If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know that the state lives on and breathes meat, particularly barbecued meat. There’s an art form to smoking meat that these joints have perfected, and every year, they just seem to get better at it. You can find very good barbecue places pretty much anywhere in the Lone Star state but the majority of the best barbecue in Texas is found in the heartland. Thankfully for tourists, several of them have made their way to much larger cities, but ask any barbeque enthusiast and they will tell you that you haven’t tried real barbecue if you haven’t gotten them from off road shacks and small towns and ate it on wooden benches communal style. So pack your expandable pants and prepare your appetite for some of the most delicious pieces of meat you’ll ever taste.
5 of the Best Barbecue in Texas
The long lines in this Austin establishment pretty much says it all but queuing is all part of the experience when your reward is a plate full of beef brisket, pork steak, or smoked turkey. Most food critics and barbecue experts agree that this is the best barbecue in Texas today and certainly one of the best eateries in the United States.
Location: 900 E. 11th St, Austin
- Meats: brisket or anything that’s left on the menu after you’re seated
- Sides: Slaw, potato salad
This canteen style establishment presents you with so many choices all at once that it makes it hard to choose. Thankfully, the throngs of people all came for the same thing: brisket and baby back ribs. These fall of the bone pork ribs are glazed with sauce that is a balance between sweet and spicy.
Location: 9504 E. Texas Hwy. 71, Spicewood
- Meats: brisket, sweet and spicy pork ribs, pork chops
- Sides: spicy corn, tater tot casserole
- Dessert: Coca-Cola cake
Those driving from Austin to Dallas-Fort Worth will find this Belton staple a good halfway point stop. Located just off the I-35 Hwy, Miller’s Smokehouse will happily feed its hungry travelers with their juicy home made jalapeno sausages, tasty pulled pork, and slices of smoky beef brisket. Save room for dessert though because the coconut pie made by the owner’s wife is just sublime.
Location: 208 N. Penelope, Belton
- Meats: home-made jalapeno sausages, pulled pork, and brisket
- Sides: cornbread*, beans
- Dessert: Coconut and pecan pies
This homey, red colored wooden stall is likely the image of what a true barbeque joint looks like for many, but unlike the other greats in the state, arguably the best item on the menu here is pork steak, rather than brisket (though it is still very good.) If you’re a skeptic about choosing pork over beef in Texas, then trust the word of the lady of the house, pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz.
Location: 516 Main, Lexington
- Meats: lean and fatty brisket, pork steak
- Sides: pinto beans
- Dessert: pecan pie
Arguably the second best barbecue in Texas, this relatively new joint has captivated barbecue enthusiasts with its brisket’s moist and smoky interiors. It’s so good on its own but even some barbecue purists will tell you that the restaurant’s signature “Hot Mess”, a sweet potato slobbered with chopped brisket, is just as good. Large groups should order the “Through”, a sampler of all meats in a plate designed for sharing.
Location: 920 S. Harwood, Dallas
- Meats: brisket, beef rib and jalapeno and cheese sausage
- Sides: mac and cheese, collard greens
- Dessert: peach cobbler
Louie Muller Barbecue
- Location: 206 W. 2nd, Taylor
- Meats: beef brisket and beef rib
- Location: 400 W. Davis, Dallas
- Meats: Kreutz sausages straight from Lockhart, fatty brisket
- Sides: deviled eggs and blue cheese slaw
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
- Location: 604 W. Young (Texas Hwy. 29), Llano
- Meats: pork chops, brisket
- Sides: jalapeno mac and cheese
- Dessert: peach and pecan cobbler
- Location: 6262 McCart Ave, Fort Worth
- Meats: brisket but ask for the fatty end
- Sides: mac and cheese, fried okra
- Dessert: peach cobbler
Gatlin’s BBQ & Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering
- Location: 1221 W. 19th, Houston
- Meats: sausages, brisket, baby back and St. Louis styles
- Sides: Cajun style dirty rice
- Dessert: bread pudding
- Method: Hickory, indirect-heat pit
For more information about these places and art of barbecuing, visit Texas Monthly’s BBQ, a page dedicated to the art itself. Also, if you have other joints you’d like to add to our best barbecue in Texas list, do let us know below. We’d like to hear about them.