In Texas, barbecue isn’t just a backyard activity, it’s an institution, and a contentious one at that. Different regions of Texas have their own styles and preferences, though beef brisket remains the king of cooked meats throughout the whole state. Delve deep into the barbecue world and you’ll come across numerous factions, each one strongly devoted to their own idea of what constitutes perfect barbecue: sauce vs. no sauce, dry rub vs. baste, sweet vs. spicy, and so on. But who does barbecue best? Of course, everyone has their own opinion, but we believe we’ve come up with the top barbecue spots you can find in the Lone Star State.
This Lockhart mainstay dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It’s one of the oldest and most respected barbecue joints in the state. The place is known for its exceptional, perfectly cooked meats, and also known for its steadfast resistance against sauce. If you want to request sauce on your barbecue here, you’ll have no such luck. This joint operates on a strict BYOS policy.
Before being declared the best Texas barbecue spot by Texas Monthly in 2008, this small and humble establishment in Lexington was known primarily by the locals as a place that served some of the best beef brisket around. It hasn’t changed anything since its clientele blew up. The owners still open Snow’s only on Saturdays at 8 am. The meat usually runs out by noon. If you want to get a taste of Lexington’s best, get here early.
Aaron Franklin started out with a backyard smoker, experimenting with beef brisket. His wife and his friends pushed him to open up his own joint in an East Austin parking lot. The rest is history. Since then, Aaron Franklin has won some of the highest honors in barbecue and his restaurant has been relocated to a permanent brick and mortar establishment. Every Tuesday-Sunday, huge lines form at Franklin Barbecue starting from 11 am. Get there early and be prepared for a long wait. A meal at Franklin is not just a meal, it’s an event.
This Dallas barbecue joint is a few years young, but it’s already among the best of them. The Pecan Lodge is known to serve meat that nearly melts in the mouth along with the most delectable sides you can find in the state, including collard greens and mac and cheese. Among their accolades is Best Newcomer from Texas Monthly.
Texas is sure to breed some more excellent barbecue in the future. Be on the lookout for new barbecue joints in your neighborhood and check them out. Who knows? You may just come across a spot that will join the pantheon of near-perfect barbecue.