Let's start off by saying that Lockhart's makes two of my favorite foods in all of the land. Literally. Sure, they offer a great selection of barbequed and smoked meats, and their sides are fantastic. But they have a few choice plates that are really unrivaled. If you're looking for a great BBQ meal, it's sitting there in Royal Oak, waiting for you.
Lockhart's has taken the concept of shepherd's pie and BBQized it. Utilizing their popular macaroni and cheese in place of what is traditionally mashed potatoes, and replacing the beef with their fantastic smoked brisket – tossed in their just-perfectly-seasoned spicy BBQ sauce. It might be one of the best meals (and that is pluralized for a reason, it can easily feed you for lunch and dinner) around town.
Burnt ends are the least appetizingly titled food that you're likely to encounter. That said, they are also one of the most difficult to prepare correctly, and are increasingly hard to come by – even in a BBQ-crazed state such as Michigan. Ends require an investment of time and a particular and very keen eye to one's craft, which in this case, happens to be a very astute ability to finish a smoked brisket. Once the beef is done being smoked, the "point" of the cut is removed from the "flat" and coated in sauce. Placed back in the smoker, it is cooked for an additional amount of time – which results in extremely flavorful and well-cooked cuts of beef. You don't find them many places, but of all the places I've encountered them, Lockhart's are tops.
Besides a selection of the best styles of BBQ from Memphis, Kansas City and Texas (the combination of which has been dubbed "Detroit Style" by the folks at Lockhart's), each and every one of the tables within this establishment is adorned with a selection of sauces that complements their entrees perfectly. Not only that, they've become a Mecca of craft beers, also. You see, condiments aren't the only thing that are a great accompaniment to BBQ – your beverage choice also plays a role in the enjoyment of your meal. Lockhart's consistently has a selection of Michigan brews on tap (from Dark Horse to Kuhnhenn to New Holland and beyond), and each server is well-versed in what would best pair with your meal.
The thing missing from most traditional BBQ houses is a hearty brunch menu, and Lockhart's has gone to great pains to not be one of those establishments. Their brunch offerings, served Sundays from 10 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., offers all of your favorite BBQ stylings, but in a late breakfast manner. Pulled pork frittatas, smoked chicken and waffles, Lockhart's Eggs Benedict, Texas Stuffed Toast, breakfast burritos and all sorts of creative brunch foods will more than certainly curb your hunger on a Sunday late morning.
And it's definitely worth mentioning that our friends at Lockhart's will have a booth at Ford Arts, Beats & Eats – so go get your fix of burnt ends, pulled pork, brisket and a handful of other goodies while you're out enjoying the sights and sounds at the festival. | RDW