BBQ Joint Reviews

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…

Naaman Championship BBQ

Aug 15, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Darby Neaves wanted to be included in the page of Texas Monthly, and he knew that wouldn’t happen with a food truck set up in Arkansas, even if it was just ten miles north of the Red River in Ashdown. It was still worrisome moving his business into the city, but…

FM Smoke House

Aug 8, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

FM Smoke House began with sous vide brisket and bacon grease injections. The owners of Holy Grail Pub in Plano had some success with inventive barbecue items at their weekend “Smoke Out” barbecue events, so they brought some of those ideas along when they branched out last year into Irving…

Mad Jack’s BBQ Shack

Aug 1, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

A pulled pork sandwich with slaw and sauce in between a honey bun and served in a Styrofoam container – it doesn’t get much further from the barbecue you’d expect to get in Lockhart, Texas. That’s precisely why Mad Jack’s BBQ Shack has been successful over the past year. Instead of trying…

Schmidt Family Barbecue

Jul 25, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

When Schmidt Family Barbecue opened late last year it was billed as a taste of Lockhart, without having to drive to Lockhart. Two of the most famous barbecue joints in the state, Kreuz Market and Smitty’s, had put aside their differences. In a show of family unity, they partnered and…

Killen’s Barbecue

Jul 18, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

“The Best Barbecue, Period.” That’s the motto Ronnie Killen has printed on the shirts that he and his staff wear, putting a daily target on every one of their backs. Making that declaration even after a good run of success toes the line between confidence and arrogance, but Killen had them…

Clark’s Outpost

Jul 11, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

In 1974 Warren Clark opened a little barbecue shack in Tioga, Texas, and it didn’t take long before it became the darling of food critics, chefs and celebrities. In 1989, Alan Richman, then writing for People, claimed “Clark produces the best barbecue in Texas, which is something to brag about.” Dallas…

Kerlin BBQ

Jul 1, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Kerlin BBQ isn’t yet a year old, making it one of the youngest barbecue joints in Austin to be mentioned with the big names. Owner and pitmaster Bill Kerlin is also pretty new to the craft of smoking meat. “I never cooked a brisket until I moved to…

Hinze’s BBQ

Jun 24, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Nothing about Hinze’s BBQ in Sealy says trendy. It’s situated a half block from I-10, and right next to a Whataburger. Just like that Whataburger, Hinze’s has a drive-thru stacked with vehicles. There were so many cars that I went inside to find their massive menu displayed on…

Brown’s Bar-B-Que

Jun 17, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Brown’s Bar-B-Que has one of the best briskets in Austin, and one of the best side items in Texas. When I visited a year ago (at their previous location) I found the brisket to be the weak link, but no longer. Pitmaster Daniel Brown has found the sweet spot in his…

Hickory House Bar-B-Que

Jun 10, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Johnny Doyle cooks on a gas-rotisserie, but he’d do it differently if he could. He takes pride in the barbecue he puts out in his nearly forty year old Denison restaurant, so when he had pit fire that destroyed his Oylers, he wanted to replace them. “[J&R Manufacturing] told me…

Perk’s Bar-B-Que

Jun 3, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Melissa Perkins grew up in Colbert, Oklahoma just across the Red River from Texas around the same time that the legendary PO Sam had his barbecue joint along Franklin Street in Colbert. A friend of hers worked at the barbecue joint, so when she took her friend to PO…

Bubba Moses Pit BBQ

May 27, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Chances are you won’t just happen upon Bubba Moses Pit BBQ in Dawson. The tiny town is along State Highway 31 between Corsicana and Waco. Even if you’ve driven that route, a well-timed sneeze might cause you to miss Dawson entirely. If you’re alert, look for the steady mesquite smoke that rises…

Mack’s Split Rail Bar-B-Que

May 20, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

In Wyatt McSpadden’s book Texas BBQ from 2009 there are two evocative early-morning photos of the tall smokestack at Mack’s Split Rail Bar-B-Que in Mineola. Other than these photos, I hadn’t seen or heard much about the place and wondered if maybe it had closed. On a trip to Tyler…

Ed’s Smok-N-Q

May 13, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

A accolade from two years back brought me to this renovated Sonic on the east side of San Antonio. A local media outlet (I don’t recall which one) wrote that Ed’s Smok-N-Q served the best brisket in the city. That claim in San Antonio doesn’t carry quite the weight as the same…

Hot Spot BBQ

May 6, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

I was looking for a jerk chicken restaurant just south of the Trinity University campus in San Antonio when I drove past a brightly painted converted service station. I hadn’t planned on visiting Hot Spot BBQ that day, but when the jerk chicken shack was locked down tight, I made…

KB’s BBQ

Apr 29, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

This review comes from Texas Monthly’s Food Editor Pat Sharpe who found this little barbecue trailer during her travels through Victoria. The first sign that today was not my day was when I screeched up in front of Kevin Broll’s barbecue truck a mere nine minutes before closing time—that was…

