BBQ Guide (Austin)

The Austin barbecue scene has been hot for a while. There are so many great choices to pick from. People flock from all over the world to chow down on some of the best smoked meats. When I want some 'cue for lunch, I have a tough time deciding and that is a good thing. This guide focuses on BBQ joints within the Austin city limits. There are a lot of them to weed through so hopefully this guide helps. I will create a separate one for restaurants within an hour drive. The guide in alphabetical order:

Black's Barbecue (Austin)
3110 Guadalupe Street, Austin, TX 78705 | 11 AM-9PM Sun-Thurs, 11 AM-10 PM Fri-Sat
Do not have time to go to Lockhart? That is a bummer. Lucky for you, you can now get a taste of Lockhart without driving there. The full menu is not available at this location but that is fine. Get the brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs, and sausage. Heck just order it all.


Brown's Bar-B-Que
1901 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704 | 11 AM-7 PM Thurs-Sat, 11 AM-5 PM Sun
You will find them next to Corner Bar. Get the brisket. Get the chicken. Get the cabbage. Yes. Get the smoked peach cobbler as well. Simple? Now go. If you go on Sundays after 3 PM and spend 10 bucks at Corner Bar, you get a free BBQ plate. Now that is a deal.

EastSide Tavern
1510 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 | 7 AM-10 PM Sun-Thurs, 7 AM-11 PM Fri-Sat
Want a place to hang out and unwind after a hectic work day? This is your spot. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. I am not sure where you would begin with the menu. So many choices. Brisket & tater tots? Smoked wings? Frito pie? Loaded baked potato? A BBQ burger/sandwich as big as your head? Or even a salad topped with brisket? Stop in at happy hour and grab a brew or a frosé. It is your call.

Loaded baked potato with chopped brisket

Franklin Barbecue
900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702 | 11 AM-sell out Tues-Sun
Yes, there will be a line. A very long line. It is worth the wait to get some of the best barbecue in the world. The brisket is the star. It might one of the best things that you will ever put in your mouth. The pork ribs are delicious and are almost falling off the bone. Get the Tipsy Texan while you are it. It is sandwich that has chopped beef and sausage with some coleslaw. A fantastic combination that is messy but tasty. Also a great value.

Tipsy Texan

Freedmen's Bar
2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705 | 11 AM-10 PM Tues-Wed, Sun, 11 AM-12 AM Thurs-Sat
Located in West Campus, this is somewhat a hidden gem. The brisket here used to be one of the best in the state. Do not get me wrong. It is still good but lacks the crunchy signature bark. Everything is smoked on the menu including desserts. Explore their cocktail menu and impressive bar. Hungover? Stop in Sunday and recover with their brunch.

Smoked banana pudding

Iron Works Barbecue
100 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701 | 11 AM-9 PM Mon-Sat
An Austin institution. Opened in 1978, easily the oldest restaurant on this list. The brisket is tender and good, but you will find something missing. Black pepper. They are known for their beef back ribs which are delicious but not as meaty if you compare them to the Instagram ready plate/dino beef ribs. If you have a busy schedule, they are open on Mondays and for dinner so you can always get your BBQ fix.

Brisket, beef back ribs, and sausage

Kerlin BBQ
1700 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702 | 11 AM-sell out Wed-Sun
This is the most underrated BBQ joint in town. There is never a line, and I have never understood that. Order everything off the menu, and you will thank me. The pecan smoke works well with the meats. The brisket is perfectly rendered, and the pork ribs are so tender and smoky. Get the brisket and cheese kolache as well. They are to die for.

La Barbecue
2027 E. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, Texas 78702 |11 AM-6ish Wed-Sun
Phenomenal brisket? Check. Great pork ribs? Check. Superb sausage? Check. You cannot go wrong here. Will there be a line? Of course, there will be because you are talking about an outstanding place. Do not forget to get a beef rib (weekends only). You will also find a great BBQ sandwich here. El Sancho. Get it loco style. You are looking at a three-meat plate between two buns. Brisket, pulled pork, hot guts. A sandwich bordering on being magical and crazy. You will not regret it.

