Articles by Texas Monthly

BBQ
Cowpoke’s

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Even if the meat at Cowpoke’s were terrible, the joint would be jam-packed at all hours, since it’s located on the edge of the booming Eagle Ford Shale formation. But luckily for the patrons jawing about oil prices in the tidy dining room, the barbecue here is exceptional, certainly among…

BBQ
Pody’s BBQ

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Israel “Pody” Campos used to live in Austin, where he worked for the Texas Municipal Police Association, training cops all over the state. When budget cuts forced the association to downsize a few years ago, he moved back home to Pecos and took up a job as the chief deputy…

BBQ
Hatfields BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

This tidy cedar cabin only opened in November, but pitmaster and owner Kenny Hatfield has been perfecting his craft for years, barbecuing brisket each Friday for his friends and employees at his nearby flooring store. Hatfield smokes his brisket for eighteen hours over a mix of oak and mesquite in…

BBQ
The Granary ’Cue and Brew

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Not a typical joint by any means, the Granary is part of the flashy new Pearl retail/residential complex and occupies a renovated nineteenth-century home with high ceilings and dark-brown wood trim. The vibe is hipster carnivore: the music is modern, and the walls are covered with barbecue folk art, such…

BBQ
Two Bros. BBQ Market

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Local celebrity chef Jason Dady—who co-owns the place with his brother Jake and wife, Crystal—has gone the route of high-end barbecue in this north San Antonio location. Here, just about everything is done by hand and recipes are original. The brisket has a deep, rich taste; the crust is thick…

BBQ
Kirby’s Barbecue

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Kirby’s is a living testament to the adage, “Teach your children well.” Owner and pitmaster Kirby Hyden learned to smoke meats from his father, who learned from his father, and this family know-how proves to be a rich inheritance. In 1960 Hyden’s grandfather opened a joint called Holloway’s in a…

BBQ
Hutchins BBQ

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Last June, after a one-alarm blaze left their pit room in shambles and their business on hold, the father-son team of Roy and Tim Hutchins began to rebuild. They documented the process on Facebook, offering reports from the construction site and musing about the psyche of the Texas barbecue purveyor…

BBQ
Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

You’ll smell Whup’s long before you see it, and despite signage and GPS, you’ll probably miss the left turn that you have to make from Business State Highway 6. This cozy joint is not so much off the beaten the path as on it: a small, tidy house on a…

BBQ
City Market (Luling)

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

There are few places we love as much as the pit room at City Market. Entering the smoke-filled, glass-enclosed chamber at the back of the dining room is an experience you will remember for decades—a trip into an iconic, sacred space in the world of barbecue. Like Kreuz Market and…

BBQ
Kreuz Market

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

We wanted to keep this renowned spot at the top of our list, where it’s been since our very first barbecue story, in 1973. But after repeated visits by various staffers, we had to be honest: we couldn’t. The brisket was consistently disappointing. The scanty fat on the “fatty” was…

BBQ
Black’s Barbecue

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Black’s has little in common with the more publicized Kreuz or Smitty’s other than that they are all in the same town. Instead of a mesmerizing encounter with a picturesque fire blazing at the end of an ancient brick pit like you’ll find at Smitty’s, at Black’s you’re funneled through…

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Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Texas is in the midst of a barbecue renaissance, an age of smoky enlightenment. One need only sample the goods at new-guard establishments like Franklin Barbecue, in Austin, or Pecan Lodge, in Dallas, to realize it. Yet in the face of all this newfangled excitement, Cooper’s continues to soldier on—an…

BBQ
Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Longtime San Marcosans may recall this place as the former home of Woody’s, a barbecue joint that opened in 1984. It was taken over in 2007 by the Hernandez family, and in 2011 they changed the name to Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering. Last we checked, this venue does welcome…

BBQ
Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Only a few folks were eating lunch when we arrived in this small, well-lit room decorated with mounted deer, but since we had seen the massive pits outside and the piles of post oak, we speculated that a good meal was ahead. We were right. The fat on the brisket…

BBQ
Opie’s Barbecue

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Upon walking through Opie’s front door you will immediately be confronted by a gleaming black metal box. If it’s your first visit, you’ll probably think to yourself that this behemoth is a little too clean and a little too showy to contain top-quality barbecue. But just wait until the lid…

BBQ
Corkscrew BBQ

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Set among a relentless suburban grid of drab brown-and-gray strip malls north of Houston, Corkscrew BBQ’s riotous pink-and-black mini-campus of trailers and smoke shacks stands out like a Longhorn in College Station. This is appropriate, however, considering that Corkscrew represents a new generation of barbecue in Houston. Pitmaster…

BBQ
Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The exceptional thing to note about Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que is the fact that it exists at all. Located in a caliche lot along a desolate road in Sweetwater next to a bowling alley turned bar, Big Boy’s has the feel of an oasis—or a mirage. Blink and it might disappear.

