Texas and barbecue go together like macaroni and cheese, so any city in the Lone Star State offers its fair share of great barbecue spots. Houston is no exception, and it has its own collection of pitmasters and BBQ experts, all of whom will argue that theirs is the best.
The real winner in this, of course, is the barbecue lover, who has more places to choose from than you can shake a well-gnawed rib at. Whether you like it old-school and inspired by the famous Hill Country barbecue, or you want a new twist on an old taste, Houston has it. So put on a plastic bib, grab a stack of wet-naps, and check out these great places.
Any restaurant that’s been around since 1935 has learned a thing or two about its craft, and you can taste that wisdom in every bite at Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue. With the only open brick pits inside Houston’s city limits, this barbecue paradise serves up a flavor you won’t find anywhere else in the city. It’s best known for its ribs, and once you taste them, you’ll understand why.
Jackson Street BBQ
As a new kid on the block, Jackson Street BBQ had a lot to prove when it opened in 2015 — and has done it. Perfectly smoked Texas-style barbecue includes brisket, ribs, chicken, and sausage (ground in-house), while classic Southern sides include dirty fried rice, coleslaw, collard greens, and fried mac and cheese. Leave the calorie counter at home.
You want to enjoy some barbecue, but you don’t want to blow your diet? No problem. Hickory Hollow is big on flavor but offers lean cuts of brisket for delicious, guilt-free dining. Pick a baked tater for your side dish and keep it lean with a little margarine, or go big with toppings of sausage, bacon, and cheese.
The inevitable line at Killen’s Barbecue is the first sign that you’re in for some great food. A menu of acclaimed smoked brisket, beef ribs, homemade sausages, and more make it a slab of heaven for the barbecue lover. The sides are just as highly praised as the meat, with creamed corn, potato salad, baked beans, and more. Insider’s tip: leave room for the pecan pie.
For more than 20 years, this Houston favorite has been smoking up some sweet but savory baby back ribs, much to the delight of customers. Of course, Virgie’s Bar-B-Que has other items on the menu, like chicken, brisket, and pork links, but it’s the ribs that raise the most ruckus. Traditional sides like slaw, green beans, and potato salad make this the perfect spot for old-school barbecue.
If you’re not a fan of food trucks and you fear mobile smokehouses, this one will change your mind. Parked in a Kroger parking lot, Brooks’ Place BBQ has earned its reputation as one of the area’s best barbecue places, serving up smoked brisket, pork butt, and ribs. For something new, grab a side of bacon-garlic potatoes or cranberry slaw.
St. Louis-style ribs are the house special at Gatlin’s BBQ, but they aren’t the only thing on the menu. Load up on smoked brisket, three kinds of link sausage, pulled pork, turkey, and more. And don’t overlook sides like dirty rice, smoked kernel corn, and mac and cheese.
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