BBQ Joint Reviews

Quality Packers Smokehouse

Sep 4, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

When I first saw the website for the Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail, I thought it was some sort of chamber of commerce brain child meant to pump up some mediocre local businesses. Mumphord’s Place in Victoria and McMillans in Fannin were both good enough to make our latest Top 50…

Swinging Door

Aug 28, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Big cities in Texas all seem to have a beloved barbecue retreat outside of town. It’s a joint far enough away that you really need to leave the city to get there. For Dallas it is Clark’s Outpost in Tioga, San Antonio has the original Rudy’s BBQ in Leon Springs, Austin…

Southern Q BBQ

Aug 21, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s a little red building with yellow trim along Kuykendahl Road on the north side of Houston. The fresh coat of paint is hard not to notice even while speeding along, and inside is some of the city’s best and most thoughtful barbecue. For Steve and Sherice Garner, this building has been a…

Kreuz Market (Bryan)

Aug 14, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s hard to replicate a legend, but that’s what Keith Schmidt is tasked with at the new Kreuz Market in Bryan. Keith bought the business from his father Rick in 2011, and he’s shepherding it through their first true expansion since the business first opened in 1900. The Schmidt…

Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Longview)

Aug 12, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

I’ve tried to eat at the original Bodacious Bar-B-Q in Longview for years. The first time I struck out because I didn’t realize they were only open three days a week. The next try they were on vacation, and another time there just wasn’t anyone there. I learned later that…

Not Just Q

Jul 31, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Eric Hansen has been passionate about barbecue for years, but his new barbecue food truck, Not Just Q, started smoking last April. If Hansen’s name is familiar, it might be because it was included in most every announcement relating to the Slow Bone’s opening in Dallas. His stint as the pitmaster there…

Mudd’s Good Eatin’

Jul 27, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Chad Mudd came back to Krum to open a family-style home cooking restaurant. Then, a barbecue joint happened. It started this January when he reopened in the same space his previous restaurant occupied in the downtown strip of Krum some fifteen years ago. It started off as all chicken fried…

Smokey Denmark’s Smoked Meat

Jul 17, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Smokey Denmark’s has been known for making sausage in Austin for decades. Even up in North Texas, if you ask a barbecue joint where their hot links are from you’ll likely hear “Smokey Denmark.” While they have a storefront at their facility on East 5th Street, links from…

Jackson Street BBQ

Jul 10, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s big, it’s bright red, and Jackson Street BBQ is a great new option for Texas barbecue in downtown Houston. Opened earlier this year, it’s a joint venture between Houston chef Bryan Caswell and local pitmaster Greg Gatlin. The two joined forces on a menu with plenty of variety, and…

Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque

Jul 3, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The transition from competition barbecue to commercial barbecue can be challenging. Restaurateurs generally have to cook more than once a week, there’s more meat to smoke, and a lot more people need to be pleased than one table of judges. In my experience, shelves full of competition trophies don’t often translate…

The Sausage Shoppe

Jun 26, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was twenty years ago that Ivy Chambers moved his budding sausage business out of his home and into a bona fide restaurant in Fort Worth. Over the years he added more barbecue items to the menu – brisket, ribs, bologna – and continued to operate the business until handing…

Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ

Jun 12, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

In a renovated gas station that looks more like a former Blockbuster with a colorful sign that evokes Baskin Robbins, sits Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ. It opened last year along a widened El Dorado Parkway on the east side of Lake Dallas where suburbia has overtaken anything resembling lake-related…

Sammy’s BBQ

Jun 5, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Until this week, I had never enjoyed a great bite of barbecue at Sammy’s BBQ in Uptown Dallas. I used to work in the neighborhood when I had a desk job, but Sammy’s was a lunch option only if somebody else was choosing. I had become a barbecue snob, and I…

Eddie Deen’s BBQ

May 29, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

East of Dallas, there’s a twenty mile stretch of Highway 205 that connects Rockwall and Terrell. Right in the middle is a converted barn, complete with a grain silo, that houses Eddie Deen’s BBQ. You might know that name because you’ve had a catered meal at the Eddie Deen Ranch…

The Shack Bar-B-Q

May 22, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

If I had visited The Shack Bar-B-Q six months ago, I would have easily called it Lubbock’s best barbecue. Nowadays the once bare barbecue market in town is suddenly crowded with the addition of The Shack and nearby Evie Mae’s Barbecue, a three-month-old trailer that is one of the best new barbecue…

The BBQ Shop

May 15, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The smell of manure hit me when I broke the seal of the rental car door in Farwell, Texas. Just a mile and a half south of town is a sprawling cattle feedlot, and traveling the ninety minutes from Amarillo I drove through towns like Bovina and Hereford. Just by the names you now…

Evie Mae’s Barbecue

May 8, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The best barbecue in Lubbock is in Wolfforth, Texas. That might be news to you even if you’re a student at Tech because Arnis and Mallory Robbins just opened their trailer doors three months ago. After a stint with a landscaping company in Tucson, they decided to come back to…

Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Marshall)

May 1, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Popular restaurants all over the world have signature dishes, some even have just one item that makes them a dining destination. You go to Katz’s Deli in New York for pastrami, Mary’s Cafe in Strawn, Texas for chicken fried steak, and nobody complains about the fish at House of Prime Rib in…

El Machito

Apr 27, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Restaurateurs dismissing the use of all wood cookers saying “the city won’t let us cook with wood” no longer have an excuse, at least not in San Antonio. Just beyond a low counter that they call the altar at El Machete, there’s a crackling mesquite fire, the flickers of which you…

Pioneer BBQ

Apr 22, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Pioneer BBQ has been around a while in the middle of Nixon, a town about an hour southeast of San Antonio. It was operated by the Chambers Brothers out of Luling, then a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses who eventually put the business up for sale on Craigslist. That’s where Shawn…

Smoke Shack BBQ

Apr 17, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Three years ago I ate some promising barbecue from a food truck in the shadow of I-410 in San Antonio. Chris Conger was doing it all that day inside what was called Conger’s Smoke Shack, cooking, slicing, and making change. Last year he had stowed away enough change to make the…

Smokin’ Guns BBQ

Apr 10, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

With the rising cost of meat, specifically beef brisket, inexpensive barbecue is becoming rare today. It’s especially difficult to find a decent version of it. Finding $20 per pound brisket isn’t a challenge in Austin, Dallas, and Pearland, but that doesn’t fly in Corsicana. At…

Chuck’s Bar-B-Q and Burgers

Mar 27, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

“The good smell in Evadale” is the tag line painted on a wooden fence beside Chuck’s Bar-B-Q and Burgers which sits about thirty minutes north of Beaumont. Folks say the local paper mill produces a stench, and the smoke from owner Chuck Howard’s pit is sometimes the only relief. I…

Gerard’s Barbecue

Mar 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

George Gerard didn’t have much time for adjustment to running a barbecue joint. He had planned to leave behind the family business for a life as an electrician in Austin, but his parents pleaded with him to come back home to Beaumont. He relented and a short time later, his…

Off the Bone Barbeque

Mar 6, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s not exactly new, it’s not flashy, and it’s not dogmatic about the barbecue style it serves, but Off the Bone Barbeque in Dallas’s Cedars neighborhood is just good. Dwight Harvey has run this joint in a converted gas station with his son Steven since 2008. It was a scheme to…

BBQ Godfather

Feb 27, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Spring, Texas is evidently large enough for more than one great food truck. This town of 50,000 just north of Houston has been home to Corkscrew BBQ, a Texas Monthly Top 50 selection, since 2011. Now, just five minutes east is a new food truck park where BBQ Godfather sits…

Meat U Anywhere BBQ

Feb 20, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

The valet stand just outside the front door of Meat U Anywhere BBQ is a unique barbecue joint amenity. It might seem out of place for this type of restaurant, but owner Andy Sedino has his reasons. When he opened this joint late last year he saw it as a side…

Loco Coyote Grill

Feb 13, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Finding a road trip stop with real character always feels like an accomplishment. Highway exits are so often populated with nothing but mini marts and golden arches, it’s hard to find something unique. That’s a quality you’ll certainly find at the Loco Coyote Grill, and long as you see the…

Clark Food & Wine Co.

Feb 6, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s only fifteen percent of a wandering menu, but the listings under “New Texas Smokehouse” at Clark Food & Wine in Dallas begged for a visit. It’s a chic new restaurant on Lower Greenville, a neighborhood that has been amping up its restaurant game of late. The meat-centric Blind Butcher…

Nutter Buster BBQ

Jan 30, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

Lindsey Nutter and Brian “Buster” Rauschuber operate Nutter Buster BBQ from a trailer in a small dirt patch of a food truck park near 290 and MoPac in Austin. They sat in relative obscurity in Manchaca south of Austin for a year and a half, but a few months ago they scooted…

Chuck’s Country Smoke House

Jan 23, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

If it weren’t for the big, red sign that reads “BBQ” out along FM 1970, I’d probably have passed Chuck’s Smoke House. It’s a few miles southwest of Carthage in East Texas, near the shores of Lake Murvaul. A metal bull mounted to the roof and hand painted lettering on…

Terry Black’s Barbecue

Jan 16, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was big news when the Austin American Statesman announced fourteen months ago that Black’s Barbecue was opening an Austin branch. It looked like the Black barbecue family from Lockhart was expanding. Running the place would be twins Michael and Mark Black, nephews of Kent Black who manages…

Hickory Hill BBQ

Jan 9, 2015 By Daniel Vaughn

It was a phone call that brought me back out to Hickory Hill BBQ. It sits along a stretch of State Highway 31, right on the western edge of the East Texas pine curtain. I’d driven by it a few times, but always found it closed, then owner Kerry Shaw…

