BBQ Joint Reviews

The Pit Room

Oct 3, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Brisket, tacos, potato chips, sausage, cherry pie--this place does it all, and does it well.

Top 5 BBQ

Jul 1, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Four years ago, Davetta Greene bought a used barbecue pit for $40. It was a gift for her husband, Kendon. After fried pork chops caused two separate fires in their home kitchen, she thought it was time he moved his cooking outside. He didn’t take to the pitmaster role immediately. “It was…

Pat Gee’s Barbecue

Jun 24, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The hand-painted wooden sign reads “Pat’s Barbecue,” but everybody calls it Pat Gee’s after its late founder, Mack Henry “Pat” Gee, who opened this barbecue shack east of Tyler, deep in the piney woods, sometime around 1963. Pat, his wife Vida, and their seven children lived just up the hill…

One90 Smoked Meats

Jun 17, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

This is not a barbecue joint. As the name suggests, they specialize in smoked meats, which are mostly piled in a sandwich. If you come to One90 Smoked Meats looking for a combo plate with slaw and beans on a plastic tray, prepare to be disappointed. But if you’re happy with…

Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery

Jun 3, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Cary Hodson wanted to bring a brewery to historic downtown Garland. City regulations said he needed food to go along with his craft beers, so he enlisted the aptly named Tex Morgan to bring the barbecue. They made room for an Oyler smoker, and now Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery has…

Zeke’s BBQ

May 31, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Sometimes all it takes to seduce me into a high-mileage gamble on a barbecue joint are a few meat photos on Facebook. Unless you’re taking the circuitous route to nearby Wichita Falls, Windthorst, Texas isn’t really on the way to anywhere. But a mere five-hour round trip from home isn’t a bad investment for…

The Salt Lick: An Appreciation

May 24, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

The image above is probably the most well-known in Texas barbecue. A photo of, or with, the iconic pit at the Salt Lick is on par with braking for our state’s bluebonnets along the highway. This particular photo fetched me nearly 3,000 likes on Instagram. My best image of a Franklin…

Truth Barbeque

May 20, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Last year, Leonard Botello IV decided he wanted to open a barbecue joint. The big hitch in his giddyup? He needed a smoker. He started searching for a workable, used pit, and pretty soon “a Klose pit came up on Craigslist in Cleveland,” he recalled. Ohio, that is, not Texas. According…

Julian’s BBQ

May 6, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

To the people of Corpus Christi, I’m sorry about your barbecue. I tried just about every joint in the city a couple of weeks back, and there wasn’t much good news to report. There was one bright spot, though: Julian’s BBQ. With a black cowboy hat, a black shirt, and a…

King’s Hwy Brew & Q

Apr 29, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Emilio Soliz began his barbecue career in a good spot. As a young man, he was the pitmaster at Two Bros. BBQ Market when they were named to the Texas Monthly Top 50 joints. Soon after, Anthony Bourdain visited and snapped a photo with Soliz—his reputation was on the rise.

Old 300 BBQ

Apr 22, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Even if the 300 migrants first given land grants in Texas didn’t make it to Blanco, Old 300 BBQ is still a good lesson in Texas history. The Hill Country joint is dubbed in honor of those original settlers; their names adorn the walls and modified Texas battle flags are etched into…

Ronnie’s BBQ

Apr 15, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Ronnie Weiershausen is a rare breed. Although most every barbecue joint out there is using an offset smoker or a rotisserie, Weiershausen still prefers the old-fashioned way of burning oak logs down to coals to feed the pits at Ronnie’s BBQ in Johnson City. The smell of fat dripping onto the…

Coach’s Bar-B-Que

Apr 1, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

It was one of those rare times I wasn’t looking just for brisket. The possibility of a well-smoked burger on Coach’s menu was the draw. It reminded me that I’d never had a good one, and this joint just west of Waco might be the breakthrough. Certainly, a patty of smoky…

Back Home BBQ

Mar 25, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Just a few months after opening in early 2015, Dallas’s Back Home BBQ pulled a barbecue mulligan: They shut it down. The already renovated Chinese restaurant got re-renovated. A new patio and sign were installed, and the menu was overhauled. When it reopened last November, pitmaster Carl Anderson began cooking with…

The Witt Pit BBQ

Mar 14, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Randy Witt bet on a cursed location in the small town of Rosenberg for his first restaurant. He had run a successful catering business with his wife, Shauna for sixteen years before jumping into the restaurant business. “This building has been a barbecue joint for thirty years,” Witt told me, but the…

Vincek’s Smokehouse

Mar 4, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Gary Vincek seems to do it all. He doesn’t run a just a barbecue joint, a sausage factory, a meat market, a processing facility, or a bakery. As owner and pitmaster at Vincek’s Smokehouse, he and his crew provide the Southeast Texas town of East Bernard with all of those things.

