What is a trip through Texas without good Texas BBQ? The only problem is that there is so much good BBQ. It’s a science to have that perfect pit meet the perfect pitmaster who knows how to balance the right quality of meat, the optimum time on the smoke for fall-off-the-bone tenderness and the blending of seasonings to give that satisfying crust that still brings out the flavors of the meat. And we haven’t even started on the sides? Sometimes it’s beans and coleslaw, and sometimes you get all the fixin’s with mac ‘n’ cheese or even the famous Texas Twinkies.
Having so much BBQ in Texas is a good dilemma to have. Why worry about choosing just one when you can simply make a road trip out of all the incredible food that can be found. Since there are multiple regions in Texas, we’ll take it one at a time, because there’s no way you can try all the BBQ in just one road trip. We’re starting the BBQ road trip in Dallas and hitting up the North Texas and Central Texas regions. We’ve got five towns and three days and all the BBQ you could dream of!
Texas BBQ Road Trip Day 1
We’re starting off this Texas BBQ Road Trip with a real treat at Hutchins BBQ! From the entrance, you immediately get a view of the smokers and the wood laying out front. Here, you have to get the full spread. With massive beef ribs and their popular brisket, it’s easy to want a little bit of everything. The thing that absolutely can’t be missed is their Texas Twinkies, a jalapeño wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cream cheese and brisket! Afterwards, you can indulge in their complimentary peach cobbler and banana pudding with a topping of ice cream in an all-you-can-eat, serve-yourself style.
For a little break to walk off that BBQ, head out to the Texas Sculpture Garden. This free attraction consists of 40 sculptures spread out across acres of property. It’s a bit of a scavenger hunt to find some of the art pieces, but that makes it part of the adventure. Afterwards, hop into the car for our next destination! Luckily, we’re not going too far.
The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is 110 acres of carefully curated gardens, with winding paths, rose gardens, Texas native plants and more. Stop in through the Japanese Garden and feed the koi.
Heim BBQ is all about the low and slow with farm-to-table BBQ. Located in the Fairmount/Southside Historic District, you’re surrounded by beautiful shops and local eateries, but Heim is the one we’re heading to. Switch things up a bit with the original bacon burnt ends or their green chile mac ‘n’ cheese (add some brisket in that).
Right next door is Magnolia Wine Bar, where you can sit and relax with a good glass of wine while enjoying a conversation of all the good BBQ you can have.
Check in for the night at the Texas White House Bed & Breakfast. Each room has its own unique design and theme, but they all hold on to that heart of Texas. With clawfoot tubs and a scenic outdoor sitting area, it’s the perfect place to end a day of good BBQ.
Texas BBQ Road Trip Day 2
A quick trip south of Dallas and you’ll be in the small town of Cedar Hill with charming historic homes to tour and our next spot for some great BBQ. Harris Bar-B-Que seems unassuming on the outside, but people travel from all over, and it ranks high on some of the top Texas BBQ lists. This family-run joint focuses on really digging into that smoky taste for a one-of-a-kind flavor. Their ribs are a must.
You can even take your BBQ to go for a scenic picnic on the beaches of Cedar Hill State Park. With hiking trails and some sandy shores along Joe Pool lake, whose waters spread for miles, you might just forget you’re on the mainland. And if you go at the right time, you’ll get the stunning bluebonnets to go along with your BBQ.
Before making it down to Waco, take a stop in West for a little Czech snack break. West is famous for their fruit and sausage kolaches, with multiple spots for a little gas fill up and these tasty treats. With so many different spots within just a couple of miles, it might take a few trips to try them all. We recommend a stop at Gerik’s. Tucked away just a minute off the highway, you’ll find all the fruit-flavored kolaches. Mix in some sausage and cheese kolaches or go for their popular skunk eggs. Their unique additions include massive cinnamon rolls with fun flavors like red velvet cake and strawberry shortcake.
Before the BBQ, there are some great attractions to check out throughout Waco! Visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument to see the dig shelter where mammoth fossils were found right in Waco. Even if you’re not a Dr Pepper fan, the Dr Pepper Museum is three stories of all of the Dr Pepper history and culture you never knew you wanted. Did you know there was a celery soda once? You can even schedule a time to make your own soda here. For some pre-BBQ drinks, Balcones Distillery offers flights to taste their different Texas-made whiskeys and other spirits.
Make sure to plan your trip to Guess Family Barbecue accordingly as they sometimes have early hours. Here you’ll get an old-school-style brisket. For people who want a little bit of everything, order the Meat Sweats, or you can even get a whole brisket! Another thing where Guess Barbecue shines is their sausages, where they have the garlic sausage link and cheddar sausage link.
For a restful night, Gathering Oaks Retreat has tiny cottages with plush beds and wide-open space for playing outdoor games, swimming in the pool and relaxing by the fire.
It’s time to come full circle with this Texas BBQ road trip. Get to Pecan Lodge early because their brisket burnt ends and their beef ribs sell out fast. With that perfect balance of flavor and tenderness, it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. In addition to the staple BBQ items, Pecan Lodge has a BBQ sweet potato with brisket on top that switches things up a bit.
Walk right next door for a sweet treat at Picolé Pops. Mix it up with their strawberry cheesecake pop dipped in chocolate or grab a margarita pop! They have plenty of fun flavors to choose from.
Before our last BBQ stop, see the beauty of Dallas with a free McKinney trolley ride where you can park in West Village and take a ride in a historic trolley while taking in the sites of Dallas. It goes all the way to the free Dallas Museum of Art and Klyde Warren Park where you can see all the art and go for a leisurely stroll.
End your BBQ trip with hotspot Smokey John’s that first started in 1976 and combines soul food and traditional Texas BBQ. You’ll often see the brothers in the day-to-day operations, and they’re always switching things up, like their Saturday brisket queso and their secret menu items. They even have a specialty sandwich topped with brisket, sausage, coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese and cheese! It’s massive but worth every bite.