The massive state of Texas is a great place for a road trip. It’s also a great place to sample different kinds of barbecue, whether you want ribs, brisket, sausage or some unique options from up and coming pitmasters. So we’re going to combine these two great things and show you where to find some great plates of BBQ while also exploring the cities, towns and landscape of Texas. Our road trip route starts just outside Houston and goes west and then north, and includes traditional options, plus those offering barbecue and sides influenced by Mexican and Asian cultures. One last note: Because the meats are cooked low and slow all night, most of the places listed start serving at 11:00 AM and close when they run out of meat, usually by 2:00 or 3:00 PM.
Blood Bros. BBQ, Bellaire
Houston and its suburbs are one of the most diverse parts of the US, ranking ninth in diversity. This is due to immigration, as well as resettlement of people from war-torn countries. All of this has led to an amazing variety of food to be found in the greater Houston area, and these multi-cultural influences have crept into barbecue. Blood Bros Barbecue has used Chinese spices in the dry rub for its ribs, made sausage inspired by Thai and Laotian cuisine, and has days where they offer Mexican dishes. Follow them on Instagram to see what they’re serving up when you want to visit.
Burnt Bean Co., Seguin
You can get “craft barbecue” at this restaurant in a small town that’s a short drive from San Antonio. It was the idea of award-winning pit master Ernest Servantes who met fellow co-owner Dave Kirkland at barbecue competitions. They opened during the pandemic serving brisket, ribs, turkey and sausage, plus sides that go off the beaten path like Hot Cheeto queso mac or bacon ranch taters. Visit on Sundays for some Mexican-influenced meats and other dishes.
Kelly’s Hill Country BBQ, Wimberley
After opening in 2010, Kelly’s has been serving pit-smoked brisket and other meats from a trailer in the famed Hill Country region of Texas that’s known for barbecue. Owner Kelly Evers also started out in barbecue competitions where he earned a following and awards. He then bought a trailer and started serving brisket, pulled pork and different kinds of sausages, plus other meats like pork belly on certain days of the week. As with most of the places on this list, you have to get there before noon to get what you want before its sold out.
Franklin Barbecue, Austin
We’re starting off with one of the top places to get barbecue in Texas for more than a decade. Franklin Barbecue, started in 2009 by wunderkind smoke master Aaron Franklin, started a bit of a barbecue craze and is still one of the top destinations in Austin and all of Texas for a plate of smoked meat. They do things the traditional way here, and you can get great brisket, ribs, sausage, pulled pork and sides. Like a lot of other places on this list, they’re only open for a short time each day and close when they run out of meat (likely by 2 pm).
InterStellar BBQ, Austin
You can find this “out of of this world BBQ” in northwest Austin. InterStellar focuses on quality over quantity, taking care with what ingredients they use and where they are sourced from. You can find modern takes on traditional barbecue like peach tea glazed pork belly, jalapeno popper sausage and beef kielbasa.
Brotherton’s Black Iron Barbecue, Pflugerville
A steady presence in Pflugerville, John Brotherton has been serving up traditional Texas barbecue at this namesake shop in a strip mall since 2016. You can get the regular meats like brisket, turkey and ribs, plus some specialties like brisket boudin sausage. They’re also known for their array of sandwiches including a Texas banh mi, a Pflugerville pfilly and a loaded grilled cheese.
Louie Mueller Barbecue, Taylor
If you go to their website, you’ll immediately see “the best BBQ restaurant in Texas”. That’s a bold claim, but the restaurant’s longevity perhaps backs it up. Louie Mueller opened in 1949 and is still serving up brisket, giant ribs, pulled pork, sausage, smoked turkey breast and more. If you don’t want to travel to this “cathedral of smoke” in Taylor, you can also have their meats shipped to your location in the US via Goldbelly.
Goldee’s Barbecue, Fort Worth
This ultra-popular but simple barbecue spot suggests you get in line between 8 and 10 AM and has an entire page of others tips you might want to read before arriving. If you get there early enough you can choose from brisket, ribs, pulled pork and sausage, but late arrivals will likely still be able to find sausage and chopped beef. You can also check their social media accounts to see when they have specials like Lao sausage. If you want to try your hand at making barbecue at home like that found at Goldee’s, you can buy their sauce and dry rub online.
Cattleack BBQ, Dallas
You’ll find Cattleack BBQ in the north Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch. Since 2010 they’ve been serving up meat and sides – along with “crack cake” – on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as the first Saturday of each month. You’ll get all the basics here, including brisket, ribs, burnt ends, pulled pork and turkey. And if you want a taste of more than one thing you can order the Toddfather sandwich featuring brisket, pulled pork and sausage with coleslaw and barbecue sauce.
Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue, Wolfforth
This somewhat newcomer to the Texas barbecue scene is just outside Lubbock. Evie Mae’s was opened in 2014 by a young couple with a smoker, a trailer and a dream, and you can now visit their brick and mortar restaurant. Their menu offers a range of meats by the pound or in a sandwich including brisket, turkey, ribs and sausage. Round off your meal with some sides influenced by the couple’s New Mexico heritage like green chile cheese grits.