We’ve seen barbecue offerings across Texas expand significantly from the Texas trinity of meats (brisket, sausage, and ribs) and sides (potato salad, slaw, and beans). Dishes like pork belly burnt ends, green spaghetti, and Texas porchetta are helping to bolster lunch and dinner menus, so it’s not surprising that breakfast would be next.
Biscuit sandwiches and breakfast tacos have been easy enough to come by, but more recent items—like baby back bacon ribs with cinnamon roll pancakes and chilaquiles with smoked brisket—are pushing the boundaries of barbecue. They also allow pitmasters to show off their creativity while making their meat supplies stretch a little further.
Fort Worth joints in particular have been jumping on the brunch bandwagon. I was there on a recent weekend to try the Sunday-only brunch Brix Barbecue added earlier this month, thinking I had completed my statewide search. The next day, Hurtado Barbecue debuted a couple daily brunch items at its Fort Worth location. When I made it there a few days later, I also stopped in to check out the recently opened F1 Smokehouse for a weekday lunch. As the server handed over the check, he mentioned F1 would be adding a brunch menu. Make it stop, I thought. You’ll have to wait a few weeks for my full review of F1 Smokehouse for the details, but until then, these are the thirteen best barbecue brunches in the state, from El Paso to Weslaco.
Brix Barbecue, Fort Worth
When: Sunday, 10:30–12:30
Must order: Beef belly burnt end pancakes, $15
Drinks: Full bar, mimosa or beer buckets
Just a few weeks into Brix Barbecue‘s brunch service, its menu is still morphing, but the current winner is the massive pancakes drizzled with beef-tallow frosting and topped with three beef belly burnt ends. The two-handed breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs, sausage, onions, peppers, and cheese is also a winner—get it covered in gravy for a knife-and-fork meal. And for those addicted to Whataburger’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, Brix makes its own version with chicken dipped in hot sauce.
Burnt Bean Co., Seguin
When: Sunday, 8–10:45
Must order: Blue October, $14
Drinks: Free cans of Yuengling lager on Sundays
The brisket huevos rancheros are legendary at Burnt Bean Co., but it’s the Blue October—which co-owner Ernest Servantes named after his favorite band—that’s a real winner. It starts with a golden croissant split and spread with strawberry jam and jalapeño cream cheese. Tucked inside are a slice of smoked brisket and a fried egg, and I promise you need to try this sandwich. Some of the tacos are pure comfort, like the barbacoa or the smoked mojellas, or the one I keep thinking about, which combines refried beans and chorizo, just like Servantes used to eat growing up in Uvalde.
CM Smokehouse, Austin
When: Saturday–Sunday, 11–3
Must order: Beef fat brioche cinnamon roll, $9
Drinks: Full bar, mimosas with various fresh juices, and a Bloody Mary
With his Brisket Crunchwrap alone, Cade Mercer has made a mark on Texas barbecue, and he’s here to do it with brunch too. The second CM Smokehouse just opened in the North Austin location of Bouldin Acres, where TVs tuned to football line the walls. Mercer has gone over the top with meats piled atop crisp, hot waffles and spicy fried and smoked turkey in a freshly baked biscuit. You can also get chopped brisket with scrambled eggs and cheese in that same biscuit, but don’t sleep on the cinnamon roll. If the buttery brioche dough wasn’t already rich enough, it’s also fortified with beef fat.
Desert Oak Barbecue, El Paso
When: Saturday–Sunday, 9–2
Must order: House-made “Spam” frittata, $7
Drinks: Full bar, mimosas, and espresso drinks
At Desert Oak Barbecue, you can go for a Tex-Mex influence with the breakfast tostada or the nachos rancheros with brisket and egg, or for classic American with the chicken and waffles or the brunch burger topped with smoked tomato aioli and a runny egg. The restaurant makes its own version of Spam with ground pork shoulder and uses it in a fluffy frittata with peppers and onions. I was particularly taken with the sweet monkey bread covered in chopped walnuts and plenty of caramel sauce.
Gatlin’s BBQ, Houston
When: Monday–Saturday, 7–10
Must order: The off-menu Brisket Breakfast Biscuit, $8.99
Drinks: Beer and wine, mimosas, peach mango sangria
Brisket, egg, and cheese on a bun is a solid breakfast option, and it’s one you can get every day Gatlin’s BBQ is open. The joint also offers brisket tacos, huevos rancheros, and waffles topped with fried chicken wings, but the best dish isn’t on the menu. Order a Brisket Breakfast Biscuit at the counter, and the kitchen will know what to make. Bacon jam and sautéed jalapeños and onions join sliced brisket, a runny fried egg, and melted cheese inside a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit for one of the best barbecue sandwiches you’ll ever eat.
Guess Family Barbecue, Waco
When: Sunday, 10–3
Must order: Breakfast Sandwich, $11
Drinks: Full bar, mimosas
Smoked meat in or on pancakes is a common barbecue brunch theme, but I saw it first at Guess Family Barbecue, with the joint’s pulled pork pancakes. Cooks pour pancake batter on the flattop and then put smoked and shredded pork on top. I was skeptical, but the combination works, as does the more predictable smoked brisket hash. The simply named Breakfast Sandwich is the undercover star. A griddled potato bun is dressed with mayo and brisket jam, then gets plenty of thin, crisp bacon and American cheese melted over the fluffiest scrambled eggs you’re gonna get at a barbecue joint. It’s perfect.
