Welcome to the new era of foodgasm with the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas 2021.
Before when you say barbecue in Texas, one of two things will happen: either people would be so hungry just by the mention of it – well, if you know Texas BBQ, you know it’s THAT mouth-watering – or people would already go on a heated debate on how to best prepare the meat. Because just like in any dish, people can be very particular about the traditional way of cooking things.
Now, people are still salivating over it, but many have become more open to the fact that this foodgasm, or rather meatgasm, is taking on different directions with so many surprises as well as variety. As Texas Monthly said, it’s a brave new era for Texas barbecue with ‘bacon burnt ends, beef cheeks, birria, blueberry-and-Gouda sausage, brisket-topped elote, and guava-glazed pork ribs.’ But the innovations on the staple meal do not mean that the traditional is going out of style, or worse, getting erased. The only thing that rookies in the Texas BBQ business are doing is paying tribute to the heritage and reinvigorating it with new flavors and styles.
In fact, besting all the classic BBQ joints in Texas is a newcomer. While they may not have stacked years of experience in the business, they did work with some of the best BBQ in Texas. And now they’re taking that into their plates of mouth-watering goodness.
Let’s get to know more about them and the rest of the top and sizzling BBQ joints in Texas. (This list is taken from Texas Monthly’s Top 50, which came out this month, their sixth since 1997, reviewed by barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn.)
10. Panther City BBQ (Fort Worth, Texas)
Last 2014, a couple of friends – Chris Magallanes and Ernest Morales – quit their jobs after winning an amateur barbecue competition, and we’re definitely glad they did. This BBQ restaurant started as a food truck just outside Republic Street Bar located in Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood and has now grown as a full-blown BBQ landmark in the area.
Panther City BBQ offers generous options of spare ribs, turkey, house-made sausage burst, pork belly burnt ends cooked on-site in their smoker over 100% Post-Oak wood. These massive, tender servings are flavored with their signature sauces that will not only melt in your mouth but will also give you a good kick in the tongue as well. But dining here is not complete without trying their showstopping brisket elote, so make sure you try that out. Oh, and while you’re at it, take a taste of their puddings and a drink of their delicious beers.
You can check them out at 201 E. Hattie, Fort Worth, from Wednesday until Sunday, starting at 11 am.
9. Snow’s BBQ (Lexington, Texas)
Snow’s undeniably a classic in the BBQ business but back when they opened in 2003, people hardly ever knew that this tiny, rustic place existed. Many of their regulars were the hardy locals who wake up early on Saturdays to watch and participate in the weekly cattle auction in their small 1,200 town of Lexington. Now, they’re one of the certified best BBQ in Texas and not only that but also one of the best globally.
But fame never changed anything. They continued to serve their customers with nothing but the best. And speaking of best, you can never go wrong with their four-pound (sometimes, even 5) oak-smoked beef brisket that seduces anyone with its perfectly crisp bark, moist center, and divine smoke ring. This is the meat that sparked the long, waiting lines but believe us – it’s worth the wait. And add some traditional sides and desserts to make the meal even more fulfilling.
Drop by Snow’s at 516 Main, Lexington. They’re open Saturdays from 8 until sold-out (Beers, Bloody Marys, and vodka sunrises are free! Just bring some cash for tips), and you might even catch expert pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz!
8. Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque (Wolfforth, Texas)
Arnis and Mallory Robbins started cutting grass for a living as they ran a landscaping company in Arizona. But six years ago, they put down the shears and traded them for knives, and started their own meat food truck just outside Lubbock. Now, Evie Mae is the ‘crown jewel of West Texas barbecue.’ And just like Snow’s, their meat deserves the long line that it boasts.
Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque prides themselves with their best-selling beef ribs and equally flavorful fatty brisket with decadent burnt ends. But of course, there’s more to their menu than just the town favorites. They also offer perfectly-smoked St. Louis-cut ribs, German smoked sausage available in original and spicy, cheesy versions, and a long list of delectable sides. But if you want an even grander meal, go ahead and reserve yourself a spot for their smoked prime rib dinners, which only happen twice a month.
They’re open from Wednesday until Saturday at 217 U.S. 62, Wolfforth from 11 until sold-out.
