Nobody *needs* a reason to road trip through Texas. But I have the perfect one for you just in case: BBQ. Mouthwatering brisket, tender beef ribs and all the delicious side dishes—okay, make that several reasons a great BBQ experience is worth the drive. And if you’re like me, you’re due for a trip after being stuck at home the past year! Come with me on this adventure as we explore 5 Texas BBQ spots and things to do around the area that you can add to your #TexasToDo list.

Gatlin's BBQ. Houston, TX

Starting off our trip in north Houston, we first checked out Gatlin's BBQ, a local family-owned BBQ spot that has won the hearts of Houstonians by serving up classic Southern BBQ.

You can’t go to a BBQ spot and not order brisket, so I got 1/2 lb. of brisket with some spare ribs, turkey spicy sausage, wings, mac & cheese, creamed corn, dirty rice, baked beans and yams. The brisket itself was tender. The meat was not too lean and not extremely fatty either. The crust was covered in a delicious smoky layer that proved that the long hours of smoking this brisket were worth it. If you love a good side dish, make sure to try their creamed corn, mac & cheese and dirty rice as well.

  • What to try: Brisket, Baby Back Ribs, Creamed Corn, Mac & Cheese & Dirty Rice
  • Nearby Activities & Accommodations: About 1 hour from Gatlin’s BBQ, you’ll find Willis, Texas, where you can go for a hike at the Sam Houston National Forest or enjoy a beautiful scene of nature at Huntsville State Park. If you’re planning an overnight stay in the area, you can check in at the Historic Hill House and Farm for a night of rest.

Fargo's Pit BBQ. Bryan, TX

Next up, head over to Bryan, Texas, to check out Fargo’s Pit BBQ, located right down the road from Texas A&M University!

Upon entering, you will be greeted with true southern hospitality (a big smile and a warm welcome). The man who took my order was very friendly and helpful. I ordered their famous brisket along with smoked chicken, pork ribs, a variety of side dishes and a slice of cake. The brisket had a nice layer of fat, and the meat was tender with a hint of smokiness. The smoked chicken was surprisingly delicious! The meat was juicy, tender and flavorful. My favorite part was the chicken skin, which absorbed all of the seasoning and was infused with a delicious smoky BBQ flavor. While you are there, don’t forget to grab a slice of pound cake and a sweet tea for a little road trip snack.

  • What to try: Brisket, Chicken & Pound Cake
  • Nearby Activities & Accommodations: If you’re looking to stay overnight, I highly recommend staying at Cavalry Court or The George. They are both located inside of Century Square, a beautiful shopping area featuring retail stores, bars, entertainment and restaurants. You can easily walk across the street to check out the Gardens at Texas A&M University or visit the Bonfire Memorial.

Corkscrew BBQ. Spring, TX

Back in Houston, we decided to try two spots in one day. The first is located in the Spring area north of Houston, and I have to say, this BBQ spot has officially become one of my favorites for an all-around BBQ experience! The brisket here is tender, moist, smoky and melts in your mouth. The jalapeño sausage is cheesy and a great addition to the meal. Also, try the turkey because this place knows what they’re doing, and it’s cooked to perfection. I always feel hesitant to get turkey at a BBQ place, but the turkey here is juicy and flavorful. Lastly, to complete this perfect meal, you need to save room for their peach cobbler. It’s the epitome of comfort food dessert and perfectly balanced my taste buds at the end of the meal.

  • What to try: Brisket, Jalapeño Sausage, Turkey & Peach Cobbler
  • PRO TIP: They may sell out by mid-afternoon, so check the @corkscrewbbq Instagram for updates.

Killen’s Barbecue. Pearland, TX

For our second stop of the day, we are going to visit one of Texas’ best BBQ spots! Both food enthusiasts and national and local news outlets have ranked Killen’s Barbecue highly, so it’s safe to say that they’re a Texas BBQ staple!

Since they’re well known for their slow-smoked brisket and beef ribs, these are a must when you visit. I was feeling adventurous, so I also ordered their BBQ wings with fries, creamed corn, mac & cheese, brussels sprouts, baked beans, bread pudding and crème brûlée cheesecake. The brisket was tender and flavorful. The beef ribs were even more tender and falling off the bone. I barely picked it up from the plate, and the meat just slid off by itself ... that’s how tender the meat was (the beef ribs are worth the wait). Also, the brisket and beef ribs had a great smoke ring and bark that tasted amazing. As if this isn’t already enough to give you a good food coma, their side dishes are a must! My personal favorite side was the creamed corn. And as always, you have to leave room for dessert! I highly recommend the bread pudding and crème brûlée cheesecake. The bread pudding is slightly crispy on top and soft/gooey at the bottom with tres leches milk poured on top. The crème brûlée cheesecake also has a slightly crispy top and is soft on the inside. I love that both desserts weren’t overly sweet.

  • What to try: Brisket, Beef Ribs, BBQ Wings, Fries, Creamed Corn, Brussels Sprouts, Bread Pudding & Creme Brûlée Cheesecake

Pinkerton’s Barbecue. Houston, TX

To close out the Houston BBQ road trip, head toward the Greater Heights area. If you are looking for a classic southern BBQ spot, you might already be familiar with Pinkerton’s as it’s one of the go-to places.

Per usual, I went in with a big appetite and ordered a couple of things to try. I got both the lean and fatty briskets, pulled pork, jalapeño cheese sausage, mac & cheese, baked beans, potato salad and blueberry cobbler. I also wanted to try the beef ribs, but unfortunately, they were sold out by early afternoon. The brisket was moist, tender and delicious as expected. The pulled pork was top notch and probably some of the most tender I’ve ever had! The jalapeño cheese sausage was nice and juicy. The side dishes were all very subtle in terms of flavors. To round out the meal, if you’re a fan of cobbler, the blueberry cobbler might be worth a try.

  • What to try: Brisket, Beef Ribs, Pulled Pork, Jalapeño Cheese Sausage & Blueberry Cobbler.