We drove thousands of miles crisscrossing the Lone Star State to determine the 20 best BBQ spots in Texas
1. Truth Barbeque
Who they are: Leonard Botello IV opened the original Truth Brenham location in 2015 and quickly gained notoriety for the impressive menu of smoked meats, sides, and desserts. After expanding operations in 2019 to include a much larger restaurant in The Heights area of Houston, Botello and crew expanded the already strong menu with additional sides, sausages, and specials. Brenham is still open on weekends with a smaller menu than can be found at Houston, but for the full Truth experience, the Heights location is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch.
What to order: Brisket, whole hog (served Saturday only), ribs, boudin, spicy pepper jack sausage, chicken on Sunday, and pastrami when offered as a special. Corn pudding, Brussels sprouts, creamed spinach, and tater tot casserole for your sides and one of Truth's famous layer cakes for dessert.
2. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
Who they are: Evan LeRoy has been in the BBQ game for a long time. After years honing his skills at other spots, he and his business partner Sawyer Lewis launched their food truck in 2017. From the early days, Evan, Sawyer, and their team have sought to provide their customers with top notch service and a menu that differs from many in Texas these days. Brisket is only available on weekends, but their sliced beef cheeks offered during the week are as luscious and worthy as nearly any brisket one will find in Texas. The hard part at LeRoy and Lewis is deciding what to order.
What to order: Brisket (Sat-Sun only), beef cheeks, whole hog, hash and rice, frito pie, and the ever-changing menu of seasonal, local ingredient-driven sides and meats. If you see the "bacon rib" on the menu, treat yourself.
3. Evie Mae's Pit Barbeque
Who they are: Arnis and Mallory Robbins began their barbecue careers in Arizona before moving to Lubbock to be closer to family. After launching their food truck in the suburb of Wolfforth, the Robbinses began building a fervent customer base excited to try the well smoked meats coming off of the reverse flow smokers Arnis built himself. Mallory developed the sides and gluten-free dessert options that kept growing and improving as Evie Mae's (rhymes with Chevy Maze) opened their brick and mortar location. With a second location that opened inside of United Supermarket in Summer 2021, there are now even more ways to try the great BBQ from Evie Mae's.
What to order: Brisket, incredible ribs, housemade sausages, chicken, as many sides as you possibly can (don't skip the grits), desserts ranging from banana pudding to strawberry pie.
4. Cattleack Barbeque
Who they are: Todd David started Cattleack Barbeque with a deep passion for the craft. Todd's quest for perfection and deep reverence for who he refers to as his "BBQ heroes" are evident both around the restaurant, which has multiple homages to some of the best pitmasters in the country, and in the food Cattleack produces. Barbecue hounds line up prior to opening to get trays of impeccably cooked proteins and high quality sides. Todd and his wife Misty run services as quickly as possible to make sure no one waits too long for their meal.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausages, whole hog, pork steak, and other specials when available. For sides, choose from a variety of quality options including collard greens, beans, corn, and mac and cheese.
5. Franklin Barbecue
Who they are: The barbecue joint that began the renaissance that is modern Texas barbecue, Franklin Barbecue has been setting the standard for how great brisket can be since they opened in 2009. Though the line can be daunting, it's a pilgrimage every smoked meat fanatic should make to see where truly great brisket began. Preorders are a great option, and currently the only option as Franklin is not open to the public at the moment, but they should be planned in advance.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausage.
6. Goldee's BBQ
Who they are: With a joint operated by talented young pitmasters who worked at renowned restaurants such as Micklethwait, Valentina's, Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, Terry Black's and others, it's no surprise that the food at Goldee's tastes like the BBQ equivalent of a greatest hits album. This all-star crew has turned their spot on the outskirts of Fort Worth into one of the most exciting BBQ joints to open in recent years. Look for more and more creative options in the future as this is a barbecue spot that should only get better as it matures: a deliciously scary thought as it is already one of the best.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausage, hash and rice, cheesy grits, beans, and banana pudding.
7. Dayne's Craft Barbecue
Who they are: Dayne Weaver epitomizes how barbecue has evolved in recent years. Having no BBQ restaurant experience but a passion for learning, Dayne began smoking meats in his backyard and quickly started selling his food via pop-ups out of his house. In a few short years, Dayne and Ashley Weaver have grown their business along with a small, dedicated team that includes pitmaster Thomas Loven. Serving every weekend out of their food truck that's partnered with a bar, the Dayne's crew wows customers with meticulously plated platters of excellent barbecue.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausages, frito pie beans, apple slaw, and bourbon banana delight for dessert.
