Ten Top BBQ Joints in Texas
By: Piper Meeks, Contributor
When it comes to Texas BBQ – everyone has an opinion and a favorite. Barbecue is no exception to the saying: “Everything is bigger in Texas.” Texas barbeque is full of unique and delicious flavor and can be found all throughout the Lone Star State, but most of the best are located in the beautiful Hill Country of Central Texas. In fact, Lockhart, Texas was named the BBQ Capital of Texas due to its many famous and authentic barbecue restaurants that have attracted people all through Texas. Here is a list of, in our opinion, the ten most amazing barbecue joints that Texas has to offer:
1. Franklin Barbecue – Austin
Bon Appétit magazine recently named Franklin Barbecue the best in the country, bringing shame to well-established contenders such as Smitty’s or Kreuz Market in Lockhart. Long lines form outside the front door at least an hour before the restaurant opens at 11 a.m. and the “sold out” sign usually goes up around 1 p.m. In fact, Franklin Barbecue has sold out of brisket every day since they opened in 2009.
2. Smitty’s – Lockhart
Located on the town square in downtown Lockhart, Smitty’s offers down-home charm and across-the-board high quality barbecue that has been served from this location for 108 consecutive years. Smitty’s is said to have set the absolute standard by which all other Texas barbecue is compared.
3. The Salt Lick – Driftwood
Thurman Roberts opened the Salt Lick in 1967 with his grandmother’s principles of cooking as inspiration. A delicious barbeque sauce is applied four times throughout the cooking process, which is done over an open pit by first searing the meat and then cooking it slowly over coals. Live music at the Salt Lick also contributes to its popularity.
4. Snow’s BBQ – Lexington
In 2008, Texas Monthly named Snow’s the best barbeque joint in the state. Not only does Snow’s offer amazing barbeque, the friendly people and service provide an authentic southern charm to the restaurant.
5. Kreuz Market – Lockhart
Well over 100 years old, Kreuz Market fits firmly in the tradition of Central Texas barbecue restaurants. The restaurant maintains authenticity in that it doesn’t offer sauces—or forks.
6. Black’s – Lockhart
Black’s has been family owned and operated since 1931. Although we’d recommend visiting Lockhart to any barbecue lovers, if you can’t come all the way down to Central Texas to enjoy Black’s, they will ship their barbecue to you at any location in the country!
7. Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor
Louie Mueller Barbecue is a James Beard award winner originally founded in 1949. This place has been putting out consistent quality for the last 60-plus years. Their beef brisket’s smoke ring will leave you wondering how they do it, and the flavor of all their meats shows why this place is one of the best!
8. Luling City Market – Houston
Luling City Market was founded in 1981 in Houston in an effort to incorporate the distinct Central Texas barbeque style to the hustle and bustle of the city. Needless to say, they were successful. They cook their meat over Post Oak wood, which provides a very unique flavor to their barbecue.
9. Mann’s – Austin
Listed among Texas Monthly’s “Top 50 BBQ Joints,” Mann’s touts 16 different side items and some of the most superb meats in the area. Like many other of the legendary barbecue places in Central Texas, Mann’s is family owned and operated, which provides a casual and laid-back atmosphere for customers.
10. Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbecue – Llano
Cooper’s is known for their ‘cowboy style’ of cooking in which they use direct-heat cooking methods that gives a fresh and distinct flavor to all of their meats. They use a rich, flavorful sauce to top of their meats instead of the more common dry-rub of Texas barbecue.