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Dining Guide

Hays Co. Bar-B-Que & Catering

Photograph by Daniel Vaughn

A lot has changed since this stalwart joint made our 2017 list. The old trailer has been replaced by a large building, a shiplap-and-corrugated-metal affair with tons of natural light. What hasn’t changed is the brisket, which, with its understated bark adding a rich depth to the flavor, continues to stand out, even in the meaty mecca along this stretch of the I-35 corridor. In fact, Hays Co. has made some improvements: the pork ribs are now a perfect balance of sweet and peppery, and there’s a selection of frozen mixed drinks, including the Hays Co. Raspa, a boozy slushy of Big Red and rum. Who knew barbecue and Big Red could get any better?

City: San Marcos


Method: Post oak; offset smoker

Pitmaster: Michael Hernandez, 47; Michael Aaron Hernandez, 28; Jessie Miranda, 47

Pro-tip: Save some room for the juicy pork chop and the green-chile mac.

Price: $$

Rating: ★★★★

Address: 1612 S. I-35, San Marcos, TX

Hours: Mon–Thur 11–7, Fri & Sat 11–8, Sun 11–4 or sold out

Phone: 512-392-6000

Website: www.hayscobbq.com

Year Opened: 2007

Last updated: May 3, 2013