8. Burnt Bean Co.
Who they are: This spot in Seguin burst onto the scene in late 2020 behind well known competition BBQ champion and TV personality Ernest Servantes. But make no mistake, this place isn't about the "BBQ celebrity." Servantes and crew are hands on with everything that goes into the restaurant. From the customer service to the restaurant buildout to the great food being served up, this is a place on the rise and should only get better over time.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausage, and creative sides. The banana pudding is one of the best in the state and the huevos rancheros, part of the Sunday breakfast menu, has already achieved legendary status.
9. Snow's BBQ
Who they are: The story of Snow's has been well documented, both locally and nationally. Owner Kerry Bexley and pitmaster Clay Cowgill handle the cooking on the brisket and ribs while legendary octogenarian pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz cooks the sausage along with direct heat-cooked pork steak and chicken. Folks line up in the predawn hours before Snow's 8 AM Saturday opening to get a taste of this small-town joint.
What to order: Pork steak, ribs, chicken and brisket. If you want to plan ahead, bring along a small cutting board and knife and order your pork steak whole and unsliced for prime eating enjoyment. This is a delectable item best sliced and eaten immediately!
10. 2M Smokehouse
Who they are: Lifelong friends Esaul Ramos and Joe Melig built 2M Smokehouse themselves in southwest San Antonio after Esaul cut his teeth cooking craft barbecue in Austin. In the years since 2M opened, it has established itself as the gold standard for barbecue in San Antonio serving Central Texas staples with twists that are a nod to the owners' upbringing. It's tough to limit your order here, so just go all out.
What to order: Brisket, ribs, housemade sausage, chicharoni macaroni, scratch-made desserts.
11. Guess Family Barbecue
Who they are: Reid Guess left his fine dining career in Austin to live a quieter life with his family in the town of Waco. After a few years of operating Guess Family Barbecue out of a food truck, Reid and his crew opened a brick and mortar that has allowed them to expand an already quality menu. Now open seven days a week, Guess is a must-stop when in the Waco area and their Sunday brunch is a wonderful option.
What to order: Brisket, housemade sausage, grits, creative specials, and brunch dishes. If you're a bourbon fan, don't skip their well-stocked bar.
12. Corkscrew BBQ
Who they are: In an age where BBQ joints constantly try to throw new things onto a menu to stand out, Corkscrew keeps chugging along with their menu of well-cooked meats and sides. The customer service at Corkscrew is as legendary as the work ethic of its owners, Will and Nichole Buckman.
What to order: Massive pork ribs, brisket, chicken (Saturday only), and whatever seasonal cobbler they have on the menu.
13. Micklethwait Craft Meats
Who they are: Tom Micklethwait is one of the pioneers of the modern craft BBQ wave that has changed Texas barbecue over the last decade. Out of their small trailer in East Austin, the Micklethwait crew has been serving up creative sausages, scratch made sides, pickles and even bread since 2013. They somehow still seem to fly under the radar despite years of accolades, but a stop at Micklethwait is always a good idea.
What to order: Sausages, jalapeno cheese grits, and desserts. Don't pass up any specials you see on the menu.
14. Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ
Who they are: Tex Mex BBQ has exploded in popularity the last several years, but no one does it better than Valentina's, one of the first modern joints to combine the Mexican flavors they grew up with alongside great barbecue. Miguel Vidal has a loyal fanbase that has been going to the food truck for years to get a taste of mesquite smoked meats combined with sensational housemade tortillas, salsas and guacamole. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, there's never a bad time to go to Valentina's
What to order: Tacos, brisket, carnitas, barbacoa, and all of the specials this crew whips up.
15. Roegels Barbecue Co.
Who they are: Russell Roegels has been cooking barbecue long before it was "popular" to do so. This 30 year veteran of the industry decided in 2015 to modernize his processes and the results speak for themselves. One of the most respected pitmasters in the industry, Russell, his wife Misty, and their roster of talented cooks are always tinkering and evolving their processes to keep things fresh and exciting at this West Houston joint.
What to order: The famous housemade smoked pastrami Reuben (Thursdays only), other specials, brisket, ribs, and Bourbon banana pudding.
16. Panther City
Who they are: Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales took the food they grew up eating and incorporated it into Central Texas barbecue with great success. They've built a brisk business partnered with a bar in Fort Worth and have a strong roster of smoked meats, sides, and specials. The brisket elote cup is meal in itself, but the pork belly burnt end poppers should be added to every order when you go to this DFW gem.
