BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (Llano)

The horror! Our first pass through the Hill Country’s most renowned barbecue joint was utterly disappointing. The pork ribs were tough, the sausage was bland, and the fatty brisket was downright chewy. Even the sides were lackluster. Still, no one seemed to mind; the place was packed on a weekday…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Casstevens Cash & Carry

Though several tables have been added since we last wrote about this obscure gem at a Diamond Shamrock station (there’s no sign outside to advertise the unbelievably good ’cue within), it’s still hard to snag a seat at Casstevens. The reason? Mesquite-smoked meats, including thick hunks of brisket that are…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Big Daddy’s Roadhouse BBQ

Big Daddy’s prides itself on being biker-friendly, but it’s really just friendly. The first time we visited (anonymously, of course) the server insisted on putting extra meat on our plates so that our party could try a bit of everything. We came away with a profound respect for the moist,…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Country Tavern

The prettiest ribs in the region come steaming out of the Country Tavern’s enormously efficient kitchen, and the brisket’s good too. A dark-red sauce gives the hickory-smoked meats a sweet East Texas edge. The big, bustling place is like a cave tarted up with neon, but the waitresses have a…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Buzzie’s Bar-B-Que

This clean, bright establishment in downtown Kerrville didn’t look seasoned enough to produce a brisket that had much character. But from the first bite, we felt humbled to be in its presence. The meat was juicy and packed with oak flavor, and its marbled edges were as soft as warm…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

New Zion Bar-B-Q

For more than 30 years, holy smoke has wafted from ancient black pits in front of this rickety, low-slung hall next door to the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church. The provender that emerges from the glowing embers (mostly oak, with a little hickory and pecan mixed in) has funded congregational…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

Three-plus years ago, Adrian Handsborough converted the neighborhood convenience store his mom, Virgie, ran for 35 years and began cooking over oak and pecan in two small barrels. His brisket, only a tad fatty, smokes for ten to fourteen hours; we could cut ours with a plastic fork. Well-seasoned pork…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Vincek’s Smokehouse

The deer-processing guidelines and Future Farmers of America trophies make one thing clear: Vincek’s loves meat. The brisket, pork ribs, and sausage verified the impression. In a sense, so did the irrelevant, too-sweet sauce. Arrive before noon for homemade bread and kolaches. Stay late for conversation with the regulars.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Austin’s BBQ and Catering

This converted gas station, its service bays occupied by two portable cast-iron pits, immediately filled our tanks with pecan-smoked brisket and tender pepper-crusted pork ribs. The fresh coleslaw made up for a tomatoey sauce better suited to pasta. We ignored the five chain-link-enclosed picnic tables and ate by the car—whose…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

McMillan’s Bar-B-Q

The secret? “Love,” says Louis McMillan, the owner of this six-table outpost in this tiny town, just west of Victoria. Corny, sure, but that love—along with sixteen-plus hours over an oak-pecan-mesquite mix—turns out moist, tender brisket and fat little baby back ribs that are nicely charred on the outside and…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Bubba’s Bar-B-Que

Twenty minutes after opening, the wood-paneled dining room was already filling up with patrons. The hickory-smoked ribs were so good we ate everything that wasn’t bone . . . and kept the bones for marrow-sucking. Sides vary daily, but don’t miss the crisp coleslaw mixed with just enough mayonnaise and…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Coleman’s BBQ

Northeast Texas may be populated with more pine trees than people, but at three in the afternoon, this small shack, located about a quarter mile off Main Street, was brimming with locals ordering the hickory-smoked brisket, served in a broth of beef juices and savory barbecue sauce. The crackly crust…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

The moment we entered the smoke-filled patio and beheld the meats-a-plenty (brisket, chicken, pork ribs, pork chops, sausage, sirloin, turkey breast, and venison sausage), we knew we were in business. The pitman was patient as we made our exacting selections, then—plop, joy: the tenderest of briskets, the thickest of pork…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2008

Mann’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Owner Jim Mann and his jovial staff served us fatty brisket, pork ribs, and pulled pork that offered a surplus of smokiness and juice. (The salty sauce worked well with the loin.) Jim’s wife, Sallie, makes sides from Southern family recipes. Her black-eyed peas, lima beans, and cornbread perfectly accompanied…