BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 20, 2016

Truth Barbeque

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 6, 2016

Julian’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 29, 2016

King’s Hwy Brew & Q

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.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 22, 2016

Old 300 BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 15, 2016

Ronnie’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 1, 2016

Coach’s Bar-B-Que

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 25, 2016

Back Home BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 14, 2016

The Witt Pit BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 4, 2016

Vincek’s Smokehouse

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.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 19, 2016

Mike Anderson’s BBQ House

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 12, 2016

Tons of Fun BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 22, 2016

Tejas Chocolate Craftory

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,…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 18, 2016

Church BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 8, 2016

Blue Moon BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 18, 2015

The Big Bib BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 11, 2015

Thorndale Meat Market

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 4, 2015

18th & Vine Barbeque

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 30, 2015

Fatboy’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 20, 2015

Desert Oak Barbecue

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 13, 2015

The Smoking Oak

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 6, 2015

Schoepf’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 26, 2015

Winners BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 16, 2015

Heim Barbecue

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 12, 2015

Hard Eight BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 2, 2015

B-Daddy’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 25, 2015

Kolacny Bar-B-Q

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 18, 2015

B & D Ice House

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 11, 2015

Pizzitola’s

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 4, 2015

Quality Packers Smokehouse

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 28, 2015

Swinging Door

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 21, 2015

Southern Q BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 14, 2015

Kreuz Market (Bryan)

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 12, 2015

Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Longview)

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 31, 2015

Not Just Q

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 27, 2015

Mudd’s Good Eatin’

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 17, 2015

Smokey Denmark’s Smoked Meat

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 Fifth Street,…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 10, 2015

Jackson Street BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 3, 2015

Pappa Charlie’s Barbeque

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 26, 2015

The Sausage Shoppe

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 12, 2015

Big Daddy’s Ribs & BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 5, 2015

Sammy’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 29, 2015

Eddie Deen’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 22, 2015

The Shack Bar-B-Q

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2015

The BBQ Shop

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 8, 2015

Evie Mae’s Barbecue

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 1, 2015

Bodacious Bar-B-Q (Marshall)

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 27, 2015

El Machito

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 22, 2015

Pioneer BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 17, 2015

Smoke Shack BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
April 10, 2015

Smokin’ Guns BBQ

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…