And finding barbecue that even compares to my dad’s (who has never and will never set foot in Texas, because it’d require him to get on an airplane, and he’s not ever going to do that) isn’t gonna happen at all. But I digress.
Texans take their barbecue very seriously, and somehow the Lone Star State continues to beat out other legendary BBQ locales, like Memphis, Kansas City, North Carolina and Alabama on these mainstream lists. So I recently asked you, soulcitizens, where to go for the Best BBQ in Austin (and surrounding areas). Here’s what you had to say:
- J. Leonardi’s. Meats sold by the pound with a la carte sides. The potato salad is good (and y’all should know I really only eat mine, my mama’s, and my grandma’s potato salad), and the jalapeño corn is amazing. J. Leonardi’s food truck is located at 1124 E. 11th St., on the same lot as Tony’s Jamaican.
- Sam’s BBQ. Sam’s reminds me of little country spots I’d stop in on road trips and somebody’s grandma would keep bringing me out samples of new things to try while I sat talking to the self-appointed mayor of some small town I’d never heard of, but whose stories would keep you sitting there all day. Oh, and the ‘cue is amazing, too. 2000 E. 12th St. Look for the MLK mural on the side.
- Lonestar Jack’s BBQ. Two former UT athletes grow up, fall in love and start a barbecue joint, leaning heavily on their families’ tradition of smoking meats. Nope, it’s not a Texas rom-com; it’s the story of Tevin Jackson and Nichole Denby-Jackson, owners of Lonestar Jack’s BBQ. Murals on the walls were created by local artists, and the Bee Cave eatery’s flavors make the drive out West way worth it. 3620 Ranch Road 620 South, Bee Cave
- Down South Texas BBQ. Smoked oxtails and a smoky spin on soul food complement traditional offerings, like brisket, sausage, and ribs. Visit the food truck at 1716 W. Howard Ln or check them out on Instagram before you visit.
Sandwiches and something different:
- Slab BBQ (partially black-owned). Slab stands for “slow, low and bangin.” They’re known for their sandwiches named after hip-hop references, like Notorious P.I.G., and Notorious ChickeN.W.A. There are a variety of sides to choose from, and if you order the banana pudding, it even comes with a cookie in the shape of the Notorious Christopher Wallace’s face. Check them out at one of three locations around the city.
- Brotherton’s Black Iron BBQ. Their claim to fame is their sandwiches made from their famous smoked meats. Try a smoked burger or pastrami if you’re in the mood for something different than the traditional brisket and ribs. John Brotherton is the owner of another successful restaurant in Round Rock too, Liberty BBQ. Visit Brotherton’s website, or just drop in on them at 15608 Spring Hill Ln Suite 105, Pflugerville
- Rollin Smoke BBQ. Open later than most spots (9 on the weekdays, 10 on Fridays, and 11 on Saturdays), Rollin Smoke offers traditional ‘cue, tacos, sandwiches, and more. Check out their food truck at 1501 E. 6th St
Other crowd favs:
- Terry Black’s Barbecue. Four generations of pit masters (and a little family controversy). Terry Black’s has locations in Dallas, Austin and will soon be opening one in Houston. Check out their website or visit them at their Austin location: 1003 Barton Springs Rd.
- Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. Great BBQ and craft brews. What more do we need to say? Check out Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew at 6610 N. Lamar, or their new Cedar Park location: 800 W. Whitestone Blvd. Ste. A-1
- La Barbecue. Three words: House. Cured. Bacon. La Barbecue pays homage to the owner’s German roots with a combination of salty and savory spices and rubs. 2401 E. Cesar Chavez
Did we miss your favorite spot? Comment below, or email me to call out the omission and make a case for why your fav should be included.
Best in the Citi is a new monthly guidebook column highlighting the things you need to know about living your best Black life in Austin, Texas. From food to goods and services and people you should know — we’ve got you covered.