There aren't many places that have a reputation for traditional BBQ like Texas does. It's the one state where barbecue is considered an art form and if you're not seeking out the best, highest-quality smoked meats, then you're definitely doing something wrong. There's nothing like a slice of perfectly marbled, pink-ringed smoked brisket, or a pound of tender, glistening pulled pork on a potato bun. Pulling ribs out of a smoker is a thing of beauty and the scent that wafts through most BBQ restaurants, well... it's enough to make you wait in line for hours just to get a piece.
If you find yourself in Texas and aren't making it a goal to visit at least one of its best BBQ restaurants, then it's time to change up the itinerary. In a state where the sauce is second only to the spice rub, and the word 'moist' applies to how well-balanced a slice of brisket is, there's simply nothing better. Locals will happily say that making a drive down to Texas is wholly worth it just because of its BBQ but we'll leave that opinion up to you after having a meal at one of these.
Pecan Lodge In Dallas
Pecan Lodge is run by two people who know food and know the art of barbecue extremely well, Diane and Justin Fourton. The two went from working in a corporate setting to creating one of the biggest names in the Texas BBQ scene with a well-earned following and locals who can't speak highly enough.
Hickory and oak are the woods of choice when it comes to this mouth-watering BBQ menu and Pecan Lodge's brisket, ribs, and pulled pork all come highly recommended. The team makes their sausage in-house so you already know it's one-of-a-kind delicious, and the famed Carolina-style BBQ sauce adds the perfect tang.
Franklin Barbecue In Austin
If you're talking Austin then you'd better also be talking about Franklin Barbecue. This spot is the talk of the entire state thanks to their brisket, which is a true thing of beauty. The bark on the outside is so dark and rich that, chances are, you'll need a moment to savor it before diving into anything else.
With a rub of salt and pepper, bold oak flavor, and a total smoking time of 16 hours, there's no appetite that this brisket won't appeal to. According to the locals, finishing the meal with any of their trademark desserts is also a must.
Snow's BBQ In Lexington
If you're in the know then Snow's BBQ is definitely high on your list. This Lexington-based BBQ restaurant is curated by none other than the pit master herself, Tootsie Tomanetz. Whipping up sausages that are made in-house and come in both jalapeño and traditional flavors, as well as a brisket that could bring a tear to your eye, this is worth waiting for.
Saturday is the only day fans can get a taste of Snow's BBQ as it's only open during one day of the week. The sides are an additional luxury, with a choice of coleslaw, potato salad, and beans made traditionally.
Black's BBQ In Lockhart
The reputation that Black's BBQ has in Texas is a long-standing one since it's the oldest-operating BBQ restaurant in the state. The tradition of Texas-style BBQ has been handed down through four generations of the Edgar Black family and they've been doing it right since 1932.
The pit master who's now responsible for this incredible BBQ menu is none other than third-generation expert Kent Black, who uses a low and slow, oak wood-fueled method to flavor meat. He's not doing it alone, though - Norma Jean, who's a second-generation pit master, is responsible for the homemade pinto beans and trademark BBQ sauce, both of which are irresistible. Locals will wholeheartedly recommend the ribs, which have a perfect balance between bark and tender bite.
Louie Mueller BBQ In Taylor
Many BBQ restaurants throughout the south have been handed down through generations and Louie Mueller is another one. This restaurant was built by Louie Mueller himself back in 1949 and is now run by his grandson, Wayne Mueller, who's a third-generation pit master.
Louie Mueller was awarded by the James Beard Foundation with the 'American Classics' award and was one of the first of any barbecue restaurant to have earned the title. If that doesn't speak to the quality and flavor of this BBQ, then its monster-sized ribs and perfectly rubbed brisket just might do the trick.