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The Top 25 New and Improved BBQ Joints in Texas

Now With More Smoke Flavor!

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Ervin Kolacny tending the pit at Kolacny's Bar-B-Q and Catering. Photograph by Wyatt McSpadden

It’s been two years since Texas Monthly published its last Top 50 BBQ Joints list. It was a feat of reporting that took me and my barbecue-eating cohorts across the state to eat at countless legendary restaurants, holes-in-the-wall, out-of-the-way joints. The work didn’t end when the issue went to press. My job since then has essentially been one giant scouting mission for the next list slated for the summer of 2017. In my travels, one thing has become obvious: there are more good barbecue joints opening now than ever before. It’s getting harder to find a bad meal out there, and that’s something worth celebrating. Rather than wait another two years, we decided to highlight these hard-working and talented pitmasters that have opened joints since our last list came out, as well as a few others that took us a little longer to find.

This list of the top 25 new and improved barbecue joints in Texas is geographically diverse, including places from Harlingen to Farwell, but you’ll notice a focus on Austin. This is not a matter of favoritism. Regular readers of TMBBQ.com know that Dallas is my home, and the barbecue quality here has grown by leaps and bounds. I can also admit a fondness for the great barbecue emerging from Houston. But it can’t be denied that Austin is now the greatest city for barbecue in the world. Surrounded by such impressive smoked meat, anyone brave enough to think they can compete there better be ready to play with fire. This list reflects that bounty of good barbecue.

As for those that who are recognized here, this doesn’t mean they’ll be included on the 2017 Top 50, but it certainly makes them contenders for the next list. If great barbecue joints keep opening at a similar pace as we’ve seen in the last two years, they’ll have plenty of competition.

 

ABILENE:

Stillwater Barbeque

 

AUSTIN:

Freedmen’s

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

Kerlin BBQ

Terry Black’s Barbecue

 

BERTRAM:

HWY 29 BBQ

 

BURNET: 

Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak

 

CRESSON:

BBQ on the Brazos

 

DALLAS:

The Slow Bone Barbeque

Cattleack Barbecue

 

FARWELL:

The BBQ Shop

 

FORT WORTH:

Heim Barbecue

Billy’s Oak Acres Bar-B-Q

 

GRAPEVINE:

Meat U Anywhere BBQ

 

HALLETTSVILLE:

Kolacny Bar-B-Q

 

HARLINGEN:

Rio Grande Grill

 

HOUSTON: 

Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque

Roegel’s Barbecue Co.

Southern Q BBQ

 

LONGVIEW:

Bodacious Bar-B-Q

  

PEARLAND:

Killen’s Barbecue

 

SAN ANTONIO:

Smoke Shack BBQ

 

VICTORIA: 

Quality Packers Smokehouse

 

WOLFFORTH: 

Evie Mae’s Barbecue

 

In case you’re not sure where Farwell, Hallettsville, and Wolfforth are located, here’s a map to help.

25 Best Map

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  • donald cculloch

    What??? N Coopers BBQ on the list? Llano Texas — Coopers — world famous!!!

    • These are the best new places. Cooper’s was already in our Top 50.

    • Martin

      it is new and improved in last two years.. Coopers is not eligible for this one. As are the other favs.

  • adrian cain

    Any list that does not have the start of the Texas BBQ trail Luling City Market is just other list

    • john m

      City market in Luling is the WORST! Anyone who uses GAS does not belong.

    • City Market in Luling is already on our Top 50 BBQ List. We love it.

  • Didn’t Killens and Corkscrew BBQ open up after 2013? Sure Killens has gotten lots of love since.

    Tried the new corkscrew location yesterday and was really impressed.

    • Corkscrew was already open, and is already on our list of the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas.

  • Gosh, even though there’s not a place listed very close to me, I have great barbecue regularly. I just don’t usually have to stand in a long line at a restaurant. When I’m traveling though I’ll check out some of these. Thanks for the list. Kenneth D. Franks

  • Rick Sartain

    Texas pit stop in La Marque Texas is a great place friendly people , great BBQ and good prices ! Excellent in my opinion ! Check em out !

  • Del

    No mention of Tin Roof BBQ in Atascocita?
    You need to try it.

    • I went earlier this year, and it was good, but not great. I’ll get back there to check it out again.

  • Ginger

    You should try Ronnies BBQ in Johnson city, Texas. I ate there with my little sister for the first time the other day. It was great. Must hurry he closes at 2 p.m.

    • I’ve had half a meal at Ronnie’s, and it was great. I stopped once too early for food, the second time I was too late, and the third I only got some of the menu. My next visit will be right when they start serving lunch.

    • Or when he runs out!

