Essential Guide to BBQ in Austin

Texas BBQ
Barbecue Pit at the original Salt Lick BBQ, a barbecue restaurant in Dripping Springs, in Hays County, Texas, south of Austin. The Salt Lick was opened in 1967 by Thurman Roberts, Sr. and his wife Hisako T. Roberts. It quickly grew in popularity and went from being open just a few times a year to seven days a week. Roberts and Hisako built the Salt Lick restaurant on the ranch where he was born, using locally-quarried limestone. Ms. Roberts's Hawaiian heritage inspired the sweet barbecue sauce used in the restaurant. The company has since opened other outlets in Texas.
Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ is the best. Nothing beats a brisket smoked low and slow over an open pit burning clean post oak. Here’s our roundup of the essential BBQ Spots in and around Austin.

Stubbs Bar-B-Q

Stubbs isn’t on everybody’s favorite Austin BBQ list, but it should be. Perhaps it’s because it is just as famous for its live music as it is for its food. Or maybe it’s just too popular. But remember, it’s famous for good reason. If Stubbs is good enough for President Obama, then it’s good enough for you. The BBQ here will not disappoint. Just $29.95 for all you can eat (family-style). Stubbs serves up brisket, burnt ends, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, chicken, or sausage. You haven’t been to Austin if you haven’t been to Stubbs. .

Location : 801 Red River St, Austin, TX
Open : from 11am 7 days a week.
Closest Hotel : Hotel Indigo

Franklin Barbecue

Quite possibly the best God damn BBQ in the world. Franklin BBQ is famous for its brisket and for its line of people waiting for said brisket. You will need to be in line long before 11 am on the weekend. 8:30-9:00 am is usually ok on a weekday; arrive any later, and you may not get to choose the meat you want. There’s brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, turkey, and sausage. This place has won pretty much every award in BBQ and has been judged the best BBQ in America. There’s a line 6 days a week for a reason.

Location : 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX
Open : 11am till sold out (2-3pm) 6 days a week. Closed Mondays.
Closest Hotel : Sheraton Austin Hotel at The Capitol

Terry Black’s Barbecue

Terry Black’s is located just south of Lady Bird Lake, near Butler Park. Famous for their beef ribs, but the brisket, chopped beef, pork ribs, turkey, and sausage are all superb. You simply can’t come to Austin and not go to Terry Black’s. BBQ is sold by the pound or by the sandwich.

Location : 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX
Open : 7 days a week from 10:30am to 9pm (9:30pm Friday & Saturday)
Closest Hotel : The Carpenter Hotel

Interstellar BBQ

Judged the 2nd best BBQ in Texas in 2021 by Texas Monthly, Interstellar is 20 minutes from downtown Austin but totally worth the trip. With prime sliced brisket or chopped ends, two types of sausage, turkey, pulled pork shoulder, pork ribs, or pork belly, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The sandwiches are every bit as good as the meat that’s in them. Interstellar BBQ is out of this world.

Location : 12233 Ranch Road 620 N, Austin, TX
Open : Wednesday to Sunday 11am till sold out.
Closest Hotel : Holiday Inn Express and Suites Austin NW

La Barbecue

La Barbecue has consistently featured in Texas monthly’s top 50 BBQ spots in Texas for a good reason. This isn’t your sickly sweet bbq drenched in a syrupy sauce; it’s salty, savory, and delicious. With brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, sausage, and turkey, as well as a great range of sandwiches, there is something for all y’all.

Location : 2401 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX
Open : Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 6pm
Closest Hotel : Heywood Hotel

LeRoy and Lewis

Number 5 in Texas Monthly’s best BBQ spots in Texas for 2021. LeRoy and Lewis describe their BBQ as ‘new school’. LeRoy and Lewis are a little different, starting with ethically sourced meat and slightly different cuts, including pulled whole hog, beef cheeks, barbacoa, brisket, and pork sausage. They also offer some special surprise meats on weekends.

Location : 121 Pickle Rd. Austin TX
Open : 11am to 9pm
Closest Hotel : Colton House Hotel or Austin Southpark Hotel

Micklethwait Craft Meats 

Come sit on picnic table under the shade of the trees and enjoy some of the best BBQ you’ll ever eat. Micklethwait Craft Meats is exceptional, serving beef ribs, brisket, pork ribs, sausage, pulled pork, barbacoa, turkey, and chicken as well as a range of delicious sides no one leaves Micklethwait BBQ hungry. Super relaxed vibe a mile east of downtown.

Location : 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX
Open : Thursday to Sunday 11am till it’s gone
Nearby Hotels : East Austin Hotel and Arrive Austin

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Another longtime Austin favourite and regular award winner, once again in Texas Monthly’s top 50 BBQ spots for 2021. Valentina’s also happens to make Austin’s best breakfast Tacos, but that is another story. The BBQ here is off the chart, serving brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, pork spare ribs, and sausage, there’s beef ribs too, but only on weekends. Valentina’s also offers Fajitas, plus a great range of incredible sandwiches and tacos.

