BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 11, 2014

Hwy 29 BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 4, 2014

Pit-Stop Bar-B-Q

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
March 3, 2014

Mexican/Canadian BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 25, 2014

The Cattle Exchange

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 18, 2014

Spicy Mike’s Bar-B-Q Haven

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 11, 2014

Pickles BBQ & Icehouse

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
February 4, 2014

Virdinski’s Rub Shack

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 28, 2014

Gas Monkey Bar and Grill

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 27, 2014

Delysia/Salt Lick Truffles

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 21, 2014

DBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 14, 2014

Lenox Bar-B-Q

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,…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
January 7, 2014

City Market (Schulenburg)

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 23, 2013

Rio Grande Grill

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 17, 2013

Curly’s Carolina, TX Barbeque

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
December 10, 2013

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 26, 2013

Shorty’s BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 19, 2013

Cattleack BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 12, 2013

Big Al’s Smokehouse Barbecue

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 11, 2013

American Smoke

“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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
November 5, 2013

Billy’s Pit Bar-B-Q

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 29, 2013

Micklethwait Craft Meats

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 28, 2013

What’s the Rub?

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 22, 2013

Larrie’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

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.

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 15, 2013

R&G Bar-B-Que

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,…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 8, 2013

Baker’s Ribs – Weatherford

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
October 1, 2013

Sean’s Mesquite Pit BBQ

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 24, 2013

Blue Ox Barbecue

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…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 17, 2013

Joel’s Bar-B-Q

Back in 1978 Joycelyn and her then-husband Joel Kubesch were smoking meat at area parking lots on the weekends. They then moved into this current building around 1980. Joycelyn runs the place now, but the building looks like it came from another century. A tin roof over a clapboard exterior…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 10, 2013

Cotten’s Barbecue

Update: This joint is permanently CLOSED. 2013: This is the second in a dual review. It’s rare to find two barbecue joints with food so similar to one another, but Cotten’s Catering in Calallen and Cotten’s Barbecue in San Antonio are nearly dead ringers. It all goes back…

BBQ Joint Reviews |
September 10, 2013

Cotten’s Catering

This is the first in a dual review. It’s rare to find two barbecue joints with food so similar to one another, but Cotten’s Catering in Calallen and Cotten’s Barbecue in San Antonio are nearly dead ringers. It all goes back to 1947 when Joe Cotten starting selling…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…