BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 3, 2013

Nathan’s BBQ

State Highway 290 runs right through the middle of Brenham, Texas, a town know more for ice cream than smoked meats. Its location makes it a perfect mid-point stop for road trips between Houston and Austin. Living in Dallas I don’t travel this route much so I made a point

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 27, 2013

Harris Bar-B-Que

If you’re headed south on Highway 77 you won’t see the sign for Harris Bar-B-Que, but it doesn’t matter. A huge, black offset smoker will likely be blowing smoke across the road just south of downtown Waxahachie. Kelvin Harris used this smoker when he was darting around Cedar Hill and

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 20, 2013

Smolik’s Smokehouse

Always seeking a route away from the interstate, I found myself driving the back way into Mathis, Texas on FM 666. When I saw that the state had failed to skip that number when naming farm-to-market roads I just had to take it. It was a humorous detour until I

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 13, 2013

Raymond’s Pit Bar-B-Q

Update: This joint is permanently CLOSED.2013: A meat cutter stood next to a cutting block loaded with smoked meat. It was all illuminated by a heat lamp. This was where the cafeteria line commenced. A plate was stacked with sliced brisket, pork ribs and warm, buttered Texas toast. I placed

BBQ Joint Reviews |
August 6, 2013

Jambo’s BBQ Shack

Since 1989 Jamie Geer has been manufacturing barbecue pits for his company Jambo Pits. These days, many of the smokers that come out of his welding shop in Burleson are destined for the competition circuit. You can find the shiny custom paint jobs of famous barbecue competitors

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 30, 2013

BBQ on the Brazos

Driving southwest out of Fort Worth along Highway 377 you get out into the country pretty quickly. In just fifteen minutes you’ll be in Cresson which until now was best known for a country club for sports car enthusiasts called Motorsport Ranch. About the only thing between

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 23, 2013

Freedmen’s

Evan LeRoy has come a long way from New York. He worked for a while at Hill Country Barbecue in Manhattan before making his way to Austin. That’s a long way to come so you can cook in the back of a bar, but it’s not any

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 16, 2013

Hannah’s BBQ

Driving around the south side of Lake Texoma, I was in search of the Shawnee Trail. It’s an old cattle trail that crossed the Red River about five miles west of where Highway 75 crosses it now just north of Denison. The cattle trail followed an even older

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 9, 2013

Coleman’s Bar-B-Q

It’s a long drive out to Clarksville from Dallas. It was a sunny Thursday and I had called in sick at work. The deadline for my barbecue assignment was looming and I hadn’t yet come on board as the barbecue editor. A few members of the barbecue tasting

BBQ Joint Reviews |
July 2, 2013

The Slow Bone Barbeque

“You can master this process fairly quickly.” This was the quote from Slow Bone owner Jack Perkins a few months before he opened his first barbecue joint in April of this year. Perkins has been a force in the Dallas dining scene since his much heralded burger joint,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 25, 2013

Woodshed Smokehouse

Woodshed Smokehouse is a reflection of its owner and chef Tim Love. He’s an ambitious chef with several restaurants and a face made for television. He is a busy man with many talents and the menu at Woodshed Smokehouse is as busy. There are many genres of food

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 18, 2013

The Brisket House

Even if you know where it is, this unassuming storefront in a beige brick strip mall is easy to miss. I almost drove by it even as I stared at the blue dot on my iPhone signaling its location. I’d had eaten some samples from The Brisket House at the

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 11, 2013

Circle J Bar-B-Que

Over a year ago a friend of mine, Steve Dean, sent me a photo of this joint. The ramshackle look of the building had an outdated “Bush/Cheney 2004” sign in the front window and a sign on the door read “SHUT”. Steve and I both assumed it was

BBQ Joint Reviews |
June 3, 2013

3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House

Jason Hall may be the owner of 3 Stacks, but Trace Arnold is the personality. You may have seen Trace manning the Ultimate Smoker & Grill during one of their cross-country road trips. The rig is essentially a traveling billboard for hire that also happens to be able to

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 28, 2013

Smitty’s Market

Fire is hypnotic. Staring into it can be mesmerizing and may even alter your state of mind. Take the fire at Smitty’s Market for example. Just inside the back door, which is really the primary entrance, an open fire is the first thing you encounter. The flames lick their

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 21, 2013

Franklin Barbecue

The best barbecue joint in Texas is only four years old. This is an unusual development, but one that will surprise no one familiar with Franklin Barbecue, which, since opening in 2009, in a trailer off Interstate 35, has built a cult following for its meats. Has any other restaurant

