Texas is the epicenter of the BBQ world. There are thousands of BBQ joints sprinkled across the state like a perfectly applied dry rub. But it’s not just the quantity of locations that sets our BBQ apart. No, no—our obsession runs much deeper.
Remarkably simple yet devastatingly complex
For the uninitiated, that first bite of Texas BBQ is a rite of passage that will have you hooked. Visitors flock to Texas for a taste of perfectly smoked meat, and fans across the globe attempt to replicate our flavors.
It all starts with the meat. In Texas, that means beef—specifically brisket. And many of the top BBQ joints in Texas—such as Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Cattleack Barbeque in Dallas and Corkscrew BBQ in Spring—use prime cuts for a more tender, juicier result.
Something this good simply takes time. And here, the best BBQ is dry rubbed and wood-smoked, low and slow. Often, that can be north of 14 hours, like at East Texas icon Bodacious Bar-B-Q, which smokes their brisket for as long as 26 hours.
It’s Texas Tradition
Our BBQ has a rich history that can be traced back to the influences of Native American, Mexican and African American cooking techniques. Their mark on Texas BBQ can still be seen in the saucy chopped beef of East Texas and in the traditional barbacoa from places like Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Que in Brownsville.
German and Czech immigrants settled in Central Texas and brought their sausage-making traditions with them, as represented at iconic joints like Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market in Lockhart and Southside Market in Elgin.
This mix of influences means that although modern Texas BBQ is thought of as mainly smoked brisket, our BBQ is as diverse as our people and includes pulled pork, tender ribs and more. No matter where you go across the state, you’re sure to find something new to enjoy.
The Whole Texas BBQ Experience
The smell of smoked meat wafting through the air. The old wooden picnic tables and trailers. The butcher paper that doubles as a plate. The music and drinks. Even the wait (and yes, there’s usually a wait).
What makes Texas BBQ so special isn’t just the meal itself (although, great pilgrimages have begun for less). It’s that Texas BBQ is so much more than a meal. Few places epitomize this like Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, whose pitmaster is the incomparable Tootsie Tomanetz. Of course, there are many others (The Salt Lick in Driftwood and Angelo’s BBQ in Fort Worth to name a couple).
The truth is that an authentic BBQ experience can be found in a lot of places. But one worthy of obsession can only be found in Texas.