In Texas, barbecue isn’t merely a meal; it’s almost religion. Dining at a Texas barbecue joint is often as much a cultural experience as it is a religious one, and people leave their differences and their politics behind when they walk through the doors. Texans take their barbecue very seriously, especially when it comes to brisket, pork ribs, and sausage. And they don’t pay short shrift to things like sides and sweet tea, either.
While no one will ever agree to one definitive ranking of the 12 best barbecue joints in the state, a lot of names come up repeatedly, and they’re listed in this article.
1. Franklin Barbecue
Few dispute that Franklin Barbecue, located in East Austin and casually called Franklin’s, has Austin’s best barbecue, and many hold that it’s the best in the state. Owner Aaron Franklin got his start hosting his own backyard barbecues, moved on to a trailer, and finally opened his own restaurant. People often line up hours ahead of opening to make sure they get some before it sells out.
2. Smitty’s Market
Lockhart is officially known as the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” Smitty’s is one of three big names in Lockhart. Among its many standouts is the prime rib, not commonly served at barbecue joints.
3. Goldee’s BAR-B.Q
Goldee’s in Fort Worth got its start just back in 2020, but that didn’t keep it from earning the designation of Texas’s top barbecue joint for 2021 by Texas Monthly. Try the Laotian sausage served over sticky rice; it’s a special creation by one of the 5 owners.
4. Snow’s BBQ
Lexington is home to this top-notch joint known for keeping things simple and delicious. Most of the credit goes to 88-year-old pitmaster Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz, who’s still at it every day they’re open.
5. la Barbecue
If there are any serious contenders to Franklin’s for best barbecue in Austin, this is one of them. Like Franklin’s, it’s in the eastern section of the city. Lines frequently wrap around the building, and the restaurant was founded by LeAnn Mueller in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
6. Interstellar BBQ
Don’t let the location in a strip mall in the northeastern part of Austin fool you. This is another joint that can compete with Franklin’s. Although it’s only been open since 2019, it’s been named the second-best barbecue in the state by some judges.
7. Cattleack Barbecue
Low and slow has never been truer than it is at this Dallas restaurant. If you want to make sure to enjoy one of the weekly featured specials, arrive early. The Cattleack is also popular because of its BYOB policy.
8. Pecan Lodge
Found in Dallas’s Deep Ellum neighborhood, the smoked meats here justify the typically long lines. Everything’s made from scratch here, and the sides are as good as they get.
9. Truth Barbecue
Truth Barbecue got its start in a rural roadside shack in Brenham, between Austin and Houston. After just two years, Texas Monthly had put it at #10 on its list of best barbecue joints in the state. By 2021, it had risen to #3.
10. Heim Barbecue
As you’d expect, everything’s great at this joint, another in Fort Worth. However, Heim Barbecue has something special: its bacon burnt ends. The recipe is a closely kept secret, but they always come out chewy, charred, and caramelized.
11. Blood Bros. BBQ
Brothers Robin and Terry Wong, along with their friend Quy Hoang, Houston’s first Vietnamese, founded this Houston joint in an inconspicuous strip mall. Because there’s no fixed menu, there’s always a reason to come back to see what the latest savory foods the owners have cooked up are.
12. Burnt Bean Co.
October 2020 was during the height of the pandemic, a time that was rough on restaurants all over the country. However, that didn’t deter two pitmasters from opening this joint in Seguin. From the lines that regularly form at the Burnt Bean Co., it’s apparent that their bet paid off.
The 7 Best Flea Markets in Texas
Texas is home to some of America’s biggest and best flea markets. If you love shopping, getting bargain deals, and meeting people, you’ll want to visit these flea markets. It’s a fun way to shop and discover all the things you need and even more things you didn’t know you needed. Flea markets in Texas offer everything from antiques and collectibles to home furnishings, vintage clothing items, and much more.
The best way to browse a flea market? With your favorite people, of course! Whether you spend an afternoon or an entire weekend, heading out to one of Texas’s best flea markets can be quite a fun adventure!
Texas Swagger: Unraveling the Lone Star State’s Unapologetic Pride
If you’ve ever been to Texas, you’ll notice, besides all the pickup trucks and the cowboy hats, that Texans take a lot of pride in their home state. There are other places in the country that have a strong sense of regional or local pride, but Texas seems to top them all. In fact, for some Texans, the only thing bigger than Texas is their love of the Lone Star State.
Discover the Lone Star State: 11 of the Best Places to Live in Texas
Every US state has unique elements, but few carry such a bold and immediately recognizable character as Texas. By far the largest of the 48 contiguous states, the Lone Star State is brimming with vast metropolises, vibrant border towns, and beachside getaways. There is something out there for practically anyone looking for a great place to live in Texas.
As inviting a place as Texas may be to live, its vast selection of cities and towns, which number more than 1,200, can make for an overwhelming search. Of course, the whole state offers classic Texas energy and southern charm, but its vast size houses many unique regions and subcultures. To help narrow down the search, consider some of these options for the best places to live in Texas.
Bastrop Opera House: 10 Fun Facts About This Central Texas Historical Venue
This small-town theater packs a Texas-sized punch when it comes to delivering high-quality productions. Located 45 minutes east of Austin, it regularly welcomes guests from all over the state who come to be entertained.
With 134 years of history, it’s one of Bastrop’s cherished organizations. If walls could talk, those holding up the opera house could surely tell a good story.
Here are ten fun facts about the Bastrop Opera House you may not know.
This article was produced by Our Woven Journey. Featured Image Credit: Maksim Denisenko/Shutterstock.
Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.