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 17, 2013

Snow’s BBQ

For some in the small town of Lexington (population roughly 1,200), Saturdays are as holy as Sundays. It’s hard to miss these devotees. They congregate at the end of Main Street, within view of some grain elevators dressed in a gingham rust—a line of farmhands, ranchers, well-off weekenders, and groggy

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 17, 2013

Louie Mueller Barbecue

Louie Mueller Barbecue has been described as a “cathedral of smoke,” and indeed, many of the trappings of organized religion are present here: the sacramental offerings, the priesthood in their ecclesiastical red apron-robes, the flock of devoted congregants, even the disciples (Austin barbecue star Aaron Franklin credits a bite of

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 17, 2013

Pecan Lodge

Shed #2 at the Dallas Farmers Market is a vast, enclosed, and fully air-conditioned structure that essentially serves as a city-owned food court where up-and-coming restaurateurs crowd in to show off their skills. The unquestioned anchor tenant of this gastro-carnival is Pecan Lodge, a three-year-old barbecue joint producing what is

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Hashknife on the Chisholm

Staunch traditionalists who refuse to eat meat that’s been smoked in a gas-fired pit should drive right on past this remote joint just north of Mineral Wells without stopping. That way, there’ll be more of the smoky brisket—cut into thick, beautifully fatty slices—for the rest of us. And the ribs,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Cowpoke’s

Even if the meat at Cowpoke’s were terrible, the joint would be jam-packed at all hours, since it’s located on the edge of the booming Eagle Ford Shale formation. But luckily for the patrons jawing about oil prices in the tidy dining room, the barbecue here is exceptional, certainly among

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Pody’s BBQ

Israel “Pody” Campos used to live in Austin, where he worked for the Texas Municipal Police Association, training cops all over the state. When budget cuts forced the association to downsize a few years ago, he moved back home to Pecos and took up a job as the chief deputy

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Hatfields BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden

This tidy cedar cabin only opened in November, but pitmaster and owner Kenny Hatfield has been perfecting his craft for years, barbecuing brisket each Friday for his friends and employees at his nearby flooring store. Hatfield smokes his brisket for eighteen hours over a mix of oak and mesquite in

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

The Granary ’Cue and Brew

Not a typical joint by any means, the Granary is part of the flashy new Pearl retail/residential complex and occupies a renovated nineteenth-century home with high ceilings and dark-brown wood trim. The vibe is hipster carnivore: the music is modern, and the walls are covered with barbecue folk art, such

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Two Bros. BBQ Market

Local celebrity chef Jason Dady—who co-owns the place with his brother Jake and wife, Crystal—has gone the route of high-end barbecue in this north San Antonio location. Here, just about everything is done by hand and recipes are original. The brisket has a deep, rich taste; the crust is thick

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Kirby’s Barbecue

Kirby’s is a living testament to the adage, “Teach your children well.” Owner and pitmaster Kirby Hyden learned to smoke meats from his father, who learned from his father, and this family know-how proves to be a rich inheritance. In 1960 Hyden’s grandfather opened a joint called Holloway’s in a

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Hutchins BBQ

Last June, after a one-alarm blaze left their pit room in shambles and their business on hold, the father-son team of Roy and Tim Hutchins began to rebuild. They documented the process on Facebook, offering reports from the construction site and musing about the psyche of the Texas barbecue purveyor

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que

You’ll smell Whup’s long before you see it, and despite signage and GPS, you’ll probably miss the left turn that you have to make from Business State Highway 6. This cozy joint is not so much off the beaten the path as on it: a small, tidy house on a

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

City Market (Luling)

There are few places we love as much as the pit room at City Market. Entering the smoke-filled, glass-enclosed chamber at the back of the dining room is an experience you will remember for decades—a trip into an iconic, sacred space in the world of barbecue. Like Kreuz Market and

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Kreuz Market

We wanted to keep this renowned spot at the top of our list, where it’s been since our very first barbecue story, in 1973. But after repeated visits by various staffers, we had to be honest: we couldn’t. The brisket was consistently disappointing. The scanty fat on the “fatty” was

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Black’s Barbecue

Black’s has little in common with the more publicized Kreuz or Smitty’s other than that they are all in the same town. Instead of a mesmerizing encounter with a picturesque fire blazing at the end of an ancient brick pit like you’ll find at Smitty’s, at Black’s you’re funneled through

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Texas is in the midst of a barbecue renaissance, an age of smoky enlightenment. One need only sample the goods at new-guard establishments like Franklin Barbecue, in Austin, or Pecan Lodge, in Dallas, to realize it. Yet in the face of all this newfangled excitement, Cooper’s continues to soldier on—an

