Lockhart, Texas Shamrock Tour®

Lockhart, Texas Shamrock Tour® | RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel
Photography: John Robinette
Nine out of 10 doctors recommend that you not attempt the following trip. I suggest you listen to the tenth one.

Risk It for the Brisket

Lockhart, TX, is the Barbecue Capital of Texas. Seriously. The Texas House of Representatives passed a resolution saying so in 1999, and the State Senate followed up in 2003, making it official. That’s all I need to make it a Shamrock Tour®—four days of great barbecue and riding in central Texas. Unfortunately for our barbeque-loving group, the trip begins on the hottest day of the summer.

Summer in Texas has a special kind of heat. I know other states claim higher temps or more humidity, but in Texas, we firmly believe everything is bigger and therefore better. By 3 p.m. every afternoon, the temperature is at least 105 degrees, some days reaching 108. Friends and family try to talk me out of it, but hotels are booked, plans are made, and brisket is waiting.

Lockhart, Texas Shamrock Tour® | RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel
Winding through Texas Hill Country on the way to a barbecue feast. The roads can be twisty and bumpy, but the reward at the end is worth it.

The ride down from Dallas is primarily uneventful, besides the oppressive heat. I never want to waste a travel day, so a stop for lunch is in order on the way into Hill Country. Some 20 miles northwest of Texas Aggie country in Hearne is a former post office, built in 1941, now converted into a restaurant called Pony Express.

We’re seated in front of a walk-in safe that secured war bonds, cash, and weapons during World War II. Postmasters were responsible for so much more than letters from grandma back then. Today, the safe is a storage room.

Motorcycles & Gear

2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000
1999 Honda Shadow Aero 1100
Helmet: Sedici Sistema II, HJC
Jacket: Sedici Avventura, Bohn Body Armor
Pants: Sedici Avventura, REV’IT! Philly 2 Jeans
Boots: Red Wing Dynaforce Six-inch Safety Toe Boot
Gloves: Sedici Fillipo
Luggage: Hepco & Becker Xplorer Top Case, SW-Motech Evo Engage Tank Bag, Viking Raven Saddlebags, Viking Century Tail Bag

Behind the bar is a door marked “Swing Room.” A staff member assures me it was once used for precisely what you think. In hindsight, that’s where we should have been seated. You know, for historical reasons. But we’re not here for history—we’re here for barbecue, so we mount up and continue to Lockhart.

Snow In The Forecast

The first stop the next day is Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, about 70 miles northeast of Lockhart. Miss Tootsie is the pitmaster and she is known the world over. Some of you may have seen her on the Netflix show Chef’sTable: BBQ.

Most of the ride there is unremarkable, but the last stretch on FM 1624 is a fun romp winding through arching foliage. The way back is more memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. I’ll come back to that.

Lockhart, Texas Shamrock Tour® | RoadRUNNER Motorcycle Touring & Travel
Yard art, like this pink antique truck, decorates much of the roadside in central Texas.

Snow’s opens to the public only on Saturdays at 8 a.m. We arrive at 8:01 to discover a line of people that wraps around the property. Those seated in folding chairs know what they’ve signed up for. We clearly do not. Customers near the head of the line have been here since 4 a.m., camping out front overnight.

The owner, Kerry Bexley, does a fantastic job informing and engaging the crowd. He assigns us our numbers—217, 218, and 219. These are both our order numbers and raffle numbers for a chance to win free seasonings, coupons, or a mystery gift. Kerry tells me they’re feeding about 50 people per hour. For those of you doing math at home, that means our group is more than four hours from food, which gives us plenty of time to meet our line neighbors.

The family in front of us is also on a barbecue pilgrimage, taking one last trip before their son goes to culinary school in New York. He is a bonafide Miss Tootsie fan, with a copy of a book for her to sign. His dream is to open a barbecue joint and he is in line to receive advice from a master.