10 places to get authentic Texas barbecue before you die

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If you’re a fan of authentic Texas barbecue, you know there’s nothing quite like it in the world. It’s slow cooked and kissed by wood smoke, leaving behind tender, juicy meat and sultry flavors. When true craft masters put their own twists and turns on generational family recipes, it can create a life-changing, almost religious experience.



If you’re planning a trip to Texas and you’ve had your fill of steak, you don’t want to miss the chance to sample some of the best barbecue in the country. From small-town joints to legendary establishments, here are ten places you have to try before you die.

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ten Tyler’s BBQ

Tyler Frazer, owner of Tyler’s BBQ, is committed to making sure barbecue lovers know there are amazing options outside of central Texas. Frazer traveled across the United States with the goal of staging large-scale events, learning from those triumphs and setbacks, and then bringing it back to Amarillo with a brick-and-mortar business. Locals and foreigners alike brave the elements to line up for the chance to sink their teeth into the rising star of the Texas Panhandles. Chopped brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, ribs and specials like the delicious Frito Pie have become legendary as Frazer’s thriving barbecue restaurant has established itself as one of the Lone Star State’s top barbecue establishments.

  • Where
    : 3301 Olsen Blvd., Amarillo, TX 79109

9 pecan nut pavilion

Born in a Dallas Farmer’s Market and now firmly rooted in Deep Ellum (a

neighborhood near downtown Dallas), pecan nut pavilion is another famous restaurant in Texas with long lines that serve as a precursor to the mouth-watering dishes it serves daily. Owners Diane and Justin Forton have pushed their way to the front of the line when it comes to talking about the best barbecue in the state, and it’s a well-deserved conversation. If this is your group’s first visit to Pecan Lodge, you’ll want to order The Trough to see why this place is so popular: prime rib, pound pork ribs, pound brisket, half – pound pull pork and three sausages. It’s a tasty schooling. Top it all off with a serving of classic peach cobbler, and you’ll wonder why it took you so long to visit the Pecan Lodge.

  • Where
    : 2702 Main Street, Dallas, TX 75226

8 Killen’s BBQ

from Pearlland Killen’s BBQ opened in 2013 and has firmly established Southeast Texas as a barbecue destination. Owner Ronnie Killen wanted to retain the “heart and soul” of traditional barbecues when he set up shop just outside of Houston, but he probably never imagined his tempting offerings would soon be acclaimed in national scale. Daily staples include savory beef brisket, pork chops, smoked prime rib, turkey, and pristine desserts such as bread pudding and carrot cake. Mouth watering? Then you should be on your way to Killen’s Barbecue before they sell out for the day.

  • Where
    : 3613 Broadway, Pearland, TX 77581

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seven BBQ

Since 2012, Austin BBQ has pushed the boundaries of what it means to be a “traditional” BBQ establishment in Texas. Owned and operated by LeAnn Mueller and his wife, Alison Clem, La Barbecue is the rare female-run, LGBTQ+ barbecue spot in a world that has always been ruled by men. Mueller’s father, Bobby Mueller, was an acclaimed barbecue master who won a James Beard Award in 2006 and inspired the restaurant, but Mueller and Clem have created something decidedly unique for themselves. La Barbecue has established itself as a premier barbecue destination in the state of Texas.

  • Where
    : 2401 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702

6 BBQ Kerlin

Another Austin favorite, BBQ Kerlin, is served from a simple white food truck. It’s such a relaxed and laid back place that you might think at first you’re in the wrong place, but that’s where you’re wrong. Kerlin BBQ offers incredibly tasty dishes such as their kolaches (meat, cheese and more cooked in batter), sliced ​​brisket sandwiches, smoked corn with chipotle butter and hot beef links. It offers no frills and barely any seating, but Kerlin BBQ certainly claims the best barbecue in Texas.

  • Where
    : 2207 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702

5 The black barbecue

The second Lockhart establishment on this list, The black barbecue, has been serving heavenly barbecue creations for 90 years now. In fact, the current pit that the family still cooks on was first built by Edgar Black Jr. in 1949 and is still burning bright. It’s hard to find so much barbecue history and even harder to beat in Texas. But if you’re passing through Lockhart, the “Barbecue Capital of the World,” you have to wait in line at Black’s, a Texas tradition that dates back to before former President Lyndon B. Johnson took office (actually, LBJ had his photo taken here years ago). Jumbo beef ribs, slowed smoked turkey breast, ground beef brisket sandwiches. There are almost too many tantalizing options to name. There are now three more Black’s BBQ locations in Austin, New Braunfels and San Marcos, but to really understand why it’s become a Texas tradition, you need to hit the road to visit the original location in Lockhart.

  • Where
    : 215 North Main Street, Lockhart, TX 78644

4 Smitty’s Market

Founded in 1948 by Edgar “Smitty” Schmidt in the historic Kreuz Market space in Lockhart, Texas, Smitty’s Market is continually rated one of the best barbecue stops in Texas. Lockhart itself is often called the “Barbecue Capital of Texas,” so when you’re considered the “best of the best,” that’s high praise. The Schmidt family still owns and operates the restaurant (although a very famous feud nearly demolished the business), where customers still line up every day to get all their favorites. It’s more than worthy of a spot on your foodie travel bucket list.

  • Where
    : 208 South Commerce Street, Lockhart, TX 78644

3 Goldee’s BBQ

A relative newcomer to the Texas BBQ scene, Goldee’s BBQ made a strong impression in a short time. Founded in 2020, owners Lane Milne, Jalen Heard, Nupohn Inthanousay, Jonny White and PJ Inthanousay (all of whom are under 30) have established themselves as barbecue heavyweights in a state known for its barbecue heavyweights. Nominated by Texas monthly as the “#1 Texas BBQ Joint“For 2021, Goldee’s is pushing the boundaries of tradition by introducing new savory products, such as Laotian sausage, to complement Texas standards like beef brisket and ribs. If Goldee’s is the future of Texas barbecue, so the future is very bright.

  • Where
    : 4645 Dick Price Road, Fort Worth, TX 76140

2 The Snow BBQ

For simplicity : The Snow BBQ is a Texas barbecue institution. When it opened in March 2003, owner Kerry Bexley and legendary pitmaster Norma “Tootsie” Tomanetz never imagined that their humble beginnings would one day turn into one of the world’s most famous barbecue stops. “The Queen of Barbecue” Tootsie Tomanetz began her barbecue career in 1966, and now, well into her 80s, she continues to use the same cooking techniques and secrets that have built her legend over the years. . Snow’s barbecue was named “#1 BBQ in Texas” by Texas monthly in 2017, and in 2020 he was featured on the Netflix series Chef’s Table: BBQ, which propelled the restaurant’s popularity into the stratosphere. If you want to try the magic of Tootsie, you’ll need to get there early as the line is often hours long, but it’s worth the wait.

  • Where
    : 516 Main Street, Lexington, TX 78947

1 Franklin Grill

Franklin’s BBQ is a cultural icon in the Texas barbecue world. When Aaron Franklin and his wife Stacy tried their luck opening a barbecue on the side of a Texas highway in 2009, they never imagined they would spark a revolution. The restaurant has been featured on numerous national media programs, and celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel, Anthony Bourdain, and former President Barak Obama are some of Franklin’s biggest fans. In 2015, Aaron Franklin received the James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: Southwest,” becoming the first barbecue chef to be nominated or to receive this coveted award. Franklin’s Barbecue has also been rated one of the “50 Best Barbecues” in the United States by numerous media publications. Easy to say, this is a Texas BBQ place that should be high on your “BBQ bucket list”.

  • Where
    : 900 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78702

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