ALAMO: Original Willie’s BBQ, for sweet pecan-smoked meat, a rarity in the mesquite-dominated Valley.
ATLANTA: Tommy’s Bar-B-Que (5.5 miles south of town on U.S. 59), for melt-in-your-mouth pork ribs.
AUSTIN: House Park Bar-B-Que, for lean, moist pork loin.
BELMONT: The Goss Store, for its mouthwatering ribs and its funk-and-rust atmosphere.
BROWNWOOD: Smitty’s Bar-B-Que Pit, for cabrito smoked for five hours over a combo of oak and mesquite.
CASTROVILLE: Pete’s Bar-B-Que and Bait Stand, for its Alsatian pork-and-beef sausage.
CLARKSVILLE: Coleman’s BBQ, for deeply flavorful pork ribs.
CLIFTON: Bunkhouse Bar-B-Que, for its pink, meaty ribs with a sweet glaze.
CROCKETT: Thompson’s, for pecan-smoked ribs that are so tender they collapse into a pile of bones and succulent meat.
DICKINSON: Little’s Bar-B-Que, for the post-oak-smoked-brisket sandwich on an oversized sesame-seed bun—one great, gloppy mess.
DUBLIN: Woody’s Place, for hickory-smoked, satisfyingly fatty “super-lean’ brisket that falls apart with a twist of the fork.
EDINBURG: Willie B’s, for its pecan-smoked brisket and ribs.
EL CAMPO: Prasek’s Hillje Smokehouse (4 miles south of town on U.S. 59), for oak-smoked garlicky, coarsely ground pork-and-beef kielbasa, sliced and piled on a po’boy roll.
EL PASO: Tony’s the Pit Bar-B-Q, for its Hash Sandwich, chopped fatty ends of brisket mixed with potatoes and onions, green chile sauce, and barbecue sauce on rye or a sesame-seed bun.
EULESS: North Main BBQ, for lushly glazed pork ribs (weekends only).
EVERMAN: Hickory Stick Bar-B-Q, for eighteen-hour beef brisket and pork ribs with a garlicky rub.
FANNIN: McMillan’s Bar-B-Que and Catering, for smoked ribeye, an off-the-menu delicacy that is $28 a pound and worth it.
FORT WORTH: Dotch’s Barbeque, for gloriously messy Alabama-style (i.e., grilled) pork ribs.
FULSHEAR: Dozier’s Grocery and Meat Market, for huge, succulent pork ribs.
GONZALES: The Gonzales Food Market, for “Come and Take It” link sausage, named for the town’s defiant challenge during the Texas Revolution daring Mexican troops to capture its lone cannon.
HAMILTON: Lazy T’s BBQ, for brisket with charred edges and lots of marbling, and the Smoke Shack, for its thirty-year tradition of meat smoked over mesquite in an indoor pulley pit.
HONDO: Billy Bob’s Backyard Bar-B-Que, for the Hogg, a shredded-pork-roast sandwich, back by popular demand, and McBee’s, for its pork chop, skinny but admirably tender and meaty.
HOUSTON: Burns Bar-B-Que Cooking & Catering Service, for falling-off-the-bone-tender pork ribs with a lemon-peppery glaze and for its funky, soulful atmosphere.
JOHNSON CITY: Ronnie’s Bar-B-Que, for profoundly smoky brisket.
KILGORE: The Country Tavern (6 miles west of town on Texas Highway 31), for sweetly glazed pork ribs that rank among the tenderest in Texas.
LA GRANGE: S&S Soul Food and Bar-B-Que, for beautifully moist, melt-in-your-mouth brisket; peppery, coarse-ground sausage; and crusty, meaty pork ribs.
LLANO: Laird’s BBQ and Catering Service, for tender brisket and juicy, expertly seared chicken.
MARLIN: Boss Hogg’s, for rich, homemade sausage in a little red barn by the side of the road.
MIDLAND: Porter’s Texas Style Bar-B-Q, a mobile operation in a gooseneck trailer, for the best brisket in a barbecue-rich city.
NEW BRAUNFELS: Granzin Bar B Q, for finely ground mesquite-smoked sausage, a cross between squatty, spicy East Texas-style hot links and Central Texas-style German kielbasa.
ODESSA: The Rose, for its Cowboy Pie: Fritos with beans, chopped beef, and sauce, the state’s best use of leftovers.
PORT ARANSAS: Little Joe’s Smoke’N Grill, for its hickory-smoked meats and casual picnic-table setting.
SABINAL: “R” Bar-B-Que, for spicy, peppery homemade sauce and the best buttermilk pie in the galaxy.
SAN BENITO: The Longhorn Cattle Company, for top-shelf pork ribs and mesquite-smoked Angus brisket.
SMITHVILLE: Zimmerhanzel’s BAR-B-QUE, for homemade sausage and hometown atmosphere.
SPICEWOOD: Opie’s Barbecue, for its juicy, three-rib-thick pork chops.
TAYLOR: Rudy Mikeska’s, for its fat and gamy lamb ribs, and the Taylor Cafe, for its tender, peppery homemade sausage.
TERRELL: The Ranch Hand Restaurant, for lean but juicy brisket.
UVALDE: Evett’s B.B.Q., for the chopped-brisket sandwich, with its perfect balance of bun, sauce, and meat.
WEATHERFORD: The Mesquite Pit, for large, meaty pork ribs, and Plug’s Smokehouse (halfway to Springtown on FM 51), for a fiery sausage that’s 80 percent lean pork and a mere 20 percent fat.
WICHITA FALLS: The Bar-L Drive Inn beer joint, for earthy beef links and fresh-cut, peppery french fries.
YANTIS: Big Smith’s BBQ and Catering (8 miles south of Sulphur Springs on Texas Highway 154), for humongous beef ribs, a fast-disappearing Texas specialty.