BBQ
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a…

BBQ
Mumphord’s Place BBQ

May 16, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The minute you park, you’ll be drawn like a moth to the glowing fireboxes and pits in the screened-in shed out back. That’s where the action is—and frankly, we wondered how the pitmaster gets any work done, he’s so busy posing for pictures with guests and explaining to newbies how…

BBQ
Longoria’s BBQ

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

In 1975 a Bell Helicopter employee named Fidencio “Fred” Longoria began making his own sausage in his kitchen at home. He wanted to create links as good as those he remembered eating in Gonzales as a child. In 1990, after years of tinkering, he finally solidified his recipe for sausage…

BBQ
Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

As popular as this Hill Country hamlet is among the day-tripping set, Fredericksburg has historically suffered from a surprising dearth of top-rate barbecue. No more. Just a mile and a half south of the knickknack and potpourri emporiums of bustling Main Street stands Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company. Once inside the…

BBQ
Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Brazoria County native Leon O’Neal doesn’t usually dress up, but he does often don a cowboy hat, even in the summer (when the headgear is made of straw and he may be wearing shorts). Dressed up or not, he and his sister will welcome you like honored guests to their…

BBQ
Meshack’s Bar-B-Que

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Meshack’s takes the concept of a barbecue joint and reduces it to its most basic element: the meat and nothing else. There are no tables at which to sit and enjoy your food, no whimsical décor, really no ambience at all. Just a cinder-block shack crudely painted with images of…

BBQ
City Meat Market

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

A welcome landmark on U.S. 290 between Austin and Houston is the boxy brick building of City Meat Market, in Giddings. The red painted sign reads “Bar-B-Q and Sausage”—sausage being one of their specialties. Walk through the main room, with its high ceilings, two rows of tables covered in…

BBQ
Bartley’s Bar-B-Q

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

We walked through the doors of this thoroughly nondescript suburban strip center spot and were greeted by the heavenly incense of smoked meat—which carried us to the counter in a happy daze. Next, came an unsolicited, excruciatingly upbeat testimonial from a fellow patron, waiting and antsy for service: “Best barbecue…

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Bob’s Bar-B-Que

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Owner and pitmaster Bob Allen is just as guarded as he is hospitable, so don’t expect a pit tour here. But though we could not see the equipment, we were assured that no gas was used in the preparation of the meat. The menu is simple, but it does include…

BBQ
Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Greg Gatlin is in charge of the smoker, but he also bustles around taking orders and tidying up. So does his mom, who is responsible for the fine bread pudding and other sweets. After a wait—which is often lengthy—you’ll receive plates neatly stacked with precisely sliced meat. In case you’ve…

BBQ
Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The brawny pork ribs that emerge from the big metal smoker set a standard for the genre. They are massive, pink, and delicious, their meat lightly clinging to the bone until you grab a bite with your teeth and give a light tug. A heavy, salty-peppery crust, without a trace…

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Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

You could lose a lot of tire tread and a little bit of soul looking for good barbecue in East Texas. But if you should find yourself in Jasper, mosey down Main Street, past the modest houses and packs of free-range dogs, and make the acquaintance of George Ralph Mahathay,…

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Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

A devastating fire in 2012 destroyed all but the thin brick facade of this joint, which faces Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. But once the flames were extinguished, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph started rebuilding, and seven months later he was christening the new Bewley smoker. The refurbished interior is…

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Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Ordering brisket is a reflexive action for most eaters of Texas barbecue. And at a joint like Buzzie’s, with a reputation for expertly smoked beef, it’s truly a no-brainer. Where your tough choices come into play at this Hill Country standby is farther down the menu. If for some crazy…

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Hitch-N-Post BBQ

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Billy Ray Nelson is the former sheriff in these parts, but he had always dreamed of making real-deal barbecue his full-time gig once he retired. His wish came true four years ago, and boy, is that a good thing for the rest of us. Situated in a wide-open field on…

BBQ
Who Does BBQ Better? Kansas City or Texas?