Mike Anderson’s BBQ House

Feb 19, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Mike Anderson Jr. runs one of the most popular barbecue lunch spots in Dallas, but when he opened it with his dad back in 1982, they really didn’t know what they’d gotten into. “We started it together the week after I got out of high school,” he told me while…

Tons of Fun BBQ

Feb 12, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

A tattered banner hangs on the side of the small building that houses Tons of Fun BBQ. The restaurant sits on a gravel lot along the main drag of Bartlett, a town of just over 2,000 residents that’s midway between Temple and Taylor. Inside there’s just a counter and a cash register. Takeout…

Tejas Chocolate Craftory

Jan 22, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Scott Moore wanted to make tequila, but you can only call it “tequila” if it’s made in Mexico, and there is already plenty of competition on the store shelves. So he settled for chocolate. The availability of good chocolate was a different story in 2011 when Moore and his partner, Michelle Holland,…

Church BBQ

Jan 18, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Out in the Piney Woods of East Texas, a legendary barbecue joint run by the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church has been dishing out classic East Texas-style barbecue since the seventies. Some refer to it as New Zion, after the church it supports next door. Tthers call it “The Church of the…

Blue Moon BBQ

Jan 8, 2016 By Daniel Vaughn

Before I was Barbecue Editor for Texas Monthly for nearly three years, I maintained my own blog, Full Custom Gospel BBQ, and one the last reviews I wrote was for Blue Moon BBQ. The first visit was a good one, and I’ve tried a few follow-ups that were thwarted by my own poor…

The Big Bib BBQ

Dec 18, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s no sign over the door—at least not for now—but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. The Big Bib BBQ and its new attached event space anchor the corner of an aging strip center along Austin Highway in northeast San Antonio. It’s under construction, and the awnings are being replaced, but…

Thorndale Meat Market

Dec 11, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Central Texas was once known for its meat market-style barbecue joints, i.e. meat markets that had a barbecue business on the side. Many of those places are gone, or they have converted into barbecue-only businesses. A few holdouts remain, including one shining example: the Thorndale Meat Market. About an hour northeast of Austin, out on…

18th & Vine Barbeque

Dec 4, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

I’ve never eaten at a restaurant more often before a first review than this one. Including opening night, I’ve enjoyed seven meals at 18th & Vine since they opened the doors in early October. It helps that the restaurant is just fifteen minutes from my house, but it also takes a…

Fatboy’s BBQ

Nov 30, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

In 2009, Shannon Bankston and Heather Hoff opened a barbecue shack back in the tiny Northeast Texas town of Ladonia, population 612. Before long they sought out a bigger audience and moved Fatboy’s BBQ to the next county over, specifically to a roadside stand in Cooper, Texas, population 1,969. Fatboy’s popularity in the…

Desert Oak Barbecue

Nov 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Back in April, I gave El Paso some tough love. I had tried and failed to find good barbecue there, and I wrote about my futile search in an article called “BBQ in Far West Texas? I’ll Paso.” With a headline like that, it’s no surprise that the piece resulted in…

The Smoking Oak

Nov 13, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Until relatively recently, when I heard (and sometimes gave) barbecue recommendations for places located along the edges of Texas, often the tip came with a qualifier: “It’s good for ___.” Fill in the blank with East Texas, The Panhandle, or the Valley. Even our Top 50 BBQ lists had a…

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Nov 6, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

If you’ve traveled down I-35 between Waco and Austin, you’ve probably wondered about Schoepf’s. Red billboards in either direction beckon. The name is noticeable if only for its phonetically challenging spelling (they say it “shuffs”). It might also be in your consciousness if you’re a longtime reader of Texas Monthly, which included…

Winners BBQ

Oct 26, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

De’Andre Jackson never thought he’d be cooking barbecue for a living. As a football star out of Garland, he started for the Big 12’s Iowa State. Entering his senior year, some had him graded as the third best cornerback in college. An ACL-tear toward the end of the season kept…

Heim Barbecue

Oct 16, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

For all chefs, there are moments in their culinary careers that forever shape them. Moments when principles are seared into their brain by mentors, books, or classes only to manifest in their cooking techniques for life. For Travis Heim, owner and pitmaster of Heim Barbecue, in Fort Worth, one of those illuminating experiences came…

Hard Eight BBQ

Oct 12, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Dining at Hard Eight BBQ is as much about experience as it is about the meal. During a recent visit to the original Stephenville location, I lined up with thirty other people, an impressive crowd for 1:00 p.m. on a Friday. Together we stood together facing cord upon cord of neatly piled mesquite and two…

B-Daddy’s BBQ

Oct 2, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The challenges of running a barbecue food truck weren’t lost on B.R. Anderson when he opened B-Daddy’s BBQ, in San Antonio, in 2012. After all, he was the third owner of the trailer he bought, stepping in after the other two gave up on their ventures. But in restaurants, it’s often innovate…

Kolacny Bar-B-Q

Sep 25, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

This barbecue joint does not exist. No, this is not the start of a philosophical argument over what is and isn’t real. What I mean to say is that I thought this category of barbecue joint–“the unknown”–was gone forever. The “unknown” is a place that I would characterize as a “hidden gem,” a restaurant that…

B & D Ice House

Sep 18, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

When Jason and Jake Dady opened Two Bros. BBQ Market, the barbecue joint on San Antonio’s north side of town was met with critical acclaim (including from Texas Monthly, which named it one of the Top 50 in 2013). Pivoting off of this success, the brothers decided to turn their sights…

Pizzitola’s

Sep 11, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Legends in the barbecue world perpetuate themselves. Keeping your doors open for decades takes hard work, loyal customers, and a little luck, and it doesn’t happen that often. In return, such barbecue joints are worshiped for their longevity, and rightly so. It’s a huge benefit, but it also comes with…