Brisket, ribs, and slaw

Lambert's Downtown Barbecue
401 W 2nd St, Austin, Texas 78701 | 11 AM-3 PM , 5 PM-10 PM daily
Fancy barbecue? Sure it is, but does it matter? Their brisket is excellent. Slap your mother good (I do not condone violence). Their menu comprises more than just barbecue. Their baked mac and cheese is stellar. Try their appetizers. They also have happy hour specials. Order a few drinks. Do not miss out on their brunch. I would recommend making a reservation just in case.

Whole black Angus short rib

LeRoy & Lewis Barbecue
121 Pickle Rd, Austin, TX 78704 | 7 AM-9 PM Wed-Sun
Is there anything Evan LeRoy cannot cook? The man is a genius around the pit. You will not find your typical Texas BBQ, but it does not mean it is not any less delicious. I hate following their social media accounts. The menu changes every week, and because of that, I want to go every week. You will find smoked wings, beef cheeks, pork belly/shoulder, brisket fried rice, mac and cheese stuffed quail, brisket chocolate chip cookie, and so much more. My perfect day might be getting a bagel for breakfast, a lovely meat spread for lunch, and a burger for dinner. I would not even have to leave the parking lot.

L&L Burger

Micklethwait Craft Meats
1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702 | 11 AM-sell out, Tues- Sun
I had trouble pronouncing the name at first. That is probably the only thing wrong with this BBQ joint. The 'th" is silent in case you were wondering. I am a fan of all their smoked meats. Put on your running shoes and run here so you can beat the line. Tom has turned sausage making into an art/craft. The types of sausage smoked vary day to day. Lamb chorizo, kielbasa, and pork belly andouille to name a few. The smoked barbacoa is fantastic. The homemade bread is also fabulous. I do not like grits, but their cheesy grits have converted me. Do not forget the buttermilk pie. You have been warned.

Brisket Frito pie

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78757 | 11 AM-9 PM Tues-Thurs, Sun, 11 AM-10 PM Fri-Sat
We are talking about a no fuss barbecue joint. The BBQ is solid all the way around. They are open for dinner and serve local draft beers. The beef here is good. They have my favorite pork rib. It is glazed with a serrano pepper jelly. Sweet and spicy. Up my alley. The turkey is nice and juicy. Do not forget to grab a couple of the tasty sides. You never know, you might run into Matthew McConaughey here.

Pork ribs

Texas Ranch BBQ
3632 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704 | 11 AM- 5 PM Tues-Sun
You cannot go wrong with any of the smoked proteins on the menu. Brisket, ribs, sausage, and turkey. Roll a dice, and you will have a good meal any way you roll it. If you normally only order meats, do not do that here. Big mistake. Order a few sides. I really dig the mac and cheese, greens, and cream corn.

Brisket, ribs, turkey, mac and cheese, greens, and cream corn

Terry Black's Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704 | 11 AM-9 PM daily
Do not get intimidated by the line. They are built for efficiency with a lot of meat cutters available. Everything I have eaten has been cooked well. They are open 7 days a week pumping out great barbecue. Props to them for that. Do not ignore the sides or desserts when you are waiting in line. Take a tour of pits while you are here.


Valentina's Tex-Mex BBQ
1500 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78745 | 7:30 AM-9 PM daily (closed on first Mon of each month)
Smoked meats in a tortilla? The best idea ever. You can walk and eat at the same time. You might want to sit-down here though because the pure awesomeness might make you knees buckle. The brisket is great in a taco with guacamole, sandwich or by itself. The in-house made tortillas are not meant to be thrown at a football game. These are meant for good eating. The breakfast tacos are wonderful, and I always get the queso. Always get the queso. We are in Texas you know.

Until next time, happy smoking...

Popular Posts