What to order: Brisket, pork belly jalapeno poppers, loaded elote
17. Zavala's Barbecue
Who they are: Zavala's has come a long way from their early pop up days in Grand Prairie. With their brick and mortar location, they have expanded hours and a menu of some of the best peppery bark brisket, sausage, and specials like their popular fajitas and crispitos. During the week, Zavala's business flips to Mas Coffee Co., a joint venture between pitmaster Joe Zavala's wife Christan and her friend Bonnie Witkowski. You can get breakfast tacos in the morning made with Zavala's signature barbecue.
What to order: Brisket, housemade sausage, barbacoa, fajitas.
18. Louie Mueller BBQ
Who they are: One of the truly classic joints in Texas, nothing compares to walking into the main dining room at Louie Mueller. Take in all of the history on the walls while you wait in line for one of their legendary beef ribs. Owner and pitmaster Wayne Mueller has worked hard to preserve the history of the building while trying to add some modern touches.
What to order: Beef ribs, sausage, and one must try their famed thin BBQ sauce.
19. Brett's BBQ Shop
Who they are: Brett Jackson is no stranger to the barbecue world, having cut his teeth at the famed Louie Mueller BBQ before a couple of ventures in Houston that didn't work out. But Jackson hit a home run with his small spot in his hometown of Katy. With a small team in a small space, Brett's BBQ Shop cranks out one of the strongest menus in the Houston area.
What to order: Brisket, housemade sausage, and rotating specials
20. Convenience West BBQ
Who they are: There's no way around it, if you're going to check out Convenience West, you'd better make a weekend out of it. In far west Marfa, Texas, Convenience West is an oasis in an area without much barbecue. This team makes the trip more than worthwhile with their well cooked meats, one of the strongest sides menus in the state, and a seasonal revolving menu.
What to order: Sausage, desserts, specials, plenty of sides, and everything else that sounds interesting on the menu.
THE OTHER 80 BARBECUE SPOTS WE CONSIDERED
1775 Texas Pit BBQ
Must order: Brisket and corn casserole
Must order: Sausage, beef rib
Blood Bros. BBQ
Must order: Check their Instagram for the exciting daily specials.
Bodacious BBQ Hallsville
Must order: Housemade boudin and sausage, pork steak (Thursdays only)
Brewery & BBQ
Must order: Brisket, sausage, sides, and housemade beers
City Market BBQ (Luling)
Must order: Sausage, ribs, their famous sauce
Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
Must order: Cabrito and pork chop
Derek Allan's Texas BBQ
Must order: Stop in for breakfast and get brisket on a biscuit
Must order: Chef's specials, ribs, and dirty rice
(Giddings) City Meat Market
Must order: Pork steak and sausage
Must order: Brisket, Texas Twinkies, and free dine-in desserts
Must order: Sausages, smoked scalloped potatoes, free beans, and chef's specials
Must order: Brisket, ribs, and kolaches on Sundays
Must order: Beef rib, creamed corn, and bread pudding
Kolacny Bar-B-Q House
Must order: Pork steak, chicken, and sausage
Must order: Sausage and ribs
Must order: Brisket, ribs, and sausage
Must order: Pork ribs if you're a fan of sweet ribs
Must order: Brisket and ribs
Must order: Brisket, sausage, and save plenty of room for multiple desserts
Mimsy's Craft Barbecue
Must order: Brisket, sausage, desserts, and specials
Must order: Simple, non-sweet glazed ribs
Novosad's BBQ & Sausage Market
Must order: Sausage and pork steak
Must order: Beef link and rice dressing
Must order: Brisket and sausage
Piper's BBQ & Beer
Must order: Sausage and jalapeno poppers
Must order: Classic ribs
Must order: Brisket, ribs, and hominy
Rollin Smoke BBQ
Must order: Extremely well-cooked brisket and tacos
Slaughter's BBQ Oasis
Must order: Keep an eye out for their specials
Must order: Ribs and sausage
Must order: Sausage and ribs
Smoke Sessions Barbecue
Must order: Sausage and beans
Smokey Joe's BBQ
Must order: Brisket, ribs, fried okra, and a great buttermilk pie
Must order: Beef fat tortillas and add the guac on your taco
Southside Market & Barbeque
Must order: Sausage and Southside Slammers
Stanley's Famous Pit Bar-B-Q
Must order: Baby back ribs and the Mother Clucker sandwich
Must order: Barbacoa and housemade sausage
Terry Black's Barbecue
Must order: Brisket, ribs, and sausage
The Pit Room
Must order: Housemade sausages and tacos
The Smoking Oak
Must order: Brisket and ribs