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The 50 Best BBQ Joints . . . in the World!

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

San Marcos

The pork chop has almost a bark of pepper along one side.
Full Custom Gospel BBQ

Rating: 4
Opened: 2007
Pitmasters: Michael Hernandez, age 39, Aaron Hernandez, age 19 (since 2009), and Omar Serna, age 40 (since 2012)
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit 
Pro tip: The mustard sauce is as good as City Market’s.

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 customers who are not Bobcat fans, but a Bobcat booster would certainly feel at home amid all the Texas State decor. While we waited in line, a friendly customer recommended the pork chop, so we started there. It was a stunning piece of meat. A generous slice had almost a bark of pepper on one side, and while it was a tiny bit dry, the taste had the perfect amount of smoke. The brisket, which is Certified Angus cooked for eighteen to twenty hours, boasted a nice half-inch smoke ring and pepper on the exterior, and the pork ribs were fine and meaty. Two kinds of homemade sausage appear on the menu—jalapeño-cheese and regular—and at the suggestion of a counter person in the cafeteria line, we got the jalapeño-cheese. It was tied in a ring and had a perfect snap (beef and Boston pork butt go into the filling). The turkey proved outstanding, with a peppery exterior, smoky flavor, and a juiciness that made the slice glisten. We found the sides decent, and the sweet, thick red sauce had lots of pepper flakes. By the time the meal was over, we were ready to shout “Go, Bobcats!”

2601 Hunter Rd., 512-392-6000. Open Mon–Sat 11–8. hayscobbq.com

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