4 mins

The best BBQ joints in Texas

Sticky, hunky, juicy... yummy! What's not to love about Texan BBQ meats? Here's where to find the best

The best BBQ joints in Texas
We're hooked on southern America-style barbecue joints. Their slow-cooked meaty greatness has fuelled a worldwide revolution: everywhere from London to Sydney, you'll find trendy eateries serving tender, spicy and sweet hunks of beef – but are you getting the genuine article?

Chances are, you're not. The one place in the world that guarantees you're getting momma's hand-me-down recipe, is Texas. Texans take barbeque very seriously, slow-cooking some of the sauciest meats they can find.

In other American states, barbecue styles are dependent on the sauces, but in Texas it's all about the meat: great cuts of beef prepared in various ways with recipes that have been handed down through generations.

There are different varieties of Texan barbecue, which can be divided into four general styles: east Texas, central Texas, south Texas, and west Texas. Additionally, in 'Deep South' Texas and along the Rio Grande valley, the locals love a Mexican style of meat preparation, known as barbacoa.

In east Texas, the beef is slowly cooked to the point that it is falling off the bone, typically over hickory wood, and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce.

In central Texas, brisket, sausage, and ribs are rubbed with spices and cooked for hours over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood.

For the west Texas style, the meat is cooked over direct heat from mesquite wood giving it a more bitter taste – known as 'cowboy style'.

The south Texas style features thick, molasses-like sauces that keep the meat very moist.

In the barbacoa tradition, meat is prepared in a hole dug in the ground and covered with maguey leaves.

Heading to Texas?

Don't miss these barbecue beauties...

Franklins Barbecue in Austin, opened in 2009 by Pitmaster Aaron Franklin. The method used here is post oak, indirect-heat pit. The restaurant started in a trailer but after a cult following was built for its meat, it moved to its current location of a cosy old brick building with cement floors, sixties-era décor, and a sound system that pumps out a steady diet of laid-back country tunes.

Pecan Lodge in Dallas, opened in 2010 by Pitmaster Justin Fouton. The method used here is mesquite and indirect heat-pit. Located in the Dallas Farmers Market, this restaurant is said to serve the best smoked meat in north Texas, and the beef sausage with fresh jalapeno and cheese is also strongly recommended.

Snow’s BBQ in Lexington opened in 2003 and is run by 78-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz, named by Texas Monthly as the ‘greatest female Pitmaster in Texas history’. The method used here is post oak, indirect-heat pit for brisket and direct-heat pit for everything else. This is a no-frills establishment where queues start early in the morning.

Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor has been in operation since 1949 and is currently run by Pitmaster Wayne Mueller who has been there since 2008. The methods used are post oak, indirect-heat pit.

The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q in Alamo opened in 1992, and is currently run by Pitmaster Arturo Lanteros. The method here is pecan; indirect-heat pit. The décor is described as ‘Little House on the Prairie chic’ and there is a large menu that includes Brisket tacos and fajita plates.

A trip to Texas for any barbeque fan would not be complete without a visit to Lockhart, located just under an hour away from Austin. Although the small town of Lockhart only has four barbeque restaurants, it is named the ‘Barbeque Capital of Texas’ and it is estimated that about 5,000 people visit each week to eat in the world famous Blacks Barbecue, Chisholm Trail BBQ, Kreuz Market, and Smitty’s Market.

There are also events dedicated to barbecue that take place across the state every month of the year. On 9 May, the TFW BBQ Cup Chase takes place in Georgetown, Hill Country, where over 30 barbecue teams compete in the annual competition. As well as watching the competitive cooking, spectators can also enjoy enjoy a washer tournament, live music and children's games.

On 17 May, the Texas Steak Cook-Off takes place in Hico in the Prairies & Lakes region. Here, dozens of backyard chefs compete to see who cooks the best steak in Texas. Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment, wine tastings and street vendors.

The Chisholm Trail Roundup "Barbecue Capital of Texas" Barbecue and Chili Cook-Off takes place in Lockhart on 6 June when cooks compete for prizes and bragging rights and spectators enjoy the sights and smells as well as live music.

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