  • Funny how Boomtown BBQ Company in Beaumont, TX, is left off of these “Bbq lists”. Tradition Bbq and twisted Bbq. Shows how reliable these list really are.

    • Chris – I visited your restaurant in March. The dirty rice and beans were enjoyable, but the barbecue on the day I came in wasn’t as good as others on this list.

  • Actually Evie Mae’s is the best I have ever eaten…..just wonderful and this is from a committed rib eater.

  • Just wondering whether any of the barbecue joints in Lockhart will stay on the next top 50 list. Tried the big three in Lockhart on a barbecue tour on a Saturday few weeks back and they were all pretty mediocre.

    • Frank Stokes

      I have to agree–I have made it a point to stop when driving through in the past, but cannot recommend Kreuz or Smitty’s with any confidence. Black’s is best in my experience, but the wow factor in Lockhart disappeared a while back.

      • David

        Chisholm Trail in Lockhart beats everyone for Chicken.

  • Keith LaFollett

    You need to make sure everyone knows this is not the top 25 list but the list of improved joints!

  • waylon

    There are 2 places in Lubbock Texas you have to visit. Powells on west 19th st and The shack on north franford avenue both are heavy hitters in bbq in texas.

    • Thanks for tip on Powell’s. I liked The Shack when I visited earlier this year. It almost made this list.

  • Lola Dunagan

    Luling, Tx at Luling City Market

  • The link for BBQ on the Brazos no worky but for the record the Q does!!!

  • Paul Pitcock

    Thought I was getting some serious bbq info and then you went and proved yourselves false by having Bodacious on your list. You people need too head up to Cooper Texas for some FatBoys q.

    • Have you visited the original Bodacious in Longview since it reopened in June?

  • Jennifer

    Evie Mae’s is the best. We moved to Lubbock from Nebraska and could not find a good bbq place till we went to Evie Mae’s now I always compare other places to it.

  • Rachel

    What about bbq food trucks?!

  • Didn’t Corkscrew BBQ in Houston (or Spring) open up after 2013?

    Tried the new corkscrew location yesterday and was really impressed.

  • Deborah Lynch

    Spykes BBQ on Hwy 1431 in Kingsland is one of the most improved! It is delicious. And great sides.

  • Matt M

    Did you really put a Bodacious on the list? Lol

    • Yes. The original location on Mobberly in Longview is putting out some of the best barbecue in East Texas.

  • Jacob

    A little surprised 4T’s isn’t listed. Your last review got me to actually drive to Forney (I hate Forney) and I’ve been back every so often since then. BBQ is severely lacking on the east side of the Metroplex and it’s far and away better than the other stuff out this way.

    • Good eye. I really like that place, and they were right in the running. It was the one that made me wish I could have made this a Top 26.

  • Jerry Hodges

    Haven’t been to Evie Maes yet, but plan to soon. A really good and pretty new place that had the best BBQ I’ve had in years is Smoke Ring BBQ in Post.

    • Thanks for the tip. I’ve added Smoke Ring BBQ to my to do list.

  • gary

    What about McBees BQ in Pleasanton, Great food.

  • J.D.

    BBQ Shak in Burnet is awesome! Been their three times and I have to say the brisket is simply mouth watering! Always stop here once a year on our way to the hill country from Dallas.

  • Melanie

    Y’all totally have left out one of the very best bbq joints in Texas. HEMPHILL BBQ in Hemphill, TX.

  • Deborah C

    I just recently moved back to Texas after being gone for 50 years. We recently ate at BBQ on the Brazos & it’s THE BEST BBQ we have had since my 2-year return!

  • Jim

    What’s the latest in Bet The House in Denton? Have only eaten there twice but the second time around just recently was far and above the first visit.

    • I need to get back there. It was promising on the first visit. I’m hoping they’ve toned down the smokiness.

  • Henry J. Hebert

    Keep up the tough work of the BBQ review!!!

  • Bethany

    Surprise surprise nothing from the heart of Texas or central Texas areas. Texas monthly? No Austin monthly

    • If you can name me one great new barbecue joint in Waco or the surrounding area, I would be forever in your debt.

  • Javier Pizana

    Wondering if you’ve ever had Joe Cottons, or mr. G’s down in Corpus Christi? Great places reasonable price as well

    • I tried the new Cotten’s BBQ in Calallen and Mr. G’s in Corpus. Both were fine, but not incredible.

  • Scott Harris

    Why didn’t Oppies in Springtown make the list?…I would put them up against Coopers any day…

    • Maybe you mean Opie’s in Spicewood? They are already part of our Top 50 List from 2013.

