The Texas Monthly Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the State (and we all know that's the WORLD)

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Jun 3, 2013
Texarkana, USA
Let's talk about Texas Barbecue joints. 

Below, I've listed the Texas Monthly Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the World…by Rating!  They are listed by name, where they're located, and then their Texas Monthly score. 

The ones in red are the ones I’ve tried.  And, I know Daniel Vaughn rates then on everything they serve, including sides.  And, that may be why we differ on I only rate them on brisket, sausage, and if they serve them, beef ribs.

And, of course, we all know you can't go wrong with Franklin's...but I think all of them rated 4.5 and above are outstanding.  But, my favorite place, day in and day out, is Louie Mueller's in Taylor...and it has been since the 80's, when I lived in Austin.  It's always been at or near the top in every list ever made.  And, I think Wayne Mueller is a true gentleman, as he just loves to share his knowledge with everyone who asks.  Plus, the history of that building.  Thoughts?     

  1. Franklin’s -Austin-5.0

  2. Pecan Lodge-Dallas- 4.75

  3. Snow’s BBQ-Lexington-4.75

  4. Louie Mueller Barbecue -Taylor-4.75

  5. Killen’s Barbeque-Pearland-4.75

  6. John Mueller Meat Co.-Austin-4.5

  7. La Barbecue-Austin-4.5

  8. Lockhart Smokehouse-Dallas-4.5

  9. Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue-Jefferson-4.5

  10. Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ-Llano-4.5

  11. Opie’s Barbecue-Spicewood-4.5

  12. Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue-Tyler-4.5

  13. Fargo’s Pit BBQ-Bryan-4.5

  14. Kirby’s Barbeque-Mexia-4.5

  15. Black’s Barbecue-Lockhart-4.25

  16. Kreuz Market-Lockhart-4.25

  17. Micklethwait Craft Meats-Austin-4.25

  18. Miller’s Smokehouse-Belton-4.25

  19. Bodacious Bar-B-Que-Longview-4.25

  20. BBQ on the Brazos-Cresson-4.25

  21. Cousin’s Bar-B-Q-Ft Worth-4.25

  22. Buzzie’s Bar-B-Que-Kerrville-4.25

  23. Hutchin’s BBQ-McKinney-4.25

  24. Cranky Franks Barbecue Co.-Fredericksburg-4.25

  25. City Meat Market-Giddings-4.25

  26. Brooks’ Place-Cypress-4.25

  27. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue-Austin-4.25

  28. Austin’s BBQ & Catering-Eagle Lake-4.25

  29. Meshack’s Bar-B-Que-Garland-4.25

  30. Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering-Houston-4.25

  31. Cowpoke’s -Pearsall-4.25

  32. Two Bros. BBQ Market-San Antonio-4.25

  33. Corkscrew BBQ-Spring-4.25

  34. Schmidt Family BBQ-Bee Cave-4.0

  35. Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew-Austin-4.0

  36. Hays Co. Bar-B-Que-San Marcos-4.0

  37. Bob’s Bar-B-Que-Henderson-4.0

  38. Blue Moon Barbecue-Normangee-4.0

  39. Tyler’s Barbecue-Amarillo-4.0

  40. The Granary ‘Cue & Brew-San Antonio-4.0

  41. The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q-Amarillo-4.0

  42. McMillan’s Bar-B-Q-Fannin-4.0

  43. Longoria’s BBQ-Ft Worth-4.0

  44. Leon’s World’s Finest Bar-B-Q-Galveston-4.0

  45. Bartley’s Bar-B-Que-Grapevine-4.0

  46. Virgie’s Bar-B-Que-Houston-4.0

  47. Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ-Jasper-4.0

  48. Hitch-N-Post BBQ-Livingston-4.0

  49. City Market-Luling-4.0

  50. Hatfield’s BBQ-Rockport-4.0

    Other Texas barbecue joints I have eaten at (this list only includes Texas joints), some have ratings in Texas Monthly, some do not:

