The Smoking Oak
After years of barbecue-eating expeditions, the pitmaster here converted his family homestead into a Central Texas–style joint complete with custom-built brick smoker. Our moist brisket came with a bright red smoke ring but just a hint of smoke, because he only burns mild oak. The pork ribs had just enough pull and a sweet touch of brown sugar, while the sausage satisfied with a good snap and black-pepper kick. The baked beans left us wishing for charro beans, but the chunky potato salad (a family recipe) was satisfying. Get there early because they do sell out!