The Best Barbecue in Texas

A full plate of barbeque, brisket, pulled pork, beans, potato salad

Photo – Texas Over Fifty

The Best Barbecue in Texas

This barbecue thing has been the subject of much debate and the topic of many a tourist’s questions.
Year after year, all across the Lone Star State, where beef is king and there’s a brisket smoking somewhere down every major thoroughfare, we all want to know.
Just exactly who sells the absolute best?

Texas Monthly Was Our Guide

After four straight years of publishing its list of The Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas, one of our state’s most widely read sources has decided against creating a list for the current year.
That’s just as sad as sad can be, isn’t it?
Unless, of course, someone else in your circle of influence has tried many a joint (barbecue, people!) herself in this here brisket-lovin’ locale, and unless that person would love the opportunity to pontificate on the pork.

Take it From Another Expert

For the next few minutes, please feel free to consider me an expert in a plentiful range of Texas opinion-givers.
I’ll make a concerted effort to describe the tastes and aromas that you’ll find as you hover over a glorious plate at one of my faves, but just know this from the get-go. You’re going to want to make sure I’m right.
Mmm. This is gonna be fun, y’all. Or larapin.’
Messy, too.


Truth in Brenham – Best Atmosphere

The Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Texas Over Fifty

Brenham is a Texas gem of a town for many reasons, but Truth would be a reason to visit if that’s all there was. The barbecue is fantastic, but of all the places you can eat BBQ in Texas, I like the atmosphere of this one the best.
Set back off the road, Truth serves up everything on metal trays from behind a small counter in a store about the size of my living room.
There are a few tables inside, but, shoot, why do that when you can enjoy it like we did when we were kids? Outside, at picnic tables, under the trees, with a light breeze blowing through your hair. That’s the way to enjoy Truth barbecue, my friends.
There’s some info on Truth’s website about expansion, both in Brenham and at a brand new location in Houston. Keep it coming, guys. We can always use more Truth.


Tyler’s in Amarillo – Best Ribs

The Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Amarillo Magazine

Okay, when it comes to barbecued ribs, I’ve seen men completely lose their senses when devouring a good one. You have too, right? I mean, they don’t even look up. Time stands still.
Seriously, I think Carrie Underwood could walk right through the front door, and all the men eating ribs at Tyler’s would just wink and keep right on. They’re so meaty and so smoky, with a nice crisp char around the edges.
Tyler has the experience to back up his best-sellers, having served his award-winners all over the country on the back of a semi-tractor trailer rig for years. How he decided on a permanent spot in Amarillo, I’m not quite sure, but I know they’re glad he’s there.
When you plan a summer trip to Palo Duro Canyon, put a stop at Tyler’s on your itinerary. And if Carrie Underwood does happen by, maybe the women in the group can get her autograph.


Killen’s in Pearland – Best Sausage

The Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Texas Over Fifty

The last time we were in Houston, our daughter and SIL had heard about Killen’s and wanted us to try it with them. So, Saturday morning, we jumped up and drove down to Pearland, hoping to beat the crowd. Lucky for us, a 10:30 arrival was just right, but, even so, we were not the first in line. People know about Killen’s, and they don’t mind standing outside for a while to get into the place.
There were so many options to drool over on the chalkboard menu, so we all decided to get something different and share. What a fortuitous decision that was, because it was ALL amazing, and I’m so glad we got to try everything.
My recommendation for you would be to do the same; however, if a two-meat plate is what you must do, go for the burnt brisket tips and the sausage. I’ve never had better. Wish I had some right this minute.
The sides are good at Killen’s, too, especially the fresh green beans. If that’s not enough, there’s also a cooler filled with bottled drinks, even grape and orange sodas.


Cooper’s in Austin – Best Chicken

Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Cooper’s

How in the world I don’t have a picture of Cooper’s half-chicken in my phone, I just don’t know. I couldn’t even find one on their website.
But, listen, if the brisket sounds a little heavy, you’ve got to try the chicken next time you’re having lunch on Congress Avenue in Austin. Of course, they serve it at the original Cooper’s location in Llano, as well. It’s just so good!


Bodacious in Tyler – Best Beans

Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Bodacious Bar-B-Q

If beans are your favorite barbecue side, you’re going to love the ones at Bodacious like nobody’s business. How nice it is of them to sell the seasoning so we can attempt to make the same yumminess in our own kitchens. Which I have done.
This blend of spices is great on blackeyed peas and whatever else you come up with to shake it into. Bodacious is known for their barbecue in East Texas, but I’m a huge fan of their salty, flavor-packed, simmered to perfection, beans.
Order your own Bodacious Bean Spice here.


Slab in Austin – Best Sammich

Best Barbecue in Texas

Photo – Texas Over Fifty

This is one messy looking meal, but oh, my, these sliders at Slab in Austin are ah-may-zing.
A friend suggested this place when we agreed to meat for dinner, and considering he’s like half our age, served in the military, is a native Texan, a college grad, and handsome as can be, we decided to go with his choice.
Oh, man.
These barbecue sliders knocked it out of the park. What a great way to try a sample of Slab’s favorites. The pork sammich with coleslaw might have been my favorite, but really, it’s too hard to choose between the three.
If a barbecue sammy is your typical menu choice, you’ll love Slab’s sliders.


A Complete List

Well, it’s not as long as Texas Monthly’s list of 5 times 10, but I think the preceding list of my favorites will keep us busy for a while. At least until the end of summer or so.
By then, I might have a whole new roster of recommendations, but one thing is for absolute sure. I don’t see how they could be better than these.
Encouraging a life filled with everyday intentional adventure, and a plate piled high with the best barbecue in Texas,




Other posts you might enjoy:
Everybody Needs a Favorite Burger
Restaurant Weeks in Texas
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

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    Hi, there! I'm glad you're here! My name is Brenda McDearmon, and this website is filled with my own personal brand of encouragement for you, from me. Welcome!