How did you come up with this list?

We have been eating BBQ all over Texas for the last decade. We used a combination of our past experiences at places along with re-visits to places. In preparation for this list, we went to nearly 100 places and ate over 130 meals in 2021 to compose our rankings. We made as many visits as possible "incognito," meaning the BBQ joints did not know we were coming and oftentimes, we had someone they did not know order for us. Our goal was to put together a list that would reflect the experience that any customer would get if they walked up to the ordering counter and not special trays made to impress.

We strongly believe a BBQ spot should be rated based on a number of factors ranging from the quality of the meats to sides, specials and desserts. We also considered overall experience in our judging, which includes everything from customer service to comfort of the experience (long wait time vs short wait time, brick and mortar vs food truck). Historical significance of a place and other factors were considered. The rating system we devised had up to ten points possible for brisket, ten points possible for other meats and specials, ten points possible for sides and desserts, and up to five points could be awarded for experience.

What makes you qualified to make a list?

What qualifies anyone to make a list? This list is our collective opinion on the barbecue we've been eating for many years. Very few people have eaten more Texas barbecue than us the last several years, so let's just say we've put in more research than most. Lists are fun and hopefully a helpful guide to folks wanting to know more about where they can find great barbecue. We don't expect you to agree with all of our opinions - what would be the fun in that?

Why did you start a podcast?

We'd both been bitten by the BBQ bug years ago, and when we met and became friends through BBQ, we were fascinated by all aspects of the smoked meat world. From how to cook, serve and sell it to the stories of the people in and around the industry, we were interested in it all. We'd started our own LLC to serve pop ups, we'd helped different BBQ joints at festivals and events, and we spent countless hours visiting BBQ joints and talking about them in the car. In 2017 we thought "why not start recording these conversations we have with each other and with others in the BBQ world and see if people want to hear them?" Over four years and 160+ episodes later, we've had the opportunity to chat with some of the absolute best in the industry.

Where should I go on a BBQ road trip?

We get this question more than any other. We're always happy to help with road trip planning, but they can be tricky depending on a number of factors: days/hours of operation, lines, sellout times, and the crowd you're traveling with. Are you with family who may only want one, maybe two BBQ stops? Road tripping with BBQ fiends who want to cram in as many places as possible? Are you thinking of starting your own business and want to see different service setups? The best way for us to help is for you to email us with the purpose of your trip and what your goals are and we can help tailor a trip to your preferences. talesfromthepits@gmail.com is the best way to reach out for road trip tips.

How do you decide who to put on the podcast?

First and foremost we have to have eaten your food. We have the luxury of not having tons of sponsors we have to appease, so we make the episodes we want to make and tell the stories we want to tell with great folks who are kind enough to give us the gift of their time.