If you’re looking for barbecue that’s so good it’ll make you want to question the “BBQ” you’ve been eating all your life, you can pretty much bet you’ll find it in Texas. They say everything’s bigger in the Lone Star State, and the barbecue served up is definitely not an exception. Big, bold flavor awaits, thanks to slow-cooking style that’s second to none. From brisket — the undisputed king of Texas barbecue — to smoked turkey and beef short ribs, you’ll find mouthwatering options all across the state. You might want to take a bib with you to these standout spots known for their drool-worthy, outstanding flavors and tender texture.
Northern Texas Barbecue
Even if you’re not headed to Amarillo, it’s worth a detour to stop into Spicy Mike’s BBQ Haven. It’s a little out of the way, but you can thank us later after taking a ride to the city’s south side to snag some of this top-notch meat. They’re well known for their ribs and spicy sauce, but a word to the wise — get there early. Spicy Mike’s regularly packs ’em in and even sells out of food from time to time.
If you’re traveling farther south of the panhandle, pencil a stop at Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue in Wolfforth into your road trip itinerary. Evie Mae’s started out as a small roadside trailer, but after word got out about the smoked-to-perfection barbecue sold here, the owners were able to swap their trailer for a brick-and-mortar restaurant that opened in 2016. True to Texas style, the brisket is a best seller. Other favorites include the pork ribs, beef rib, and green chili sausage.
South-Central Texas Barbecue
Have you ever heard of a restaurant with a Twitter account tracking the line to get in? Austin’s Franklin Barbecue is so popular that even the line to get into the restaurant is famous — Twitter famous. Eager customers start lining up as early as 7 a.m. to get at the barbecue that goes on sale at 11 a.m. They even bring their own lawn chairs, yard games, and coolers to help pass the time. If you’re not an early bird, beware: Food usually sells out by 2 p.m.
No visit to Lockhart — a town many call the “barbecue capital of Texas” — is complete without pulling up a seat at a communal table at Smitty’s Market. Family owned since 1948, it earns the love of locals with fall-apart-tender brisket, sausage, and pork ribs. Heads up: If you want to use a fork, bring your own because this cash-only joint doesn’t give them out.
If there was an official award for best Texas barbecue, Louie Mueller BBQ in Taylor would have to be among the top winners. They’ve been family-owned since 1949 and are well known for their location — a former gymnasium dubbed a “cathedral of smoke.” Some of the most popular picks are the enormous beef ribs, homemade all-beef sausage, and pulled pork.
Southeast Texas Barbecue
You can’t go wrong at Corkscrew BBQ in the city of Spring on your search for great barbecue in southeast Texas. Like so many other Texas BBQ favorites, this joint started as a humble trailer, but the never-ending lines inspired the owners to move to a spot with more space. You should still expect to wait, but you won’t have to stand in line. A numbering system allows you to sit and relax until it’s your turn to order. Check their Facebook page before you go to see what’s already sold out — it all goes fast.
Few people — if any — know the secret to Farbo’s Pit BBQ in Bryan’s success. You can’t see any of the behind-the-scenes action since the barbecue pit and its delicious secrets are tucked away out of view. Fargo’s quickly sells out of popular items like brisket and rib tips, so plan to arrive early.
Another southeast Texas gem is Killen’s Barbecue. Established in 2013, Killen’s is a relative newcomer to the barbecue scene, but that hasn’t slowed down its rise to fame. Bone-in pork belly, beef ribs, and homemade sausage are just a few of its top meat offerings. The drive to Pearland, about 20 miles south of Houston, is worth the trip.
Drooling yet? Check out our Pinterest to discover more restaurants to feed your hunger for delicious road trips.