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Dining Guide

Gatlin’s BBQ

Photograph by Jody Horton

In case you’ve ever wondered what the deal is with different ribs, you’re in luck: Gatlin’s has two kinds. Side by side, you’ll see that the baby backs are shorter and more curved, with a rounder bone and more of the meat on the top. Now compare the St. Louis ribs. They’re bigger, and the bone is flatter and straighter, with more highly marbled meat. (If a little flap of meat and cartilage called the rib tip had been left on, you’d have a sparerib.) Arguments can get heated about which is better, but we thought they were both excellent and exceptionally moist.

City: Houston


Method: Hickory in a gas-fired rotisserie

Pitmaster: Greg Gatlin

Pro-tip: The Cajun dirty rice has a fan base.

Price: $$

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 3510 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX, 77018

Hours: M-Thur 11-€“8, F-Sat 11-9 or till meat runs out

Phone: 713-869-4227

Website: gatlinsbbq.com/

Year Opened: 2010

Last updated: May 3, 2013


  • Anonymous

    Gatlin’s has gotten some wonderful press in the last year and they’ve earned every bit of it. The wife and I go at least 3 times a month.

  • Ray

    BBQ Snob,is Gatlin’s dirty rice better than Thelma’s?

  • That’s a tough one, but I think Gatlin’s has the edge, especially when you add in a few dabs of their BBQ sauce.

  • Went to Gatlin’s today. Had the ribs, pulled pork and brisket. The ribs looked like nothing you had BBQ snob. Had good spice on there but zero sugar! The brisket and pulled pork were delicious. My buddy had the smoked turkey and it was money! Missed out on the dirty rice but the slaw and pot. salad were excellent! I wish the ribs were more like you had! I like my ribs sweet and smokey!

  • Anonymous

    I went to Gatlin’s yesterday (my third time) and was a bit disappointed. First, the ribs were not as tender as my prior visits–a little force was needed to get the meat offa da bone (everyone has an off day). What killed me was they increased their prices, yet drastically reduced the portion-size of the sides. What used to be served in those baskets and styrofoam containers is now spooned onto small, shallow plates.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the meats are good but my latest visit (Jan. 2013), showed the staff unwrapping foil packs of meat (cooked the day before?) when I arrived at 10:45 AM. Service was severely stressed with 1 person at the tiny register area handling: all phone calls, every order in line, all to-go orders, and stopping to go outside to deliver food! It was embarrassing. Also, never order the “lemon butter cake” as it is raw! Wow–guess the owner’s never tasted it.