There is something about BBQ that brings people together – the smells, the sounds, and the social aspect of gathering around a grill. Are you team charcoal or team gas? BBQ can mean different things to different people, no matter the heat source. In the southern United States, “BBQ” typically refers to pork cooked low and slow over indirect heat, often with a vinegar-based sauce. In the West, BBQ can mean beef cooked over an open flame. And in Austin, Texas, BBQ combines the two, focusing on smoked meats. But no matter the regional variations, one thing remains true – BBQ is a beloved American tradition.
If you’re an Austin BBQ aficionado, you’ve likely visited some of the city’s famous BBQ joints. If you’re a visitor, the city has no shortage of options for tasty BBQ. Whether you prefer melt-in-your-mouth brisket or fall-off-the-bone ribs, here are the top 10 best BBQ restaurants in Austin, Texas:
#10 – Micklethwait Craft Meats BBQ & Catering
Micklethwait Craft Meats BBQ & Catering has been successful since its founding in 2012. Pitmaster Tom Micklethwait learned his craft from the best in Central Texas, using oak for a smoky flavor and perfect cooking temperature. Their menu offers classic smoked meats, inventive sausages, and made-from-scratch sides. The restaurant’s East Austin location provides a secluded outdoor setting with picnic tables and lush Texas shade trees. But it’s not just the atmosphere that keeps people coming back for more – Texas Monthly has recognized Micklethwait Craft Meats as one of the top ten BBQ joints in the state.
Address: 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX 78702
#9 – Lamberts
Lamberts is this fancy BBQ joint that has taken the traditional barbecue concept and elevated it to new heights. With their all-natural meats, fresh local produce, and inventive BBQ sauces, Lamberts has become a must-try for any barbecue lover visiting Austin. Since they opened their doors in 2006, Lamberts has been featured in numerous publications and even received recognition from famous chefs. One of their signature dishes is the boar ribs smothered in a creative BBQ sauce that will have your taste buds dancing. And don’t forget to pair it with their homemade sides, like the jalapeno mac and cheese or skillet cornbread. But Lamberts isn’t just about their delicious BBQ – they also have a lively upstairs bar featuring live music most nights, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends.
Address: 401 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701
#8 – Iron Works Barbecue
If you have been to Texas and tasted those smoked meats, then you know there is nothing quite like Texas BBQ. And when it comes to Texas BBQ in Austin, Iron Works Barbecue is the place to go. Established in 1978, Iron Works Barbecue has served mouthwatering beef ribs and specialty sauces in a historic former iron shop for over 40 years. The family-owned and operated restaurant prides itself on using Prime Certified Angus Beef brisket and homemade smoked sausage. But the show’s true star is their famous beef ribs, which have gained a following from locals and celebrities alike. The meat is slow-cooked until it melts in your mouth, perfectly complemented by Iron Works’ variety of housemade BBQ sauces.
Address: 100 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
#7 – la Barbecue
Owned by LeAnn Mueller, daughter of legendary Central Texas barbecue pitmaster Bobby Mueller, la Barbecue has quickly become a beloved destination for Austin locals seeking the ultimate smoked meat experience. With exclusive rubs and unique takes on traditional BBQ favorites like brisket and pulled pork, every bite at la Barbecue is packed with flavor. They take their meat seriously, sourcing only hormone-free beef from local ranchers and cooking it low and slow over Texas post oak for the ultimate melt-in-your-mouth texture. And don’t even think about reaching for the sauce – with flavors this good, you won’t need it.
Address: 2401 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
#6 – Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q
The proof is in the brisket when it comes to Rudy’s “Country Store” and Bar-B-Q. Slow-smoked over oak wood for hours, their brisket is moist and succulent with a perfect balance of smoky flavor. And don’t even get us started on their ribs – fall-off-the-bone tender with just the right amount of char. Their sides pack a punch – from creamy mac and cheese to tangy coleslaw. Dine in their no-frills setting with indoor picnic tables and dig into your meal cafeteria-style. It’s an authentic taste of Texas BBQ at its finest. They have achieved the art of smoking meat and gained a loyal following. If you’re looking for the best BBQ in Austin here, plan, as the spot tends to fill quickly.