  51. Naaman’s Championship BBQ-Texarkana-NR - I’d give it a 4.75, it's that good.

  52. Meat Church-Waxahachie-NR - I’d give it a 4.5

  53. Heim Barbecue(will at Red Dirt)-Ft Worth-4.0

  54. Slovacek’s (sausage only)-Snook-NR - I’d give it a 4.0

  55. The Slow Bone-Dallas-3.75

  56. Country Tavern (ribs only)-Kilgore-3.75

  57. Dubya’s Smokehouse (ribs only)-Hawkins-NR - I’d give it a 3.5

  58. The Salt Lick-Driftwood-3.25

  59. Freedmen’s Bar & BBQ-Austin-3.0

  60. Bet the House BBQ-Denton-3.0

  61. Longhorn Smokehouse -Big Sandy-NR - I’d give it a 3.0

  62. Rudy’s BBQ-Tyler & Bryan-NR - I’d give it a 3.0

  63. Soulman’s Bar-B-Que-Royce City-NR - I’d give it a 2.5

  64. Big Jake’s BBQ-Texarkana-NR - I’d give it a 2.5

  65. Randy’s Smokehouse-New Boston-NR - I’d give it a 2.0

  66. Bishop’s Brisket House-Palestine-NR - I’d give it a 2.0

  67. Dickey’s BBQ-Buffalo-NR - I’d give it a 1.0

  68. Billy Sims Barbecue-Texarkana-NR - I’d give it a 1.0
A word about those little fire pits at The Salt Lick.  I found it hard to believe that the small fire pits on display could really cook all the meat required to feed 2000 people.  And, Daniel Vaughn, editor of Texas Monthly Barbecue, couldn’t believe it either…and he said this about his visit: “I hung back at the stacks of live oak waiting for someone to come grab a few sticks. Before long an amicable pit man came out and I asked about the pits in the kitchen. Without a hint of shame, he said there were six gas-fired (presumably Southern Pride or Ole Hickory) smokers where they smoke the meat overnight. The meat is then refrigerated and basically reheated for about three hours on the direct heat pits on display. I’m not saying this man should be ashamed of how the meat is smoked, but it’s obvious the owner was trying to hide it in a recent interview. If you’ve already got 2000 customers waiting in line for your food on a Saturday, why be deceiving about how the meat is smoked?” 

Even though some people rave about Salt Lick barbecue, personally I wouldn’t even give it the 3.25 that Texas Monthly did.  I think Daniel is being VERY nice rating them that high.  Texas Monthly has Freedmen’s in Austin, and Bet the House in Denton, both rated at 3.0, and I think they are both better than Salt Lick.  My rating for Salt Lick would be maybe a 2.75.  They’re kind of between one of our poor local joints, Big Jake’s, and Rudy’s.  It’s more a novelty than a good barbecue joint.  And, it is a fun place to visit.  But, I think it’s really for city slickers and Texas visitors.  But, if they’re rating Texas barbecue based on this place, they are missing out.

So, what do other Texas barbecue guys think about Texas barbecue joints?  Are there any others in your area that I need to try?
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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Thread starter
Jun 3, 2013
Texarkana, USA
Weev, if you're heading down to Austin on a trip, and want to eat some good barbecue while down here, let me see if I can help you a little more. 

First, I'd skip Franklin's...unless you don't mind standing in line for 4 hours.  And, if you don' is amazing barbecue and definitely something to do.  But, if you don't want to waste time standing in line all morning one day, let me suggest a few others: 

John Mueller Meat Co. - Aaron Franklin got his start in Austin working for John.  John is Wayne Mueller's brother.  Wayne is the pitmaster at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, about 35 miles north of of the oldest and most famous joints in the area...with amazing barbecue.  Anyway, John's brisket and beef ribs are amazing.  You won't be disappointed.

La Barbecue - La Barbecue is owned by LeAnn Mueller, John and Wayne's sister.  La Barbecue used to be JMiller BBQ (John Mueller's).  But, John went out of business for the second time and supposedly owed LeAnn money, so she took his business and renamed it La Barbecue.  She also hired one of Aaron Franklin's pitmasters, John Lewis, to run the show...although John has since left and opened up his own joint, I think in South Carolina.  Once again, brisket and beef ribs are amazing.

Then there's Micklethwait's Craft Meats - Once again, great brisket...and Tom's pork spare ribs are great...with some of the best sausage around. 

And, let me say this about Stiles Switch.  Even though Texas Monthly only gives them a 4.0 rating, I think they're also one of the best, and I would put them up there in the 4.5 range.  Once again, the brisket and beef ribs are absolutely amazing.  Shane Stiles is a great guy, and his pitmaster, Lance Kirkpatrick, worked at Louie Mueller's for 10 years.  Shane grew up in Taylor, eating Louie Mueller barbecue...and that's what they strive to emulate at Stiles Switch.  They are up on the north side of Austin, have a great beer selection, and it is a great place to visit and eat.

I also think Freedmen's Bar & BBQ downtown is a lot better than the 3.0 rating they got from Texas Monthly.  And, it is definitely in a cool old building and has a great bar. 

So, as you can see, other than Micklethwait's and Freedmen's all of these other great joints can trace their lineage back to Louie Mueller's in Taylor. 

Oh, I'd also suggest skipping The Salt Lick, if you are looking for great Texas barbecue.  But, if you just want to experience the spectacle, it's worth the trip down to Driftwood. 

Good luck! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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