With upwards of 2,500 BBQ joints in Texas, there is great BBQ all across the Lone Star State.

Texas BBQ has always been a vast melting pot of styles. Beloved techniques used in cooking barbecue come from a variety of culinary traditions: from indigenous methods to Mexican techniques to African foodways to the cooking traditions of central Europe. While some think the Texas trinity of brisket, ribs, and sausage is the most important feature of any menu, take a trip around Texas and you’ll see there’s no one way to feast on meat. In fact, Texas BBQ joints are experimenting more with fusion fare than ever before. Let’s take a tour of how global cuisine has influenced Texas BBQ.

KG BBQ - Austin

Kareem El-Ghayesh, owner and pitmaster of KG BBQ, had never heard of Texas BBQ when he visited the states from his home in Cairo, Egypt. One bite of brisket and he was hooked — so much so that he changed his life, moving to the states, giving up a career in finance, and learning about BBQ from different joints across Texas. As he learned the ropes of cooking Texas BBQ, he began integrating flavors and techniques from Egyptian cuisine. From a food truck outside a brewery in East Austin, Kareem serves up brisket shawarma, brisket rice bowls, and smoked lamb chops, as well as the ever-present Texas Trinity, though everything he cooks shows some Egyptian flair. Ribs come seasoned with a unique Egyptian influenced rub and are glazed with pomegranate molasses and a finishing layer of za’atar. Sides include pink potato salad flavored with beets and dill, as well as Egyptian-style rice. In addition to BBQ sauce, you’ll find tahini, chimichurri sauce, and yogurt garlic sauce.

Khoi Barbecue - Houston

Brothers Don and Theo Nguyen started their “Viet-Tex” BBQ fusion pop-up as a way to document the types of recipes their mother would make them, while also incorporating elements of their experience growing up in Texas. Khoi means smoke in Vietnamese, and you’ll find no shortage of smoky flavor in their dishes. The menu constantly evolves, but highlights include whole hog pork served over rice or vermicelli noodles with their Khoi curry sauce. Brisket pho and beef rib dry ramen are also specials from past pop-ups. In addition to these everchanging specials, the Khoi Barbecue brothers offer up their takes on the Texas Trinity — another example of a joint that practices fusion, but with a firm handle on the BBQ building blocks Texans hold dear.

Loro | Asian Smokehouse and Bar - Austin, Dallas, and Houston 

The brainchild of the chefs behind Franklin BBQ and Uchi, Loro is more fusion restaurant than joint, but its smokehouse bonafides make it an excellent selection that pairs Texas BBQ and Asian cuisine for a slightly more upscale experience. You’ll find excellent smoked brisket, salmon, and other unique cuts of meat. Try them in a bowl with rice or noodles and Loro’s selection of pickled vegetables and piquant condiments. Before the main event, enjoy small plates like wonton chips and dip, crunchy sweet corn fritters, or oak grilled edamame. Loro also has a fine selection of cocktails, wines, and local beers. With large, inviting tables, and a counter order system, Loro is a great choice for larger groups, especially if you didn’t have time to make reservations.

Smoke ’N Ash BBQ - Arlington

Patrick and Fasicka Hicks bring the cooking traditions of their two cultures together to produce something new in BBQ. Patrick hails from Waco, while Fasicka is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Ethiopian influence on Patrick’s BBQ ranges from the subtle —  pecans spiced with berbere spice in the Texas sheet cake — to their more dramatic Texas-Ethiopian ribs, doused in a red sauce called awaze, a spicy, savory sauce made with Ethiopian herbs and spices. Another, more purely Ethiopian dish is a chicken stew called doro wat — but to give it a little Texas flair, Patrick smokes the chicken before it’s stewed. Smoke ’N Ash also serves injera, a spongy bread lovers of Ethiopian food will recognize. The injera is so good you might wonder why anyone has been having BBQ with white bread all these years.