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

Longtime San Marcosans may recall this place as the former home of Woody’s, a barbecue joint that opened in 1984. It was taken over in 2007 by the Hernandez family, and in 2011 they changed the name to Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering. Last we checked, this venue does welcome

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Zimmerhanzel’s BBQ

Only a few folks were eating lunch when we arrived in this small, well-lit room decorated with mounted deer, but since we had seen the massive pits outside and the piles of post oak, we speculated that a good meal was ahead. We were right. The fat on the brisket

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Opie’s Barbecue

Upon walking through Opie’s front door you will immediately be confronted by a gleaming black metal box. If it’s your first visit, you’ll probably think to yourself that this behemoth is a little too clean and a little too showy to contain top-quality barbecue. But just wait until the lid

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Corkscrew BBQ

Set among a relentless suburban grid of drab brown-and-gray strip malls north of Houston, Corkscrew BBQ’s riotous pink-and-black mini-campus of trailers and smoke shacks stands out like a Longhorn in College Station. This is appropriate, however, considering that Corkscrew represents a new generation of barbecue in Houston. Pitmaster

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que

The exceptional thing to note about Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que is the fact that it exists at all. Located in a caliche lot along a desolate road in Sweetwater next to a bowling alley turned bar, Big Boy’s has the feel of an oasis—or a mirage. Blink and it might disappear.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue

Owner Nick Pencis isn’t going to take it anymore. For years he felt compelled by regional tastes to serve lightly seasoned briskets without a speck of fat on them. But when he renovated his restaurant in 2012 (adding a new bar and patio along with an impressive pit room), a

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 16, 2013

Mumphord’s Place BBQ

The minute you park, you’ll be drawn like a moth to the glowing fireboxes and pits in the screened-in shed out back. That’s where the action is—and frankly, we wondered how the pitmaster gets any work done, he’s so busy posing for pictures with guests and explaining to newbies how

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Longoria’s BBQ

In 1975 a Bell Helicopter employee named Fidencio “Fred” Longoria began making his own sausage in his kitchen at home. He wanted to create links as good as those he remembered eating in Gonzales as a child. In 1990, after years of tinkering, he finally solidified his recipe for sausage

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company

As popular as this Hill Country hamlet is among the day-tripping set, Fredericksburg has historically suffered from a surprising dearth of top-rate barbecue. No more. Just a mile and a half south of the knickknack and potpourri emporiums of bustling Main Street stands Cranky Frank’s Barbeque Company. Once inside the

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Meshack’s Bar-B-Que

Meshack’s takes the concept of a barbecue joint and reduces it to its most basic element: the meat and nothing else. There are no tables at which to sit and enjoy your food, no whimsical décor, really no ambience at all. Just a cinder-block shack crudely painted with images of

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

City Meat Market

A welcome landmark on U.S. 290 between Austin and Houston is the boxy brick building of City Meat Market, in Giddings. The red painted sign reads “Bar-B-Q and Sausage”—sausage being one of their specialties. Walk through the main room, with its high ceilings, two rows of tables covered in

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Bartley’s Bar-B-Q

We walked through the doors of this thoroughly nondescript suburban strip center spot and were greeted by the heavenly incense of smoked meat—which carried us to the counter in a happy daze. Next, came an unsolicited, excruciatingly upbeat testimonial from a fellow patron, waiting and antsy for service: “Best barbecue

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Bob’s Bar-B-Que

Owner and pitmaster Bob Allen is just as guarded as he is hospitable, so don’t expect a pit tour here. But though we could not see the equipment, we were assured that no gas was used in the preparation of the meat. The menu is simple, but it does include

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering

Greg Gatlin is in charge of the smoker, but he also bustles around taking orders and tidying up. So does his mom, who is responsible for the fine bread pudding and other sweets. After a wait—which is often lengthy—you’ll receive plates neatly stacked with precisely sliced meat. In case you’ve

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Virgie’s Bar-B-Que

The brawny pork ribs that emerge from the big metal smoker set a standard for the genre. They are massive, pink, and delicious, their meat lightly clinging to the bone until you grab a bite with your teeth and give a light tug. A heavy, salty-peppery crust, without a trace

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ

You could lose a lot of tire tread and a little bit of soul looking for good barbecue in East Texas. But if you should find yourself in Jasper, mosey down Main Street, past the modest houses and packs of free-range dogs, and make the acquaintance of George Ralph Mahathay,

BBQ Joint Reviews |
May 15, 2013

Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue

A devastating fire in 2012 destroyed all but the thin brick facade of this joint, which faces Polk Street in downtown Jefferson. But once the flames were extinguished, owner and pitmaster Stephen Joseph started rebuilding, and seven months later he was christening the new Bewley smoker. The refurbished interior is