There's something about summer that makes me want to drink glass bottles full of brightly colored soda out of a straw. Weird, I know. Summer also makes me want to eat good BBQ, so at the urging of some friends we tried Smitty's in Lockhart, which is apparently top 3 in the state according to the bonafide Texan and self-professed Smitty's "worshiper" that we sat across from at the cafeteria-style community tables there. This man (we'll call him Texas Jim) is what I would picture as the quintessential Texan - everything was enlarged. He was a big man, with a big appetite, and a big personality. He sat down in front of me with a handful of avocados, a wad of napkins, two Big Reds, and what seemed to be a whole good-sized cow and a little piggie in the form of ribs, brisket, and chops wrapped in brown paper. In between bites and soaking up hot sauce with his Butterkrust bread, he asked warmly, "How y'all doin' today?" The "y'all" being me and Lily (whom he referred to as a boy. Haven't quite forgiven him for that one yet). When Cole returned with our food, Jim soon informed us we had come on an "off day" because, in his opinion, our brisket "didn't look worth eatin'." He said this as he held his own brisket meat between thumb and forefinger and jiggled it in our faces. Despite being an "off day" (our brisket meat was tough), Smitty's was pretty good, and I'd like to go back again to try their pork chop and prime rib, which is, according to Jim, their best. Near the end of his meal, he asked us how many kids we wanted and then asked if he could depart with a little of life’s wisdom he had acquired along the way. Cole and I wondered what pearl of wisdom Jim might bestow. Surely he knew the way to the Fountain of Youth and was about to reveal it to us. He leaned forward and advised us seriously, confidentially even…to hold Lily back in kindergarten so she'd be older and thus more advanced in her grade. Thanks for the advice, Jim. All teasing and caricature aside, Texas Jim was very friendly and funny. We liked him and his big Texas audacity. We left with a whole new wealth of knowledge and smelling like wood smoke. Smitty's- home of authentic Texas BBQ and authentic Texans.
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