4-T’s Bar-B-Q

Apr 22, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

For weeks 4-T’s Bar-B-Q courted me via Twitter. They would regularly send out photos of their brisket or of the Friday-only burnt ends. All of this was with the intent of getting me to drive the twenty minutes east of Dallas to try their barbecue in Forney. When I finally…

Post Mountain BBQ

Apr 15, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Post Mountain BBQ is in a tough spot. This tiny barbecue joint has its back to busy Highway 281 that bisects Burnet, and it’s a half block off the town square. Unless your keen eye picks up the small sign hanging out front that reads “BBQ,” you’d probably miss it,…

Payne’s Bar-B-Q Shak

Apr 8, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Robert Payne has worked as a butcher in the past, and more recently for the Butter Krust bread bakery. His wife, Penny, was also in food service at a local school cafeteria. Three years ago, they both decided to retire and open up a barbecue joint in Burnet. They chose…

Billy’s Oak Acres Bar-B-Q

Apr 1, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

On my first visit back in October, I thought that Billy Woodrich of Billy’s Oak Acres was smoking the best brisket in Fort Worth. It was smoky, moist, and perfectly tender showing some real skill from whoever was tending the pit. Since then, my opinion has wandered back and forth…

Matus Pit Bar-B-Q

Mar 25, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

It was Saturday morning and I had snuck away briefly from a conference I was attending to check on a barbecue lead in Caldwell. My web searches brought up none of the details of the joint. From searching on Google’s street viewer I found the building and a couple of…

Petty’s BBQ

Mar 18, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

My visit to Petty’s BBQ was just a stop out of convenience. I came to Killeen to eat at another barbecue joint up the street. Big LL’s BBQ opened earlier this year just a mile away from Petty’s, and in a news story the owner announced “I don’t have…

Hwy 29 BBQ

Mar 11, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

This stone covered building along Highway 29 in Bertram was once home to barbecue royalty. Bertram Smokehouse had a place in Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ joints in 2008. Then they moved into a bigger building across the tracks and soon folded. Tin Star BBQ also came and went a…

Pit-Stop Bar-B-Q

Mar 4, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

The joint’s not big. There are just a few tables, and most customers take their order to go. Behind the small counter is Kim Dunn who opened this place four years ago after moving from nearby Belton. As someone who seems to genuinely enjoy her job, there’s a good chance…

Mexican/Canadian BBQ

Mar 3, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Carne a la Lena “Meat from a Wood Fire” I was on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I should have been looking for local seafood or hidden gem taquerias, but it was a sign that read “BBQ” that caught my eye during the cab ride from the airport to…

The Cattle Exchange

Feb 25, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Canadian, Texas is out there. In the already secluded Texas Panhandle, it stands alone anchoring the northeast corner. Amarillo is over a hundred miles away, and the next town of any consequence is two hundred miles east in Oklahoma City. With so little to visit nearby, Canadian has…

Spicy Mike’s Bar-B-Q Haven

Feb 18, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Mike Havens was done being an electrician. He had a lot more fun making barbecue for his crew, so he got a bigger smoker. That steel offset smoker sits out front by the road, but it’s mainly for show unless Havens has a catering gig. The workhouse now is a…

Pickles BBQ & Icehouse

Feb 11, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

I saw a flight of “flavor infused” pickles on the menu, and I was immediately powerless. I had to order them. I was dining alone during lunch at this sports bar/live music venue/barbecue joint hybrid in a suburb north of Fort Worth. Olympics curling was on the television in my…

Virdinski’s Rub Shack

Feb 4, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Amarillo can be a tough place for barbecue purists. Chris Virden is trying hard to make good barbecue at the three-month old Virdinski’s, but he can’t always make it the way he’d like to. In addition to his dozen years working for a local steakhouse, Virden is also a serious…

Gas Monkey Bar and Grill

Jan 28, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

At four month old Gas Monkey Bar and Grill, I thought I was walking into a made for T.V. joke where barbecue was going to be the punch line. Muscle car makeover maestro Richard Ray Rawlings started in the business world with an advertising and printing firm in Dallas. He…

Delysia/Salt Lick Truffles

Jan 27, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

A few years ago a group of barbecue aficionados met up for a pow-wow at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. We wanted to share stories and some great smoked meats, and one of the attendees brought in some contraband dessert. It was homemade ice cream made with Dr Pepper flavored…

DBQ

Jan 21, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

Editor’s note: The name of this joint has been changed to DBQ since this article was published. Kyle Lewallen started his barbecue catering company while still a junior at Texas A&M. A few years later he bought a food trailer and parked it just a block away from campus. He…

Lenox Bar-B-Q

Jan 14, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

I walked through the front door, or at least I thought it was the front door. I was part way through it, when I turned around to walk back into the parking lot to make sure. It was definitely the front of the building, and this was the only door,…

