Barbecue

BBQ Road Trip: Smokehouse BBQ in Lindsay Is a Time Capsule

Spots like Smokehouse in small towns like Lindsay are the anchors that keep friends and family connected.
Spots like Smokehouse in small towns like Lindsay are the anchors that keep friends and family connected. Chris Wolfgang
After spending last year at home, we're ready to gas up the car and go somewhere. BBQ Road Trip is a series in which we take a day trip to visit barbecue spots outside of Dallas just in time for summer road trip season.

As we pulled into Smokehouse BBQ on U.S. Highway 82 in Lindsay, we weren't immediately sure where to go. Out front is a covered parking area for customers picking up to-go orders, like an old-school drive-in. The main entrance for dining in is on the east side of the building, which we only figured out when we saw people coming out.

Stepping inside is like a trip inside a time capsule, perfectly preserved under years of hermetic seal. Vinyl straight-backed chairs cluster around high gloss wooden tables. Every wall is covered in wood paneling and mauve carpeting runs wall to wall. But Smokehouse isn't worn down or dingy — everything is clean and orderly, just lifted from an earlier time, when every barbecue restaurant was a sit-down affair, where families and friends gathered with regularity. And at Smokehouse, it seems they still do; we arrived after the regular lunch hour, but it seemed to be doing a steady business.

click to enlarge Smokehouse's dining room is spotless, like the set of a television show decades ago. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
Smokehouse's dining room is spotless, like the set of a television show decades ago.
Chris Wolfgang
Smokehouse's menu is pretty broad. Besides barbecue brisket, turkey, ribs, German sausage or ham, there are platters of chicken-fried steak, chicken fried chicken, fried shrimp and catfish. Salads and burgers are also available, and we were pleasantly surprised to see a modest cocktail menu, all of which was priced from a different time, as if the menu were plucked from the time capsule, too. We settled on a barbecue standard combo; two meats and two sides, available as a plate for just $12.99.

We decided on sliced brisket, German sausage, coleslaw and fried okra for our platter, which arrived quickly, topped with a pickle spear and slice of white onion. The sliced brisket came from the lean flat side of the brisket. It had been trimmed of all fat, the way it was always done outside of Central Texas. The bark wasn't the crunchy salt and pepper crust typical of the Hill Country, but there was still a smokiness to the beef that we found enjoyable, and the side of barbecue sauce saved the drier bites admirably.

click to enlarge German-style sausage is influenced by the local community and twice-battered okra is a standout. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
German-style sausage is influenced by the local community and twice-battered okra is a standout.
Chris Wolfgang
The German-style sausage was unlike any other sausage we've sampled in our barbecue travels, more bratwurst than anything else. That shouldn't come as a surprise — Muenster is the next town over and was established in 1899 as a German Catholic colony.  So while this sausage was more Bavarian than barbecue, we appreciated the nod toward the area's German history.

Sides were served in copious quantities. The coleslaw was finely diced and had just enough vinegar to balance the sweetness of the dressing. We couldn't get enough of the fried okra. A waiter informed us that Smokehouse's version is double battered, and we loved the crunch of each bite that never tasted greasy or soggy.

click to enlarge If there's a chocolate pie on the menu and it's only $2.99, you order it.  Every. Single. Time. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
If there's a chocolate pie on the menu and it's only $2.99, you order it. Every. Single. Time.
Chris Wolfgang
We wrapped up our meal with a slice of chocolate meringue pie because it sounded delicious and it was only $2.99. The pie arrived chilled with a flaky crust and appropriately browned meringue that made the perfect end to the meal. Add in our iced tea, and the tab came to just $19 and change.

Smokehouse isn't a trendy barbecue destination, and that's OK. Spots like this are the anchors of simpler times before trends and publicists were just as ingrained as the menu and the staff. The steady stream of patrons at Smokehouse tells us they'll be here long after places that chase the next fad have come and gone, and for that, we're eternally grateful.

Smokehouse BBQ, 307 US Highway 82, Lindsay, TX, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday - Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Road Trip Details

There's no way around it; you're going to spend some time on Interstate 35E. Take advantage of the express lanes when they're available (north of 635, they change direction in the mornings and evenings) and your traffic woes will be notably lighter. From the Observer's downtown headquarters, it's 72 miles north on I-35E to U.S. 82, then a quick 4 miles west to Smokehouse BBQ.

Making A Day Of It

Seize more of the German influences of the area with a trip to Fischer's Meat Market in Muenster. Fischer's has been serving Muenster for over 90 years and is known for the variety of German sausages, meats and cheeses. Fun fact: Fischer's also handles game processing, you know, if you happen to have a deer or hog with you on your trip into town.

Small breweries and wineries dot the towns along the Red River. Don't sleep on Nocona Beer housed in a former boot factory in Nocona, Blue Ostrich Winery in St. Jo (yes, they still keep ostriches) or the Krootz Brewing Co. in Gainesville. All of them have kitchens and dining rooms to pair some food with your libations. Be smart; bring a designated driver.

We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that a trip this far north will have you just 15 minutes from Winstar Casino, if you've got a gambling itch that needs to be scratched. Every time we drive by, it seems the complex has gotten bigger still, living up to the moniker of the World's Biggest Casino. Inside, it's a half-mile stroll end to end, and like it or not, national acts that take the stage at Winstar won't be making a separate stop in Dallas any time soon.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Wolfgang has been a contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2015. Originally from Florida, Chris moved to Dallas in 1997 and has carried on a secret affair with the Oxford comma for over 20 years.
Contact: Chris Wolfgang