7. Franklin Barbecue (Austin, Texas)
Twelve years in the business, yet Franklin Barbecue never seems to run out of its magic. Its traditional barbecue remains to be one of the best BBQ in Texas despite the arrival of new game-changers in the business. Its smoke master Aaron Franklin first charmed his way into the Austin scene way back in 2009, inspiring a lot of young, urban individuals like himself to pursue being a pitmaster.
Two of the favorites on his menu that sometimes could take a three-hour-long wait are his caramelized fatty brisket heavily seasoned with pepper and the glossy pork ribs. There’s no doubt that your tongue will experience heaven when you take a bite of these. And aside from those, you should also definitely check out their homemade sides and desserts baked by a local purveyor.
As of now, restaurant dining is closed, but you can pre-order online and pick-up your Franklin barbecue fix at 900 E. 11th, Austin from Tuesday to Sunday.
6. Cattleack Barbeque (Dallas, Texas)
One of the many who are making their own headway in the modern-style Texas BBQ are Cattleack owners Todd and Misty David. The restaurant, which first opened in 2013, is now known for their variety of meat options like beef bologna, spicy beef boudin, and one of their best, their massive Wagyu pastrami ribs.
Cattleack also offers many impeccably crafted varieties of irresistible house-made sausages, including the Wagyu brisket, which has perfected the balance of flavors and seasonings. There’s also their pulled pork that no one else in Texas offers because the Davids purchased a North Carolina whole hog cooker just for this. The taste is immaculate with its tangy, moist, and rich flavor.
You can find them at 13628 Gamma Road, Dallas, every Thursday and Friday and the first Saturday of every month.
5. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue (Austin, Texas)
With their slogan “New school BBQ, Old School Service,” LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue is all about inventive barbecue and old school hospitality. While all the other best BBQ in Texas are housed in restaurants, the duo chose to still serve their meat straight from their blue food truck parked inside the fence of Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden.
Two things that you should know about this BBQ joint is that first, Evan Leroy does not serve pork ribs (but bacon ribs are offered on Saturdays) and turkey (but it’s available on the menu during Thanksgiving). Second, he delights customers instead with his Akaushi brisket that is too good you can’t just not leave Austin without tasting it. But don’t worry, if you can’t get a hold of the brisket, their regular offerings, especially the smoked barbacoa and sliced beef cheeks, are just as good.
Visit them from Wednesday until Sunday at 121 Pickle Road, Austin.
4. Burnt Bean Co. (Seguin, Texas)
The restaurant name may not scream barbecue, but they’re undeniably one of the best BBQ in Texas that people have tried recently. Burnt Bean Co. just opened this 2020, but you wouldn’t really think that they’re new in the business, especially with their impressive thick-crusted and savory brisket that sells out pretty quickly.
Aside from the brisket, there’s also the pork ribs flavored with just a subtle hint of sweetness that gets you addicted, the coarse-ground sausage that snaps as you bite, the smoked turkey breast, and of course, a variety of sides and mouth-watering desserts. They also have daily features that you can check out on their chalkboard.
Make sure to stop by Burnt Bean Co if you ever find yourself in Seguin. They’re open from Thursday until Sunday at 108 S. Austin, Seguin.
3. Truth Barbecue (Houston, Texas)
Here at Truth Barbecue, you get the perfect balance between meatgasm and dessert coma, which separates them from all the other barbecue joints packed in The Heights Neighborhood. And that is also the very reason why they snatched the top 3 spot on this list.
Smoked by pitmaster Leonard Botello and his crew, their ribs are so tasty that there’s no actual need for sauce to hype the flavor. There’s also their signature brisket with its deep, peppery crust, glossy fat, and lush, smoky beef taste. But wait, there’s more. Truth also offers Cajun-inspired burnt-end boudin stuffed with chunks of smoked brisket served with house-made hot sauce. And on Saturdays, you can get your fix of whole hog barbecue. As for their desserts, you will not be disappointed by their cakes, especially their three-layer chocolate cake that will send you to heaven with all the intense chocolatey goodness in every bite.
Truth Barbecue opens at 11 from Tuesday to Sunday at 110 S. Heights Blvd, Houston. But if you want to make sure you get a spot, get there before 11.