Address: 2451 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
#5 – Black’s Barbecue Austin
Black’s Barbecue Austin is an acclaimed BBQ joint serving mouthwatering brisket, ribs, and other smoked meats since 1932. While the restaurant may have expanded to four locations across Central Texas, they have never lost sight of its roots as a family-run business. Third-generation pitmaster Kent Black continues the tradition of slow-smoking meats with a simple rub and locally-sourced post oak wood, just as his grandfather did. In addition to their classic BBQ offerings, Black’s Barbecue Austin serves craft beers in a relaxed, wood-decked space. It’s a spot that deserves a place at the top of any BBQ lover’s must-try list in Austin.
Address: 3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
#4 – Stiles Switch BBQ
Another BBQ restaurant that has lived to see the changing times in Austin is Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew. Founded by Taylor, Texas native Shane Stiles and lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick, the team, brings over fifteen years of experience to the Violet Crown shopping center location. Named after the historic Stiles Switch, Texas, the restaurant showcases a nostalgic atmosphere and old-school decor. But don’t let that fool you – their BBQ is top-notch, with meats smoked to perfection. And their love for the local craft beer scene is evident in their tap selection, featuring favorite Austin breweries and some good ol’ domestics.
Address: 6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752
#3 – Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que has become a household name in Austin for its delicious, slow-smoked Barbecue. But the history of this family-owned restaurant dates back to the early 1900s when founder G.W. Cooper first began serving his pit-smoked meats to hungry locals in the Texas Hill Country. As word spread about Cooper’s mouthwatering BBQ, the restaurant started to draw in crowds from all over. The demand for their famous brisket and ribs became so high that the Coopers opened a second location in downtown Austin in the historic Congress Avenue district. Behind their delicious Barbecue is honoring the traditions and techniques passed down by generations of pitmasters, from hand-selecting only the highest quality cuts of meat to cooking them low and slow over oak wood fire pits. Every aspect of Cooper’s BBQ is carefully executed to deliver the ultimate taste experience for their customers.
Address: 217 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701
#2 – Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue has this unique way of preparing their meats, setting them apart from other BBQ joints in Austin. Their brisket is smoked for 14-18 hours using oak and pecan wood, and their pork spare ribs are rubbed with a secret blend of spices before being smoked for 3-4 hours. The restaurant also offers unique sides such as mac and cheese made with extra sharp cheddar, jalapenos, or esquites, a Mexican corn salad. But the most crucial aspect of Franklin Barbecue is its dedication to providing exceptional customer service. They even offer the option to pre-order your meats, so you can skip the long lines and enjoy your meal as soon as you arrive. One owner, Franklin, is a barbecue expert and even has his own PBS show, BBQ with Franklin, where he teaches viewers how to fire up flavorful Central Texas barbecue at home. So you can expect the best, most authentic Texas BBQ experience at Franklin Barbecue.
Address: 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702
#1 – Terry Black’s Barbecue
In the first spot, we have Terry Black’s, Barbecue Barton. It’s not as aged as some of the other famous BBQ joints in Austin, but it’s quickly making a name for itself as the go-to spot for pit-smoked meats and housemade sides. This family-run restaurant is helmed by fourth-generation pitmasters Mike and Mark Black, who learned barbecue techniques from their father, Terry Black. The brothers bring the flavors and traditions of the Lockhart BBQ scene to Austin, offering up favorites like brisket, ribs, and sausage smoked for hours over oak wood. Their sides are made from scratch daily, including mac ‘n’ cheese, coleslaw, and potato salad. And don’t forget to try their famous bourbon-infused banana pudding for dessert.
Address: 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704
10 Best BBQ Restaurants In Austin, Texas article published on BigCityReview.com© 2022
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