Good to Go: Lockhart Smokehouse Makes for a Satisfying Picnic

Make the most out of a picnic; take barbecue.
Make the most out of a picnic; take barbecue. Taylor Adams
Good to Go is a column in which our food writers explore Dallas' restaurant scene through takeout orders, delivery boxes and reheated leftovers.

As critic Brian Reinhart reminded us last week, now is the perfect time to make your takeout meal a picnic, and a perfect choice for that is barbecue.

A great spot to eat is Lake Cliff Park in North Oak Cliff, and proximity to Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District makes that even better.

It used to be that at 12:15 p.m. on a Friday, someone would drop you off at the door while they circled to find parking and you got in line. Today, parking’s a little easier and you can breeze through in that time without much of a wait. Part of the New Normal.

click to enlarge This is one o fthose photos that should really be a scratch-and-sniff. - TAYLOR ADAMS
This is one o fthose photos that should really be a scratch-and-sniff.
Taylor Adams
After the shorter wait, the person holding a blade over brisket will ask if you want lean or moist. It’s brisket, get the good stuff. In fact, ask for the best cut, and they’ll give it to you. In that slice, you’ll find all made perfect with a black bark that makes everything seem OK in the world for just one bite.

Of course, the Lockhart family goes back to Kreuz Market, and the links are a must-order: A fresh snap as you bite releases fresh juices with a pronounced smokiness.

The pork chop is reason enough to actually get a fork here, too: Weighing in at half a pound, this thick chop stays juicy throughout and is a nice alternative to what else you can get on the menu.

No matter what, you can take your bag of butcher paper-wrapped barbecue to a shaded picnic table, snack on some of that spicy Lockhart slaw and feel satisfied after a full meal. (Personally, I never get that sluggish feeling after barbecue; all the protein makes me want to run a marathon — so I truly mean that full feeling is a good one.)

click to enlarge Don't skip the pork chop. - TAYLOR ADAMS
Don't skip the pork chop.
Taylor Adams
We’ve seen plenty of excellent barbecue come to our city since Lockhart opened nearly a decade ago (it makes 10 years in February). I remember having an editor feel the need to tell me every week when the Bishop Arts spot would have burnt ends — we were just over the Jefferson Bridge from the smokehouse, so let’s go ... again. It goes beyond hitting the spot for barbecue; it provides that flavor and experience only well-smoked meat offers.

In front of the Bishop store, you’ll find a few small tables for dining outside — tables inside are available, too. Owner Jill Bergus says they’re starting to see the crowd come back a bit.

“It’s not great, but we will muddle through. Definitely, we can see business starting back up,” she says. “There's a lot of takeout orders and people are starting to trickle back in.”

In ordering takeout, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way and call — getting online ordering is one more item on Bergus’ to-do list in an already busy time. But no matter — phones work fine, and once you get your order laid out in front of you, you’ll remember why you got it in the first place: Barbecue is good traveling food.

“I mean of all the foods, we did not have to pivot or anything, we were already on disposable, we already kind of knew how to wrap things to go, so we were really lucky in that aspect,” she says. “The nice thing, barbecue is kind of a fundamental for a bunch of meals.”

She’s not wrong: Brisket nachos are a perfect lunch for a future date. That is, if I had leftovers.

Lockhart Smokehouse, 400 W. Davis St. (Bishop Arts District). 214-944-5521. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.