You can’t visit the Lone Star State without trying some true Texas barbecue. There’s pulled pork, fatty brisket or tender ribs, all must-eats.
Pit-style barbecue is covered and slowly cooked for hours over a wood fire until it’s tender enough to fall off the bone. Slathered in sauce or dry rubbed, there are plenty of styles to try across the state. In Texas, the four principal woods used to cook with are hickory, oak, pecan, and mesquite, and everyone has an opinion on what’s best.
Texas’ barbecue belt has more than its fair share of iconic barbecue joints, so here’s a guide to the best in state.
Guide To Texas Barbecue: The Best BBQ Places
The small town of Lexington, about an hour east of Austin, is home to Snow’s BBQ. The spot seems unassuming, a red shack and some picnic tables, but its barbecue is anything but. Snow’s is only open on Saturdays from 8am. till everything’s sold out, and pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz and her crew start slow-smoking their meats at 3am, ensuring a sumptuous feast.
Looking for the BBQ heart of Texas? Take a drive to Lockhart, just 40 minutes south of Austin. BBQ legends here include Kreuz Market t (pronounced “Krites”) and Smitty’s Market, both owned by siblings who founded their joints after the dissolution of the legendary original Kreuz Market. Each keeps the tradition alive with succulent, lean brisket and superbly smoked meats all around. Kreuz eschews barbecue sauce altogether; that’s how confident they are in the taste of their meat!
There’s endless great barbecue joints in Austin, but one must-try is Franklin’s.
This Austin, Texas barbecue eatery is known for serving some of the best in the state. Franklin Barbecue is run by pitmaster extraordinaire – Aaron Franklin. Every dish is prepared with love, patience and an uncompromising commitment to quality, with the brisket slow-smoking for up to 15 hours.
It’s clear that Aaron knows a thing or two about good barbecue. We figure if Franklin Barbecue is good enough for Obama and Anthony Bourdain, it must be pretty great. Arrive early, as a two-hour wait is common any day of the week.
Houston is home to some of the country’s best barbecue. Known for their briskets, sausage, and ribs, Houston’s pit masters serve up generous portions of perfectly smoked meats daily.
One place everyone raves about is Luling City Market, a local standby. Here you’ll find a wide variety of meats all made with tried and true recipes. For example, their famous sausage is the same 100% beef sausage recipe they’ve used for three decades.
Texas Hill Country
For authentic Texas Hill Country barbecue, be sure to swing by the town of Driftwood. The Salt Lick is the perfect place for an afternoon feast. Their BYOB policy, hearty history, generous helpings and wonderful staff make it a no-brainer as one of the state’s best. The Salt Lick is cash only so be sure to bring a few bills and be ready for the best ribs of your life.