Austin and BBQ go together like macaroni and cheese, like meat and potatoes, like tacos and Tuesdays. You get the idea. Austin is the hub for Central Texas BBQ, a local style characterized by smoky succulent meats cooked in wood-burning pits. If your mouth isn’t watering yet, it’s about to be. Here are ten of the best Austin Texas BBQ spots you should try.
Interstellar BBQ takes your taste buds on a cosmic journey with their otherworldly smoked meats- and we’re not the only ones who think so: this northeast Austin restaurant came in at #2 on Texas Monthly’s list of “50 Best BBQ Joints”. The local favorite, was opened by pitmaster John Bates and follows the “low and slow” philosophy. This BBQ strategy takes its time (literally) to create succulent BBQ dishes. Using top-quality ingredients, meats are cooked over wood—often mesquite—for hours, at times requiring a pit master to monitor the moisture and temperatures throughout the night.
While you can’t really go wrong with anything on Interstellar BBQ’s menu, you really don’t want to miss out on its perfectly tender brisket, served either as a classic cut or chopped with sauce. As a side? We recommend the smoked scalloped potatoes and for those that like some spice, the jalapeño slaw.
If the aromas coming from Terry Black’s BBQ don’t draw you in, the crowds of people waiting to eat some of Austin’s finest grub might. While lines move efficiently, the winding queue around the outside of the restaurant could have you feeling like you’re at the BBQ version of Disneyland. The family-run chain (with locations in Lockhart, Dallas, and Austin) specializes in smoky, tender, slow-cooked meats. These are paired with an assortment of traditional sides, like mac and cheese, cream corn, and tangy coleslaw.
One word: ribs. Terry Black’s BBQ is famous for its giant beef rib, which transforms into fall-off-the-bone goodness after eight hours on the grill. But if you can’t choose between the rib, brisket, or sausages, don’t worry. The restaurant charges by weight so you can put a bit of everything on your plate.
Stiles Switch BBQ has been serving smoked meats and Texas craft brews since 2011 at its location in the iconic Violet Crown Shopping Center (famously featured in the film Dazed and Confused). More recently, it also opened up a second location in Cedar Park. With a casual retro feel and a menu that includes all the Texas BBQ staples, from brisket to smoked chicken wings, it’s well worth a visit.
You won’t regret ordering the expertly seasoned brisket, pork ribs, or sausage at Stiles Switch BBQ. Heck, you can order all three along with two quarts of sides as part of the restaurant’s Texas Trinity family pack. We also have to give a shout-out to the delicious Texas Frito Pie (crunchy Fritos topped with smoked meat, cheese, beans, and sauces).
The female-owned BBQ joint serves up a range of dishes from its to-go counter, including brisket, pork ribs, sausage, and turkey. Don’t let the to-go counter name fool you, you can reliably count on the delicious food to bring a line of folks to have a taste. Their plates are served straight up, or on fresh potato buns with toppings like coleslaw and the restaurant’s special “Bobby sauce”, an homage to owner LeAnn Mueller’s dad, Bobby, who was an icon in the Texas BBQ scene.
One of la Barbecue’s signature dishes is its grass-fed local beef brisket cooked over Texas post oak for up to 16 hours. . Pair that with some chipotle slaw or potato salad, and you’ll be in BBQ heaven.
A newcomer to the Austin BBQ scene, Distant Relatives has quickly become a favorite. The food truck specializes in flavors and cooking methods inspired by “the African diaspora within the United States”, using pecan wood smoke, traditional preservation methods, and African ingredients like black-eyed peas and tamarind. Distant Relatives is stationed at Meanwhile Brewery, which has a spacious beer garden so you can eat the food hot off the BBQ.
You can’t go wrong with anything on Distant Relatives concise menu, but it does have some must-try dishes, including the chicken leg quarter with chili vinegar dip, burnt-ends with black-eyed-peas, and spiced pickled carrots.
The legendary Black’s BBQ has been serving mouthwatering smoked meats since 1932. Considered the pioneers of original Texas BBQ, Black’s is the ideal stop for folks looking for an authentic Texas experience. Today, Black’s BBQ is headed by Kent Black, a third-generation pitmaster and descendent of original owner Edgar Black Sr.
If you want to taste real Texas brisket, Black’s BBQ is the place. Slow-cooked over the course of 15 hours (plus resting time), there’s a reason people keep going back for more. The restaurant is also known for its traditional sausages made using the Black family’s original recipe and hand-stuffing techniques.
Franklin Barbecue is known and loved for many things: its retro diner decor, exciting sauces, and mouth-watering food, to name a few. The restaurant is owned by award-winning chef (and New York Times best-selling co-author) Aaron Franklin, whose love of BBQ has translated into some of the best smoked meats you can find. Oh, and like many good BBQ in Austin, there will be a line! However, that line has become part of the experience at Franklin’s. On weekends it’s not unusual for people to start lining up hours before they open and start impromptu tailgates. Those who get there early in the morning are often met with a food truck that serves breakfast tacos—a meal while you wait for another meal.
Franklin Barbecue is above all known for its tender, juicy brisket. People travel far and wide to savor the perfectly smoked cut of beef, which can sometimes sell out fast. If you’re headed there on a Saturday, you will also have the chance to try the excellent beef ribs—a weekend exclusive!
KG BBQ is a one-of-a-kind food truck that combines Egyptian flavors with local barbecue recipes. After falling in love with Texas BBQ, owner Kareem moved to the U.S. from Cairo to pursue his culinary dream. That dream has been realized as KG BBQ, where he serves classic brisket alongside seamlessly fused dishes, like pomegranate-glazed pork ribs and brisket shawarma.
KG BBQ has a few star items, including the food truck’s signature rice bowl brisket, which combines Mediterranean rice, tahini, nuts and pomegranate with smoked brisket, and the “Egyptian cowboy” mac and cheese, with cubed brisket, sumac pickled onions, and pomegranate BBQ sauce.
Run by Miguel and Modesty Vidal, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ is known for its Tejano take on Central Texas BBQ, combining local smoked meats with fresh flavors like cilantro, lime, and avocado. The food truck offers a unique menu that features the best of both cuisines, and lots of delicious crossovers.
Smoked brisket taco. Need we say more? The combination of brisket on a hand-rolled tortilla, with lime guacamole and tomato serrano salsa is distinctive and oh so flavorsome. We also recommend the food truck’s beef ribs, available only on the weekends.
Micklethwait Craft Meats has gained a serious reputation in Austin since it opened in 2012, selling delectable BBQ from a vintage trailer. Listed among Texas Monthly’s Ten Best BBQ Joints in Texas, the takeout restaurant has all the classics, like brisket and ribs, a good selection of homemade sides, as well as some less traditionally Texan eats, like Tex-Czech sausage and barbacoa.
Locals swear by Micklethwait’s pork ribs, and you can’t go wrong ordering the smoky barbacoa—it’s truly top- notch. The casual eatery is also known for its unique scratch-made sides, including lemon poppy slaw, jalapeño cheese grits, and a fresh citrus beet salad.
You’re never far from Texas BBQ at Lakeside
Being part of the Lakeside at Tessera community means never being too far from good Texas BBQ. In fact, some of Austin’s best spots are within an easy 30-minute drive from us. Shoot us a message to learn more about our community’s unique amenities.