City Market (Schulenburg)

Jan 7, 2014 By Daniel Vaughn

If I had it my way, City Market in Schulenburg would have a warning sign on their barbecue menu: “Pit in use only on Saturday, microwaves the rest of the week.” You see, first and foremost this is a meat market. Making sausage (including weiners) is their biggest business, on…

Rio Grande Grill

Dec 23, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

For a small joint, there are plenty of cooks in this kitchen. Daniel Wright is the pitmaster, his wife Stefania Trimboli-Wright is the chef, her sous chef is Roque Luis Peña, and they even have a pastry chef – Drew Mann. They all have their specialty, but as a group they’ve…

Curly’s Carolina, TX Barbeque

Dec 17, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

John Brotherton and Jay Yates seemed headed in different directions in the barbecue business until they found a way to work together. Both started with their own food trucks. John ran Hall of Flame BBQ in Pflugerville, but it closed earlier this year. Jay was successful enough with…

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Dec 10, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

My first trip to Valentina’s was on a whim. I stopped at the trailer behind the Star Bar on Sixth Street in Austin on my way out of town. A friend was writing a story on taco variations, and I thought I might be able to add a novelty to…

Shorty’s BBQ

Nov 26, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

A reader forwarded me this note comparing Shorty’s BBQ to Pecan Lodge in Dallas. “At Shorty’s, you don’t have to wait and they don’t run out of food, AND the beef is just as good.” I’d seen the prominent signs for Shorty’s on Highway 80 east of Dallas*, but this…

Cattleack BBQ

Nov 19, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Along Alpha Road you’ll pass a few furniture stores, a discount mattress outlet and a block or two of banal single-story retail buildings. When you turn north on Gamma Road you’ll think for sure that you’re in the wrong neighborhood, but look for the sidewalk signs advertising BBQ. There will…

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue

Nov 12, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue has been smoking meats in Dallas for forty years. I recently sat down with owner Al Plaskoff to discuss a little Dallas barbecue history, and to learn where Big Al’s fits into the local story. It’s quite a legacy. There aren’t many restaurants of…

American Smoke

Nov 11, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

“This is my crack habit right here.” That’s how Tom Bera of the Philly Blind Pig BBQ team describes competition barbecue in a new documentary, American Smoke. Bera’s comparison is not only a comment on how addictive the competitions are and the high of winning one, but he’s also…

Billy’s Pit Bar-B-Q

Nov 5, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

On his 1994 album Gringo Honeymoon, Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen recorded a song entitled “Barbeque.” It has become the anthem for many of my smoked meat adventures along with most every other REK song. When I had a chance meeting with he and Lyle Lovett at the…

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Oct 29, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

There’s a trailer in East Austin that is creating a new target for what it means to be a complete barbecue joint. Micklethwait Craft Meats not only serves great smoked meats, they also bake their own bread and desserts, all the sides and sauce are homemade, and they start with…

What’s the Rub?

Oct 28, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Salt and pepper is a good start to any barbecue rub, but most on the market go well beyond that. The many labels on store shelves show the infinite combinations of paprika, sugar, garlic powder and anything else from the spice aisle that manufacturers believe will make their rub stand…

Larrie’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Oct 22, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

If you live in Austin, chances are you wouldn’t pass by Larrie’s Smokehouse in Bastrop. Billy’s, Cartwright’s and Fittie’s along busy four-lane Highway 71 may be familiar, but Larrie’s sits on the north side of town along tree-lined Highway 95. Coming south from Elgin the sign is hard to miss.

R&G Bar-B-Que

Oct 15, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

Roy Jeffrey started working at City Market in Luling when he was ten. He then took that sauce and sausage recipe to Houston where he opened Luling City Market with a couple of business partners in 1981. He tired of the city life after a decade as the pitmaster there,…

Baker’s Ribs – Weatherford

Oct 8, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

It’s a long drive from Deep Ellum to Weatherford, but repeated pleas from the owner of this Baker’s Ribs west of Fort Worth had convinced me that they were doing something a little different than their forebearers in Dallas. The owners posted photos of hormone-free, antibiotic-free briskets they’re using from…

Sean’s Mesquite Pit BBQ

Oct 1, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

I’d seen this joint from the highway a couple of times, and I finally took the giant Texas U-turn required to visit. If you’re headed north on US Highway 287 through Decatur you’ll need to exit at US Highway 380 and go around a couple of cloverleaf ramps to get…

Blue Ox Barbecue

Sep 24, 2013 By Daniel Vaughn

The rise of Austin’s barbecue culture has been led by food trailers. The mighty trio of John Mueller Meat Co., la Barbecue, and Franklin Barbecue (which began as a food trailer) lead the local scene and have made patrons all too familiar with the “Sold Out” sign. These joints all…