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Dining Guide

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering

Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

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.

City: San Marcos


Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit

Pitmaster: Michael Hernandez; Aaron Hernandez (since 2009); and Omar Serna (since 2012)

Pro-tip: The musard sauce is as good as City Market's.

Price: $$

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 1612 S. IH 35, San Marcos, TX, 78666

Hours: Mon-Wed 11am-8pm, Thurs-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-4pm (or until sold out)

Phone: (512) 392-6000

Website: www.hayscobbq.com/

Year Opened: 2007

Last updated: May 3, 2013


  • I’ll be looking for it on my next trip to Austin. Milt’s and Railroad are planned stops for me when I’m in the area.

  • Consistency always seems the bugaboo for young BBQ joints. Stopped in at lunch yesterday, and the brisket just didn’t cut it this time. Nice crust, but the marbled fat was not rendered. The sides (slaw and potato salad) were rather flavorless. I should have tried the beans, which appear to hold more promise. The sausage was very good. I tried the jalapeno/cheese links this trip, and they’re worth coming back for. And yes, they do have a nice version of City Market’s sauce. Not a sauce-heavy guy, but it’s nice to have a good one to compliment the meat.

  • Ray

    I go here a lot. About 25-35 minutes closer to where I live than Lockhart. Good pork ribs, great sausage. In my opinion, they have some of the best central-TX style sausage. I put them in my top tier, along with Gonzales Food Market, City Market in Luling, Smitty’s, and possibly Sam’s in East Austin (I haven’t been to Sam’s in a long time).The first few times I ate brisket here, it was good. Lately, it’s been average/below average, not terrible or bad but just ok. With that said, I usually go to Hays County after 1:00 P.M., or after 2:00, or after 3:00, so maybe if I got there between 11:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. the brisket would be a lot better. I have to get there early one of these days.