Location : 11500 Menchaca Road, Austin, TX
Open : Wednesday to Sunday 7:30am to 6pm

Iron Works BBQ

BBQ without the queue. Iron works has been serving delicious BBQ since 1978. Named for the historic building in which the restaurant is located this place has a serious patina that only comes through time. The food is fucking fantastic too. Serving Beef Brisket by the plate or by the pound, beef back ribs, pork ribs, chicken, turkey, pulled pork, sausage, and chopped beef. Iron Works will smoke your animals too, just butcher it, bring it in, and return in 24 hours to eat it. Perfect for those who like hunting and eating, but not cooking.

Location : 100 Red River St, Austin, TX
Open : 11am to 9pm Monday to Saturday. (closed Sunday)

Blacks BBQ

The Original Blacks BBQ is in Lockhart, only a 30 minute drive from Austin, but Blacks now have an Austin location too serving BBQ cooked on the pits in Lockhart and hand delivered to the Austin Restaurant. If you are in Austin and love BBQ then it’s well worth a day trip to the original Blacks, but if you just like BBQ very much then the Austin location will be fine. Blacks serves brisket either sliced or chopped, beef ribs, pork ribs, pulled pork, chicken, turkey, and sausage. It’s all great, and at 22.99 a pound it’s some of the best value for money brisket in Austin (It’s also some of the best).

Location : 3110 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX
Open : 11am to 9pm every day (10pm Friday & Saturday)

Kerlin BBQ

Kerlin BBQ is only open 3 days a week. So if y’all are in town for the weekend don’t miss it. Kerlin serves superb brisket, pork ribs, pork shoulder, pork belly burnt ends, and hot beef links. The pork belly burnt ends are something else; sensational, and a little different to every other BBQ joint in town. This is a real local favourite. many Austinites will try to fight you if you won’t admit Kerlin makes the best BBQ in the world.

Location : 2207 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX
Open : 11am till sold out Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

I don’t want to like Stiles Switch. Their marketing is too slick, their social media a little to polished. But God damn their food is undeniable. I suppose you can’t be mad that they are good at marketing as well as BBQ. They serve St Louis pork ribs, brisket, pulled pork, turkey breast, chicken, and sausage. The also have sensational wings, smoked then fried, for extra mouth pleasure.

Location : 6610 North Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
Open : 11am to 8pm Tuesday to Sunday (8:30 Friday and Saturday)

Brown’s Bar-B-Que

This is another spot the locals are trying to keep to themselves. There’s no 4 hour queue at Brown’s but there probably should be, the brisket is sensational. If you don’t like Brown’s you’d best keep it to yourself or the locals will hog tie you, there is a lot of love for this little food truck. Serving brisket, turkey, beef ribs, pork ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and chicken. Mighty christian pricing too.

Location : 1901 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX
Open : 11am – 7pm Thursday – Sunday.

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que in Austin is located on Congress Ave and offers a wider range of meat than most BBQ joints. Imagine all the usual favourites brisket, beef ribs, chopped beef, chicken, turkey, pork ribs, and sausage, now add jerky, goat, pork chops, prime rib, rib eye, and pork loin. The pork chops are two inch thick monsters, when they say famous for the big chop this is what they are talking about. The original Coopers is in Liano in the Texas Hill Country, and they now have 6 locations around Texas.

Location : 217 Congress Ave, Austin, TX
Open : 11am to 10pm 7 days a week.

Rollin Smoke

Rollin Smoke is new school East Austin BBQ. This food truck is open later than most BBQ spots in Austin, and is perfect drunk food. The BBQ here is served in sandwiches or tacos not the traditional plates. The sandwiches are sensational, and really filling. Pulled pork, brisket, and sausage, simple but all done right.

Location : 1501 E. 6th St, Austin, TX
Open : Wednesday to Sunday 11am to 9pm later on Friday & Saturday

Sam’s Bar-B-Que

“You don’t need no teeth to eat my beef” reads the sign spray painted on the wall outside Sam’s. And it’s true, this is some mighty tender BBQ. Sam’s is old school Austin BBQ cooked over a traditional Central Texas brick pit. Eating at Sam’s is like going back in time this what all BBQ joints used to be like. The prices are a lot lower than many other spots and the food is still delicious. If you really love BBQ this is a must visit. Sam’s serves brisket, pork ribs, mutton, sausage, and chicken.

Location : 2000 E 12th Street, Austin, TX
Open : 6 days a week 10am till late. (8pm Sun/Mon 10PM Wed-Sat) Closed Tuesdays.