2. InterStellar BBQ (Austin, Texas)
Grabbing the second spot is another BBQ joint from Austin – InterStellar BBQ. This joint just opened in 2019, and they’re already in the midst of outpouring attention from all those who love barbecue. That’s because not only do they serve high-quality barbecue, but the dining experience is also something unforgettable.
The joint is located in a massive strip mall where Pit boss John Bates cooks his meats that are popular for its simplicity. The secret to his brisket is nothing unusual, just a combination of salt, pepper, garlic, and heat management. His pork ribs are also bare without the usual glaze, and instead, he rubs a bit of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness. And another favorite from his menu is the Tipsy Turkey Breast marinated overnight in hefeweizen.
Visit InterStellar at 12233 RR 620 N, Austin, from Wednesday to Sunday, starting at 11 until 5.
1. Goldee’s Barbecue (Fort Worth, Texas)
Topping off the Top 50 list is Goldee’s Barbecue in Fortworth, Texas, which just opened in 2019. Many were surprised to see a two-year-old joint surpass all the other classics and those who have long been in the BBQ business. They don’t have decades of experience or years of customer satisfaction to be declared the best BBQ in Texas.
But what they do have is a flavor so bare that it’s almost perfect. Unlike many others, Goldee’s rely on the meat itself rather than the arsenal of seasonings to provide the flavor. There’s no excess salt or sugar to be tasted; everything is just in perfect balance. Aside from their brisket, they also have other surprising offerings like Nupohn Inthanousay Laotian sausage that is perfectly matched with sticky rice and spicy-sour jeow som sauce.
Take your time to check this one out because, just as Texas Monthly said, it will open your eyes wide into the new horizons of Texas barbecue. They’re located at 4645 Dick Price Rd, Fort Worth, from Friday to Sunday starting at 11 until sold out.
Meet The Rest of the Sizzling Top 50 Best BBQ Joints in Texas 2021
Here are the rest of the Top 50 that also deserve to be checked out.
11. Hurtado Barbecue (Arlington, Texas)
12. Distant Relatives (Austin, Texas)
13. La Barbecue (Austin, Texas)
14. Micklethwait Craft Meats (Austin, Texas)
15. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ (Austin, Texas)
16. 1701 Barbecue (Beaumont, Texas)
17. Blood Bros. BBQ (Bellaire, Texas)
18. Miller’s Smokehouse (Belton, Texas)
19. LJ’s BBQ (Brenham, Texas)
20. Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que (Brownsville, Texas)
21. Mimsy’s Craft Barbecue (Crockett, Texas)
22. Slow Bone (Dallas, Texas)
23. Smokey Joe’s BBQ (Dallas, Texas)
24. Terry Black’s Barbecue (Dallas, Texas)
25. Desert Oak Barbecue (El Paso, Texas)
26. Dayne’s Craft Barbecue (Fort Worth, Texas)
27. Smoke-A-Holics BBQ (Fort Worth, Texas)
28. Eaker Barbecue (Fredericksburg, Texas)
29. Hutchins BBQ (Frisco, Texas)
30. Baker Boys BBQ (Gonzales, Texas)
31. Zavala’s Barbecue (Grand Prairie, Texas)
32. Feges BBQ (Houston, Texas)
33. Brett’s BBQ Shop (Katy, Texas)
34. Convenience West (Marfa, Texas)
35. Butter’s BBQ (Mathis, Texas)
36. Rejino Barbeque (Olton, Texas)
37. Killen’s Barbecue (Pearland, Texas)
38. Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue (Pflugerville, Texas)
39. LaVaca BBQ (Port Lavaca, Texas)
40. Brett’s Backyard Bar-B-Que (Rockdale, Texas)
41. 2M Smokehouse (San Antonio, Texas)
42. Pinkerton’s Barbecue (San Antonio, Texas)
43. Hays Co. Bar-B-Que & Catering (San Marcos, Texas)
44. CorkScrew BBQ (Spring, Texas)
45. Louie Mueller Barbecue (Taylor, Texas)
46. Tejas Chocolate + Barbecue (Tomball, Texas)
47. Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue (Tyler, Texas)
48. Guess Family Barbecue (Waco, Texas)
49. Teddy’s Barbecue (Weslaco, Texas)
50. Helberg Barbecue (Woodway, Texas)