036 Jill – Lockhart Smokehouse

036 Jill -

In this episode I’m chatting with owner and operator of  Lockhart Smokehouse, Jill Bergus. If you’ve heard the name Lockhart before, that’s because it’s one of the most famous BBQ joints in Texas: it’s overall history stretches back 100 years, it has been listed in the Top 50 BBQ joints in Texas by Texas Monthly and the Lockhart Smokehouse team competed in Season 4 Episode 1 of TV’s BBQ Pitmasters. So there’s not many people out there who are in a better position to teach me all about Texas BBQ.


Black Angus Reserve, sponsors of Manning Valley Natural Smokers, have the best brisket you’ll find, hands down!

Pit Brothers BBQ have the rubs, spices and charcoal you need to get elevate your BBQ to legendary status. 

Smoking, baking, pizzas, the JAGRD Woodfired Smoker Ovens can do it all. It really is the one smoker you’ll ever need.


  • Jill doesn’t BBQ at home. If she wants BBQ, she either eats at the store or goes to one of her friend’s restaurants
  • Her grandfather ran Kreuz Market in Lockhart which is how she got into BBQ
  • She also has family involved in Smitty’s and Blacks’
  • Lockhart is where the Central Texas BBQ style originates
  • Lockhart is about 30 miles outside of Austin and has been legislated as the capital of Texas BBQ
  • She opened her restaurant with in Dallas after missing Lockhart-style BBQ
  • The state dish of Texas is actually BBQ
  • Before opening the restaurant she was a television producer and her husband was a fashion designer so they have a natural insight into marketing
  • Kreuz Markets consulted to them when they were opening
  • Been in their Dallas location for 7 years and a second location for 4 years
  • They run Bewley pits which are like an offset cabinet with temperature actuators
  • They use Post Oak as it is the traditional wood for BBQ in Texas, and it’s not an overpowering flavour on the meat
  • What makes Lockhart’s unique?
    • It’s like a traditional market
    • The use of Post Oak
    • Their food is all hand-crafted
    • The use of butcher paper
  • They serve their food in butcher paper as it ties back to the traditions at Kreuz Market where butcher paper was used so people could just grab their food and go
  • They even wrap their meats in butcher paper while cooking, but not too much coz it will mess with the bark, but don’t wrap them too tight – they need to breath
  • The most popular item on their menu is brisket
  • Tips for cooking brisket at home:
    • Give it a good coating in your rub: 4 parts salt, 1 part pepper, then add other flavours
    • Bring it to room temperature before putting it on the smoker
    • They cook it at 250F for around 12 hours depending on weight
    • They cook fat side up to the fat will render and baste the rest of the brisket
    • They only separate the briskets if they’re doing burnt ends
  • They are partnering up with the Texas Rangers for a future project – a major indoor sports stadium
  • A definition of Texas BBQ
    • Tradition
    • Family
    • Fun
    • The experience of sitting down with a giant serving of meat in butcher paper and diving in with your family
  • Traditions – meat, salt, pepper and fire. Still doing it this way after hundreds of years
  • Brisket and all things beef most often represents Texas
  • While Texan BBQ is steeped in tradition there is not really anything that you can do or use that will make your BBQ ‘not Texan’
  • Lamb was a specialty when she was growing up and is one of her favourites
  • Lockhart Smokehouse sticks more to Central style Texan BBQ
    • East has more sauce and different wood choice
    • South has more Mexican influence
  • The German influence on Texan BBQ
    • Kreuz Market had strong German influences – Jill’s grandmother was German
    • The sausage recipe has German origins
    • Also explains the prevalence of pickled vegetables in BBQ
  • Texan side-dishes
    • Potato Salad – add a little spice to it
    • Coleslaw – Mayonnaise-based with some vinegar to break up the sweetness
    • Beans
  • Jill’s Top 3 Texas BBQ tips
    • Whatever you’re doing, bring the meat to room temperature before cooking
    • Hit the meat with a dry rub and let it sit and absorb the flavours
    • Don’t hurry it – beautiful things take time
  • Brisket fat side up
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Sauce on the side
  • All of the above
  • Low’n’Slow
  • All of the above
  • Don’t take it all so seriously
  • Next trend will be Vegan BBQ
  • More women will change the face of BBQ
  • Matt Dalmon of 18th and Vine, Todd David of Cadillac


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