Specht’s Store

Dec 19, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

In 1908, German immigrant William Specht bought some property outside Bulverde, Texas, about twenty miles north of San Antonio. He took over the operation of an existing store, and by the early twenties erected a building that, according to the Bulverde Standard, was originally a dance hall. Being…

Stillwater Barbeque

Dec 12, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

With a history formed by ranching and railroads, Abilene sounds like a city destined to have good brisket. It was founded in 1883 after cattle ranchers and land speculators convinced the railroad to swing north of former county seat Buffalo Gap, and a new city was born. After the…

Triple J’s Smokehouse

Dec 5, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

The smokers were everywhere. Co-owner Rhonda Scales had led me through a swinging door into the kitchen where a hulking rotisserie pit was churning with tomorrow’s briskets. “We use all oak,” she told me as we walked out the back door. Split oak logs were piled around two more trailer-mounted…

Baker’s Ribs – Houston

Nov 21, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Two weeks after this review ran, Russell Roegels ended his franchise agreement with Baker’s Ribs and rebranded the business as Roegels Barbecue Co.  Great barbecue at a chain restaurant? I was skeptical to say the least, but in Houston I stopped at the lone Baker’s Ribs location in…

Bet The House BBQ

Nov 14, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Shawn Eagle and Cody Smithers opened a Denton barbecue joint in a strip mall with $5,000 from a Kickstarter campaign and a big dream. A week into running the business they shared with the local paper the desire to make the Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue list. Five months…

Mesquite Wood Bar-B-Q

Nov 7, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

I’d like to be able to say more about Mesquite Wood Bar-B-Q, but the items available from the smoker the day I stopped in didn’t allow for it. I stood perusing the menu on the small porch at the ordering window that faces Drake Street. A few blocks south the county…

Ten 50 BBQ

Oct 31, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Larry Lavine has been an accomplished restaurateur in Dallas for decades, but he’s best known for founding the Chili’s chain in the seventies. He sold the business thirty years ago, even before baby back ribs ever made it to the menu, and now he’s in the brisket game. After plenty of…

Avondale Station BBQ

Oct 24, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

I didn’t go looking for a barbecue theme as I drove around the rural roads northwest of Fort Worth, but I found plenty. It seems in the Azle/Rhome/Haslet part of the state that a barbecue joint can’t operate unless it has hand-cut fries (five out of five that I visited)…

Come & Take It BBQ

Oct 17, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Good barbecue in West Texas is about as common as an oak tree west of the Pecos River. Consequently, it was a revelation when we found Pody’s BBQ in Pecos a couple years back. When I first visited Pody’s back in 2012 it was brand new. A search…

The Wooden Spoke

Oct 10, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

You’ve probably didn’t know there is an Oklahoma, Texas, but that’s where you’ll find The Wooden Spoke on a corner gravel lot along FM Road 2978. It’s officially in Magnolia, but the Oklahoma Cemetery and the Oklahoma Community Center are just a block away. Despite that, owner and…

Florida’s Kitchen

Oct 3, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s just a mile or so off 190, the state highway that runs through Livingston, but Florida’s Kitchen feels like it’s way out in the country. I passed it on my way to visit Hitch-N-Post BBQ, a Texas Monthly top 5o barbecue joint, just another mile down the…

Texas Smoke BBQ Co.

Sep 26, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s something homey about a meal at Texas Smoke BBQ Co. in downtown Sanger. Owner and pitmaster Jay Coin prepares the barbecue plates back in the kitchen while his wife, Mindy, works the front of the house. They work together on the popular smoked meatloaf, and a table full of…

Double G Pit Stop

Sep 19, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Just outside of downtown San Saba is Double G Pit Stop, a combination drive-thru beer barn and barbecue joint. You can get a drink any day, but for barbecue you’ll have to wait until the weekend. Owner and pitmaster Bobby Galindo only fires up the pits on Saturdays and Sundays, and…

David’s Barbecue

Sep 12, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

When I took the first bite from the towering chopped brisket sandwich at David’s Barbecue in Pantego, I thought this must be what Sonny Bryan’s used to taste like when it made it on everyone’s “best of” barbecue lists. You see, owner and pitmaster Jimmy Harris is part of the…

Southside BBQ

Sep 5, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Cherokee sits in between San Saba and Llano in the Texas Hill Country. There aren’t many dining options in this town of a hundred seventy-five. A gas station has ready-made pizzas and there’s Southside BBQ on the weekends. Alva Zulauf and his wife Chris have operated a barbecue catering company…

Heavy’s Outdoor Bar-B-Que

Aug 29, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

The fire burns brightly in a brick pit out front of Heavy’s in Hondo. It’s a hulking brick pit built by the McBee family back when they opened this barbecue joint, and it’s prominent location on the front corner of the building, along with the smoke that pours out of…

Ray’s BBQ Shack

Aug 22, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

In a gas station just south of the University of Houston campus you’ll find some of the best fried catfish you’ll ever eat and some great barbecue to go along with it. The barbecue comes from the experienced hands of co-owner Ray Busch who has been serving smoked meat to the…