Hurtado Barbecue, Fort Worth
When: Daily, 7–11
Must order: Jalapeño cornbread waffle, $10
Drinks: Orange juice and coffee; alcohol is BYOB
Arlington-based Hurtado Barbecue has served brisket-and-egg tacos and biscuit sandwiches at its Fort Worth location since opening the outpost last year. Those are still great, but last week the kitchen added two new brunch items. The first is a brisket Benedict. Instead of using chopped brisket, the cooks place thick slices of brisket on freshly baked, fluffy biscuits and top them with poached eggs and hollandaise. The second option is a stunner: the jalapeño cornbread waffle has a crunchy outer shell and bits of corn and finely diced jalapeño in the batter. The cooks drizzle syrup over it and plop a big scoop of soft butter in the middle for a sweet and savory combination.
Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery, Garland
When: Sunday, 11–2
Must order: Chicken-fried brisket, $17
Drinks: Draft beer, cider, and mead from Intrinsic’s brewery; mimosas
Thin and crisp house-made bacon strips are layered between fresh biscuits and fried eggs in the Country Eggs Benedict, which gets some spice from jalapeño hollandaise. Or you can get those same biscuits with a brisket burnt end gravy. For a different take on chicken-fried steak, Intrinsic Smokehouse breads and fries a thick slice of smoked brisket. It’s served with two generous scoops of creamy mashed potatoes, just in case you want to fulfill your calorie count for the day in just one meal.
J-Bar-M Barbecue, Houston
When: Saturday–Sunday, 11–3
Must order: Brisket chilaquiles, $16
Drinks: Full bar and espresso drinks
Smoked beef cheek barbacoa is reserved for Sundays at J-Bar-M Barbecue, and it comes with corn or flour tortillas. The vibrant plate of chilaquiles gets a fried egg and a thick slice of smoked brisket. A brunch taco is hefty, with a quarter pound of brisket along with eggs. The poached eggs are perfect on the chopped brisket Benedict over Texas toast—just make sure you get the tomatillo salsa noted on the menu instead of the mustard barbecue sauce I was served.
Miller’s Smokehouse, Belton
When: Daily, 7:30–10:55
Must order: Ribs & Cakes, $13.95
Drinks: Mimosas, Irish cold brew, and espresso drinks
All the buns, biscuits, and tortillas used in the extensive breakfast menu at Miller’s Smokehouse are made in-house, so you’re going to eat well no matter what you order. The restaurant also has its own roastery, Muscovy Coffee, so grab a fresh cortado before digging into the bacon ribs and pancakes. That’s right: the cooks cure, smoke, and fry baby back ribs and toss them in maple syrup before placing them atop a short stack of pancakes. Have the kitchen make them cinnamon roll pancakes for a small surcharge. If you’re running late, know that Miller’s treats its breakfast line like a polling station: if you’re in line before 10:55 a.m., you still get to order breakfast when you reach the counter.
The Switch, Austin
When: Sunday, 10:30–2:30
Must order: Brunch buffet, $35
Drinks: Full bar, mimosas, and Bloody Marys
At the brunch buffet at the Switch, you’ll get crisp bacon, French toast, ricotta scrambled eggs, a brisket Benedict with perfectly poached eggs, and even shrimp and grits. At the end of several tables filled with food is a carving station with two different meats, such as juicy smoked prime rib and sweet and spicy pork ribs. If that’s not enough, you can order pancakes and eggs any way you like from the kitchen as part of the package deal.
Teddy’s Barbecue, Weslaco
When: Saturday–Sunday, 9–11
Must order: Brisket huevos divorciados, $15
Drinks: Full bar with micheladas and beermosas
The flour tortillas at Teddy’s Barbecue are made by the owners’ mother, so you know the breakfast tacos are going to be good. They’re even better considering the filling is beef cheek barbacoa. Those tortillas are also great alongside the chicharrón en salsa plate, which comes with creamy refried beans and fried potatoes. The prettiest dish is the huevos divorciados. Here, one egg covered with salsa verde and another spackled with salsa roja are separated by a thick slice of smoked brisket on a bed of fried tortilla chips.
Woodshed Smokehouse, Fort Worth
When: Saturday–Sunday, 8–11
Must order: Biscuits and brisket gravy, $9.50
Drinks: Full bar, fresh-squeezed juice bar
The fresh berry crepes and a side of thick-cut, house-made bacon make a worthy combo at Woodshed Smokehouse, but the hearty spoonful of peppery chopped brisket gravy over buttermilk biscuits is how you cure a hangover. I also loved the bowl of fried potatoes with beer cheese, big chunks of smoked brisket, and a runny fried egg, but calling it poutine on the menu is a stretch. Several freshly squeezed juice blends are also available if you need some liquid greens on the side.
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