Kreuz Market

1/4/14 1:20pm & 9/6/13 12:16pm - This was my second trip back to Kreuz (pronounced "krites").  I scored it last time but did not publish.  On my way back from hunting, I made it a point to swing through Lockhart and score it for the second time.  I wanted two scores to back up my review of this hall of fame Texas BBQ.   They have been serving barbecue since 1900.  Kruez has made Texas Monthly Top 3 in 1997 (now Smitty's because the Sista's rent was "too damn high"), Top 5 in 2003, and Top 5 in 2008.  However, in 2013 Kruez slip to Top 50 status.  My first impression upon return:  Somebody noticed they did not get top billing in 2013 Texas Monthly!

My score of Kreuz is a 96 out 100.  The is Grand Champion Texas BBQ at its finest.  My previous score was 91.  Upon my second trip, I immediately noticed the improvement in quality.  With my scoring system, there is now a measurable improvement.  If TM sampled my September visit, I get the top 50 status.  If TM sampled my January visit, Kruez is back on top ( calling Daniel Vaughn...calling Daniel Vaughn...).

Smoke:  Seasoned Post Oak.  Kruez ages their post oak for two years.  Iconic brick pits that have graced the pages of magazines, books and blogs for years.  I was lucky to place my order with Roy Perez, a Texas legend pitmaster sporting some impressive muttonchops that would make Elvis jealous.   Enjoy a moment and take in the massive smoke crypts, the orange fire glow and blue smoke floating in the air.  Then clutch your brown butcher paper wrapped booty to the nearest table for a religious experience.

Brisket:  Super Excellent.  A very impressive 5/16in smoke ring beneath a beautiful thick black bark.  A huge 1/2in slice was pull apart silky tender and every bite was moist.  Salt & Pepper rub gave huge flavor boost.  Smoke infusion throughout and the smokey render fatty parts made you dizzy.  Slices like this haunt you.  No sauce needed.  No fork needed.  Good thing because you can't find either at Kruez.  No kidding (see owner's face).  This slice improved from Excellent to Super Excellent.

After eating at Kruez and a handful of other legendary joints, I have concluded I need a new ranking for brisket.  Briskets that score 39 or better are at a whole other level and must be separated from merely Excellent (36.75 or better).  These briskets demonstrate what I call "Maximum Tenderness".  This is where the fat is rendered to perfection, collagens have melted to luxurious silkiness, and maximum moisture has been retained.  The result is a slice that you can pull apart with your fingers, its silky in texture, and remains moist and never drys out:  Maximum Tenderness.

Ribs: Excellent.  A medium sized spare rib with near perfect tenderness, with soft rosy bite beneath crust.  Little tearing and clean bone.  Silky and moist in every bite.  Smoke is blended throughout the salty pork rib. Flavor is enhanced by the salt & pepper rub.  No sauce needed.  These ribs improved from Good to Excellent (quite a jump!).

Sausage:  Excellent.  A typical Central Texas style beef ring link.  I did not grow up eating these rings, so I approach each link with a little a trepidation.  If done wrong these rings can taste like mushy beef.  Kreuz does it right.  A tight packed fine ground beef link (15% pork) inside a snappy casing.  Good garlic and beef flavor with a strong peppery after taste.  Very fresh, juicy and smokey.  No sauce needed.

Sauce: N/A.  They do not serve sauce at Kruez and never will.  There was a time long ago before air conditioning and the first oil boom when there was no sauce served in Texas.  There was a time long ago when there was a debate about sauce vs Texas BBQ.  That was a long time ago and sauce won.  Its here to stay and part of the score.  Out of respect to Kreuz and tradition I awarded them a score slightly below the average all others.  This way I did not punish them with a zero and kept their score comparable to everyone else that serves sauce.
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