May 15, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The following is the transcript of a conversation between Gregory Curtis and Calvin Trillin. Curtis, who was born in Texas and raised partly in Kansas City, was the editor of Texas Monthly from 1981 to 2000. Trillin, a native of Kansas City, is a staff writer at the New Yorker, and…

BBQ
Cousin’s Bar-B-Q

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

With six locations—two of which are in the Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport—this family-run operation could be considered a chain now and, thus, not admissible for this list. But rules are made to be broken, especially when a plateful of expertly smoked meat is before you. We still like the original…

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McMillan’s Bar-B-Q

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The tiny town of Fannin is famous for exactly two things. The first is for being the site of the 1836 Battle of Coleto Creek during the Texas Revolution, where Texians under Colonel James W. Fannin surrendered to the Mexican army, only to be marched to Goliad and executed en…

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Lockhart Smokehouse

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

The closest some Dallasites will get to a Central Texas barbecue experience could well be ordering meat by the pound at Lockhart Smokehouse. The similarity to Kreuz Market, in Lockhart, isn’t an accident. Co-owner Jill Bergus is part of the Schmidt family, who run Kreuz Market, and she and her…

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Austin’s BBQ and Catering

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

If you’re in the market for brisket, be sure to get the fatty rather than the lean, and be sure they leave the crust on when cutting your order. We didn’t know to say anything on our first visit, and our brisket came out looking scalped. When the bark is on,…

BBQ
Brooks’ Place

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Trent Brooks was working as a materials specialist for a gas-compression company when a supervisor, who knew of Brooks’s talent as a part-time pitmaster, referred him to an ad on Craigslist for a $12,000 mobile smoker. Brooks negotiated the price down to $4,500, and the rest, as they say, is…

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Fargo’s Pit BBQ

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

A few months back Fargo’s moved out of its original building, a cramped place that lacked indoor seating—or outdoor seating, for that matter. Though the restaurant is now located just a few blocks from the first location, the large dining room, lined with big windows, feels miles away. One thing…

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Miller’s Smokehouse

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

If Miller’s were in Austin, it might have started in a food truck. Instead, Dirk Miller began cooking in the front room of his meat-processing and taxidermy business, which opened in 2006. First came sausage wraps and pulled pork in 2008; he started “throwing briskets” on the smoker a year…

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Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

This place comes with rock-solid credentials: The pitmaster, Lance Kirkpatrick, worked under Bobby Mueller at Taylor’s Louie Mueller Barbecue for nine years. Following that, he briefly succumbed to the lure of a fine-dining kitchen, but last year Austin entrepreneur Shane Stiles beckoned Kirkpatrick to the pits once again. We’re grateful…

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Lamberts Downtown Barbecue

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Some people may be turned off by the description at the bottom of the Lamberts menu: “Fancy Barbecue?” But there are so many outstanding dishes at this establishment, we urge you to put preconceived notions out of your mind. Plus, the restaurant (we can’t bring ourselves to call it a…

BBQ
La Barbecue

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

In this case, “La” is not a definite article referring to the “Cuisine Texicana” this relatively new joint says it serves; it’s an abbreviation referring to the first name of the co-owner LeAnn Mueller, granddaughter of the founder of Taylor’s famous Louie Mueller Barbecue (disclosure: LeAnn is a contributing photographer…

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John Mueller Meat Co.

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

If there’s a dark prince of Texas barbecue, it’s probably John Mueller, the famously irascible, hugely talented, at times erratic master of meat who left his family’s legendary joint—Louie Mueller Barbecue, in Taylor—and set out on his own in 2001 with John Mueller’s B-B-Q, on Austin’s East Side. By 2003,…

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Tyler’s Barbeque

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

Our first visit to Tyler’s Barbeque was a failure. The staff was friendly and the food was great, particularly the tender brisket with its peppery crust and subtle smoke ring, but we arrived too late to try the pork ribs, whose praises were being sung all over the High Plains.

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The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

With rattlesnake skin tacked to the particleboard walls, wagon wheel chandeliers, and black-and-white-checked tablecloths, Willie’s aesthetic can be described Little House on the Prairie chic. This joint has a large menu that caters to local tastes (brisket tacos, fajita plates), and it was packed during the weekday lunch rush. Meats…

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Playing With Barbecue Sauce

May 14, 2013 By Texas Monthly

To create the lettering for our June barbecue issue, creative director TJ Tucker spent six long hours playing with barbecue sauce. Aaron Franklin graciously provided the sauce, and to achieve the right look, we thickened it with agar, an edible  hydrocolloid that is used much like flour or cornstarch.

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Sneak Peek at Our June Cover

May 12, 2013 By Texas Monthly

In June we’ll publish our every-five-years list of the top 50 BBQ joints in Texas, which is always one of the most hotly anticipated issues we put out. It will be on newsstands on May 22, and we’ll be releasing the names of the joints on the list later this…