Best BBQ in Texas? Now that’s a heated question. Brisket (lean or fatty), ribs (pork or beef) or sausage (regular or spicy)? Or do you love the sides? Creamed corn, green beans, baked beans, cobbler and pie.
Koko here from A Taste of Koko, an Austin-based food blog, and I’m going on a road trip to find the best BBQ spots in Central Texas! Here’s my four-day itinerary.
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
My first stop on this four-day BBQ road trip through Texas was to Llano, Texas, for Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. We do have a Cooper’s in Austin, but this is the original location. Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que is on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ list and home of the original World Famous “Big Chop.”
We loved the beef rib, smoked baked potato (soaked in BBQ meat juices and then smoked on the pit) and green beans.
Visit Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
You’ll want to walk off all that BBQ, so put on your hiking shoes and go to Enchanted Rock. It’s a massive pink granite dome that rises above Central Texas. Reservations are required in advance: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/enchanted-rock
Go on a Search for Texas Bluebonnets
The best time to see Texas bluebonnets is from the end of April into May, and the best spots are Willow City Loop, Muleshoe Bend and Highway 29 East and West. You can still see different Texas wildflowers throughout the summer.
Relax at Stay Luce Carriage House
We checked into this local Airbnb in Llano for the night!
Truth Barbeque is a popular stop between Austin and Houston, but this BBQ spot is worth a trip on its own. Truth Barbeque was started by Leonard Botello IV in 2015 as a roadside outpost and in the past couple of years has gained critical acclaim with its placement at #10 best BBQ restaurant in Texas on the Texas Monthly Top 50 BBQ list.
This was our favorite spot on this road trip for both the meats and sides! We ordered The Trinity — 1 lb of brisket, 1 lb of ribs, 1 lb of sausage and 2 quarts of sides (that’s 4 pints!). Loved the brisket, tater tot casserole, corn pudding, homemade pickles, potato roll sliced bread and the banana pudding. Truth Barbeque also sells cakes by the slice or whole.
Visit Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site
Located nearby is the picturesque Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. There are plenty of fascinating places to explore here, including the Barrington Living History Farm and the Star of the Republic Museum, not to mention space for picnicking and bird-watching.
Stay at Country Dome Suites
I was looking for somewhere to stay near Brenham after eating at Truth Barbeque and stumbled upon these dome suites in nearby Kenney. They look tiny online, but they’re actually really spacious on the inside with a full-size queen bed, bathroom, kitchen and dining area. Very unique experience!
From Brenham, we set off for Lockhart, Texas.
Lockhart is one of the most popular cities in Texas for BBQ, and we started our exploration at Kreuz Market. This German market has been smoking meat in Lockhart, Texas, since 1901. Charles Kreuz Sr. came from a family of German immigrants and brought that heritage to his BBQ, smoking Texas-raised cattle and pork over native post oak wood.
We loved the beef rib, brisket, green beans and creamed corn. Kreuz also has German-style potatoes and sauerkraut! Don’t miss the live music every Sunday at 1 p.m.
There is a Black’s Barbecue in Austin, but this is the original Black’s Barbecue. It opened in 1932 and is the oldest BBQ joint in Texas continuously owned by the same family!
You have to get the giant beef ribs ($20.99 per pound)! Black’s also has sweet corn muffins, jalapeño corn muffins, cobbler, banana pudding and pies by the slice or whole with ice cream. Black’s also sells frozen sausage, whole chicken and turkey.
Smitty’s Market was the last spot we went in Lockhart, and we thought they had the best sausage! This popular downtown institution offers an array of mouthwatering meats, sides and beer. Cash and check only.
Check in at South Congress Hotel
From Lockhart, we went back to Austin for a staycation at South Congress Hotel. This is one of my favorite hotels in Austin for its location, which puts a lot of restaurants and shops within walking distance.
Explore the Blanton Museum of Art
Located on the University of Texas at Austin campus, the Blanton Museum of Art is one of my favorite museums in Austin. Recognized for its wide-ranging collection of paintings, prints and drawings, as well as Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin installation, the Blanton holds the largest public art collection in Central Texas.
SUP on Lady Bird Lake
Stand-up paddleboarding on Lady Bird Lake is probably my favorite activity in Austin, especially during sunset! Rowing Dock is one the best entry points to the lake.
Visit the Zilker Botanical Garden
Everyone knows about Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool, but not as many are aware of the Zilker Botanical Garden. This lush urban spot offers 28 acres of gorgeous views and beautiful nature. And did you know we have a Japanese garden hidden inside the Zilker Botanical Garden? Make sure to check out the Taniguchi Japanese Garden when you visit.
Reservations are required in advance: https://zilkergarden.doubleknot.com/event/day/admission/23355
The very last stop on this BBQ road trip was at Terry Black’s in Austin on Barton Springs Road. Out of all the beef ribs we had on this trip, Terry Black’s was hands down the best. We also loved the moist brisket and sides like creamed corn and green beans. Make sure to check out Terry Black’s wine and beer selection.