German immigrant past. Along with neighboring Smitty's Market, Kreuz's history dates back to 1900, but it doesn't coast on its reputation. Kreuz Market makes use of a cavernous joint to go beyond the standard offerings. "After all that brisket, you may be looking for a change, and Kreuz can provide it," Vaughn says. Which means relishing in anticipation while watching pitmaster Roy Perez slicing cuts of meat like beef shoulder clod, whole racks of pork, and even prime rib. And as a bonus, Vaughn says visitors always leave with a distinctive souvenir: "You'll definitely get a little of that good-smelling smoke into your clothes from ordering so close to the pits."