Secrets from a Pit Master

By Rebecca Combs, Foodable Contributor

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Lockhart Smokehouse is known in DFW as having some of the best BBQ in town by bringing the Dallas/Fort Worth area the smells and flavors that locals have been enjoying for over a century.

BBQ: Is There a “Secret”?   

In a BBQ loving and meat-centric city, how do you crawl out of “the pit” and stand out from the rest? Lockhart pit master, Will Fleischman, gave his honest and simple opinion on what BBQ really is and how it should be cooked. His secret? There is no real “secret”. But, what he does believe in is treating every protein with respect. “Everything that comes out of that pit is a center of the plate feature," said Fleischman, 

BBQ “joints” are typically not known as being glamorous. It's simple. Or, at least, it is for Fleischman, and for Lockhart, “we take away all those other opportunities to wow our guests. We don't garnish things, we don't sauce things...we're a bunch of grubby guys, cutting things on our butcher table, wrapping it in paper, and saying 'here ya go''. But, it works! At Lockhart, the meat and the flavors are so amazing that you don't even need the BBQ sauce. So, is there a trick? From what Fleischman, says, it's all about having patience. Cooking BBQ is all about low and slow, “it's all about taking time.” Not to mention, cooking meat is something that we have been doing for a long time, “we know how to cook low and slow. It's innate in us. We don't know how to use tweezers to garnish vegetable plates like our friend Matt McCallister (FT33) does.”

What Makes Lockhart Different?

Of course not every pit master cooks their meat the same. So, what is it that makes Lockhart special? They know what they are looking for. “We don't take internal temperatures. You need to know what a finished product looks like and feels like so we cook by sight and by feel,” said Fleischman. But, it's not just about the meat. It's the people that make the difference and Will knows how to pick them. “I don't hire cooks, I hire people. And I don't hire people with prior BBQ experience because I don't want to have to break them of bad habits and teach them the way we do it. I hire people who I can get along with, who will wear funny hats, and who's taste in music doesn't irritate me...and all music irritates me.”

What About Other BBQ?

Lockhart pit master, Will Fleishchman | FACEBOOK, Lockhart Smokehouse

Lockhart pit master, Will Fleishchman | FACEBOOK, Lockhart Smokehouse

After working in and around BBQ for 6-7 days out of the week, the last thing Fleischman (or any pit master for that matter) wants is BBQ. But, that's not the only reason Fleischman does not take samples here and there, “I know enough to know what I know, and that's all that I know. And if I were to taste what their brisket was...would I directly or indirectly start shifting what I'm doing? I'm not interested in that second guessing.” However, even without taste testing, Fleischman does have one piece of advice for consumers, “anyone can make bad BBQ and there's a lot of places out there that have been making bad BBQ for years. Throw a Frisbee poorly and you'll bump into one. First tip: if a BBQ joint has a drive thru window, and is seeking to be convenient, they're going the wrong direction philosophically.”

The Bottom Line

BBQ is (or should be) simple. It's a long process, so be patient! Don't get caught up in the classic pitfall of “poking holes in your meat”. But, if you are just looking for some really good BBQ in Dallas, head to Lockhart Smokehouse and let the professionals do it. After all, their BBQ is smokin'.