For Specialties of the House

ABBOTT: the Turkey Shop, for steamed cabbage, black-eyed peas, and cornbread dressing
ABILENE: Joe Allen’s, for yeast-risen whole-wheat bread
AUSTIN: ArtZ Rib House, for country pork ribs
BRADY: Mac’s Barbecue, for crisp-skinned chicken
CUERO: Barbecue Station—B&D Catering and Smolik’s Quality Meats, for exemplary brisket
DEL VALLE: Dan’s Bar-B-Q, for exceptional beef ribs
FALFURRIAS: Strickland’s Restaurant, for outstanding pork-and-beef sausage
FORT DAVIS: Raul’s, for sliced brisket sandwiches with green chiles
FORT WORTH: the Railhead Barbecue Smokehouse, for barbecued salami
GARNER STATE PARK: the River Bend Cafe (opens Memorial Day weekend), for homemade coconut cream pie
GONZALES: the Gonzales Food Market, for garlic-sage beef sausage (order “dry”) and more exceptional beef ribs
JEFFERSON: Riverport Bar-B-Que, for tomatoey sauce with a Bloody Mary nip
JUNCTION: Lum’s Bar-B-Que, for homemade coconut cream and lemon meringue pies
LLANO: Brothers BBQ, for fried yellow squash, and Laird’s, for delicious beef-and-pork sausage
MIDLAND: Honey and Mary’s Barbeque, for being the westernmost outpost of Elgin beef sausage
MISSION: Ferrell’s Pit, for homemade grapefruit pie
ODESSA: Jack Jordan’s Bar-B-Que, for slaw with chopped apple
ROUND ROCK: Bob’s Bar-B-Q, for still more exceptional beef ribs
SAN ANGELO: Jodie’s Bar-B-Q, for beef-pork-and-jalapeño sausage; Mule Creek Bar-B-Q, for Longhorn stew (pintos with sausage, brisket, and pork); and Pack Saddle, for homemade ice cream and speedy service
SPICEWOOD: R.O.’s Outpost, for homemade blackberry, fresh peach, and peanut butter pies.

For Atmosphere

AUSTIN: the Iron Works, for its ambling ranch-house feel in the middle of downtown, and Ruby’s B-B-Q, for its unique slacker-chic barbecue theme
BIG SPRING: Big John’s Feedlot, for its funky pine-post exterior and hunting-lodge interior
BULVERDE: Tommy Wilson’s, for its massive indoor and outdoor dining facilities and adjacent party barn
COMFORT: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q, a high-ceilinged former feedstore, for its spacious, down-home country feel
DRIFTWOOD: the Salt Lick, for its screened porch and sausages smoking over an open pit in a scenic Hill Country setting
JUNCTION: Lum’s Bar-B-Que, for its haciendaesque flavor and outdoor stone deck, surrounded by hills
KERRVILLE: Bill’s Bar-B-Que, for its friendly, unhurried feel
MIDLAND: Price’s Bar-B-que, for its cinder-block soul and hand-drawn menu
OAKVILLE: Van’s Bar-B-Q, for its coin-operated player piano and ranch look
SANTA ANNA: Dub’s Opera House, for the pit out front that looks like a cannon shooting smoke onto Main Street
TIOGA: Clark’s Outpost, for its rustic, nostalgia-inducing setting
WHARTON: Soul Sister B-B-Q, for the original photos of blues stars on the walls.

For Live Music

ABILENE: Harold’s Bar-B-Q (owner Harold Christian sings gospel songs when the spirit moves him)
BULVERDE: Tommy Wilson’s
COMFORT: Buzzie’s Bar-B-Q
COUPLAND: the Old Coupland Inn
LUBBOCK: Great Scott’s Bar-B-Q and Stubb’s
ODESSA: Sam’s Bar-B-Q
SANTA ANNA: Dub’s Opera House.