  • Jerry

    The smoking oak in mercedes tx
    augies bbq in san antonio
    Big Bibs in san antonio
    Missing out on several gems … Lmao the smoke shack really… No thanks to dry

    • I’ll be headed to the Smoking Oak in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to it.

  • James L.

    Go try a little place in Lake Worth called Bullfrog Grill on Azle Avenue…my buddy owns it and has some of the best BBQ anywhere I’ve eaten,and that says a lot!When u go in,ask for Ray,the owner,tell him James sent ya!

  • Dennis

    For a number of years a group of us have been traveling around Texas sampling BBQ. Typically we hit 15 joints in 3 days. We always have fun comparing our list to yours. Most times there is an overlap. Sometimes we beat you to a great place!

    I must say that we were surprised to see Freedmans on this list. We stopped there this past April. It was the worst experience we have ever encountered. From the moment we attempted to get a parking spot to the waitress to the food to the moment we tried to leave.

    I understand this was “our” experience. However, it was so unbelievable beyond bad, I can’t ever see us giving it a second chance or referring someone there.

    • I implore you to give it another chance. It’s one of the few places that I hear only good things about from readers.

  • Adam U

    How about Schoepf’s or Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton then?

    • Schoepf’s is decent, but not great. Miller’s is already in our Top 50 list.

  • Austin

    Been around for awhile but thoughts on Mike Anderson’s in Dallas?

  • No Smitty’s in Lockhart? We make the long trek just for the brisket and sauce.

    • These joints were either new or undiscovered. Smitty’s is neither.

  • please?

    Roegels? Is awful, burnt flavorless meat (cheap quality) and horrible sides also flavorless and a total bully of an owner. Yeah you can throw a stick in any direction and find better bbq.

    • I think we know where we can find that stick.

    • Any publicity we get just wouldn’t seem right if our little troll Corey Muller didn’t have something to say.

    • You really need to get a life Corey and stop worrying about us. I’m a bully but you continue to berate my restaurant every chance you get. Who’s the bully here. Take a look in the mirror.

  • Longhorn Fan

    what about Stile Station on N. Lamar. This place is truly remarkable, the brisket is the best, along with the huge beef ribs, and pork sausage. No meal is complete without their corn cassarole
    .

    • Stiles Switch is already part of our Top 50 BBQ list.

  • You might want to try Soulmans In Dallas area

  • David

    Daniel,

    I’ve been following you and the tmbbq for some time.

    Living in the BBQ desert that is extreme NE Texas, we were so happy when Namman’s opened up in Texarkana. Happiness became pride when your articles on Interstate Roadside BBQ noted “Naaman’s is making the best barbecue in this area of Texas. ” http://tmbbqsandbox.wpengine.com/highway-bbq-i-30/

    We are anxiously awaiting the 2017 issue with Namman’s on the list!

  • RockportDon

    Happy to see Quality Packers Smokehouse in Victoria made the list. They are producing great BBQ.

  • Keith LaFollett

    I hear Slowbones Okra is as bad as his gas cooked Q!

  • David Keith

    Why not Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth. I would like to hear your opinion. Maybe the beer is better than the Q.??

  • Martin

    POST Mountain in Burnett is over the top, bananas, spot on, really great.. love that pepper rub…

  • Someone needs to check out Rumps in Tennessee Colony outside of Palestine in East Texas. BBQ is great, side dishes are super tasty and the pies and cakes are good enough to stand alone, but why, when there is plenty of everything.

  • Let’s start with the famous Chisolm Trail-Luling BBQ is celebrating its 30th anniversary and it has the best selection of BBQ meats and sensational sides. Everything is delicious. This is authentic BBQ at its best!

  • Alyssa

    You should give Desert Oak Barbecue in El Paso a try!

  • Chris Vaughan

    I think Spring Creek BBQ should be on the list

  • You missed Follow The Smoke Bbq & Catering in Brownfield, TX just 35 minutes south of Wolfforth, Tx. My wife and I look forward to you visiting our establishment. We will celebrate our 1 year anniversary this Tuesday. Hope to see you soon!

  • George Stevens

    Desert Oak Barbecue in El Paso — NOW that’s REAL barbecue in West Texas!

  • Up In Smoke BBQ & Co. coming this summer to Midland Texas.

  • larry byrd

    Lufkin BBQ in Lufkin is been in business over 60 years and third generation family operates in Lufkin Tx it is one of George Bush Sr favorite stops for lunch
    Great good good atmosphere and great takehome family packs reasonably priced My favorite

  • larry byrd

    Lufkin BBQ in Lufkin is by far one of the best briskets and ribs and sausage and chicken meails
    It is open 6 days a week and has great value take home family packs