Every four years, this magazine embarks on a delicious but daunting task: choosing the fifty best barbecue establishments in Texas. The job is delicious for obvious reasons. The daunting part is realizing that many worthy joints—places that are nearly as good as those that made the Top 50—had to be left behind. So our barbecue editor, Daniel Vaughn, looked back at the score sheets submitted by our 35 traveling tasters to see which ones almost made the cut. Some of them are newcomers that just need a bit more experience. Others are veterans of previous lists nudged out by tough competition. All of them are worth a visit. But don’t take our word for it. Go check them out yourself. Chances are the barbecue will be terrific—and the lines will almost certainly be shorter.


The Shed Market

Pitmaster: Byron Stephenson
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


407 BBQ

Pitmaster: Bryan McLarty
Method: Hickory; rotisserie pit


225° BBQ

Pitmaster: Rene Ramirez
Method: Pecan and post oak; reverse-flow offset smoker


J. Leonardi’s Barbeque

Pitmaster: Jerome Faulkner
Method: Mesquite and oak; offset smoker

Moreno Barbecue

Pitmaster: Bo Moreno
Method: Post oak; offset smoker

Stiles Switch BBQ

Pitmasters: Jose Angel, Ewan Hardeman, Braun Hughes, Lance Kirkpatrick, Gibran Loera, Julian Martinez, Ricky Rodriguez
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit


Pitmaster: Kasey Studdard
Method: Mesquite and oak; offset smoker

Bayou Vista

Smokin’ Z’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Zaid Al-Jazrawi
Method: Mesquite and post oak; offset smoker


Charlie’s Bar-B-Que

Pitmaster: Charles Brewer
Method: Hickory and red oak; offset smoker


Fargo’s Pit BBQ

Pitmaster: Alan Caldwell
Method: Hickory and pecan; indirect-heat pit

Cedar Hill

Harris Bar-B-Que

Pitmaster: Kelvin Harris
Method: Hickory and oak; reverse-flow offset smoker


Bare Barbecue

Pitmasters: Steven Bailey, Justin Earley
Method: Oak; offset smoker

College Station

1775 Texas Pit BBQ

Pitmaster: Brad Doan
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


BBQ on the Brazos

Pitmaster: John Sanford Sr.
Method: Pecan and oak; wood-burning gas-assisted rotisserie


Oak’d BBQ

Pitmaster: Mike Lane
Method: Post oak; wood-fired rotisserie

Pecan Lodge

Pitmaster: Justin Fourton
Method: Hickory and oak; indirect-heat pit

Eagle Pass

Choche’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Jorge Flores II
Method: Pecan; gas-fired rotisserie

Fort Worth

Derek Allan’s Texas Barbecue

Pitmaster: Derek Allan
Method: Oak; offset smoker

Heim Barbecue

Pitmasters: Tex Alanis, Travis Heim, Jesus Martinez
Method: Oak; indirect-heat pit


Dozier’s BBQ & Meat Market

Pitmaster: Jim Buchanan
Method: Pecan; offset smoker


Meshack’s Bar-Be-Que

Pitmaster: Travis Mayes
Method: Pecan; offset smoker


Treviño’s Craft Smokehouse

Pitmaster: Dustin Treviño
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


Ernie’s Pit Barbeque

Pitmaster: Josh Thomas
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


Kolacny Bar-B-Q

Pitmaster: Ervin Kolacny
Method: Oak; direct-heat pit


Bodacious Bar-B-Q

Pitmaster: Gabriel Ritter
Method: Hickory, pecan, and post oak; offset smoker


Blue Moon BBQ

Pitmaster: Matthew Moon
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit


Avila’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Joe Quintanilla
Method: Oak; direct- and indirect-heat pits


Gatlin’s BBQ

Pitmasters: Greg Gatlin, Michelle Wallace
Method: Hickory and post oak; indirect-heat pit

Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue

Pitmaster: Eudel Hernandez
Method: Mesquite and post oak; brick pit and offset smoker

Roegels Barbecue Co.

Pitmasters: Russell Roegels, Fletcher Sheridan, Alfredo Tapia
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit


Joseph’s Riverport Bar-B-Cue

Pitmaster: Stephen Joseph
Method: White oak; indirect-heat pit



Pitmasters: Austin Lumbley, Nicholas Lumbley
Method: Mesquite; offset smoker


Kreuz Market

Pitmaster: Roy Perez
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


Tom & Bingo’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q

Pitmaster: Ian Timmons
Method: Post oak; brick pit


Wade’s Barbecue

Pitmaster: Wade Barbe
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit and offset smoker


City Market

Pitmaster: Joe Capello
Method: Post oak; gas-fired smoker and indirect-heat pit


Brick Vault Brewery and Barbecue

Pitmaster: Phillip Moellering
Method: Oak; offset smoker


Coastal Que BBQ

Pitmaster: Russell Hicks
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


Pody’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Israel Campos
Method: Mesquite; offset smoker


Smokin’ Moon BBQ & Beer Garden

Pitmaster: Joseph Salinas
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit


Lockhart Smokehouse

Pitmaster: Israel Rodriguez
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit


Harlem Road Texas BBQ

Pitmaster: Ara Malekian
Method: Oak; cabinet smoker

Royse City 

Smoke Sessions Barbecue

Pitmaster: Chad Sessions
Method: Post oak; offset smoker

San Antonio

Smoke Shack

Pitmaster: Jose Cano
Method: Oak; offset smoker

South BBQ & Kitchen

Pitmaster: Andrew Samia
Method: Post oak; offset smoker


Black Board Bar-B-Q

Pitmaster: Jake Gandolfo
Method: Oak; wood-fired rotisserie


Pitforks & Smokerings BBQ

Pitmaster: Isaac Arellano
Method: Oak; offset smoker


Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ

Pitmaster: Bert Bunte
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit

Sulphur Springs

Slaughter’s BBQ Oasis

Pitmaster: David Slaughter
Method: Pecan and oak; offset smoker


Creekside Cookers BBQ and Bar

Pitmaster: Kelly Evers
Method: Pecan; offset smoker

This article originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “The Next 50.” Subscribe today.