Eat + Drink BBQ

The Best BBQ In Austin: 18 Spots for Find Finger-Licking Good Barbecue

Austin, Texas is famous for its unique culinary infusions that blend various cultural influences with classic Central Texas staples. From migas breakfast tacos to fresh Japanese and Mexican infusions, the city is home to award winning restaurants and tasty food trucks. It also offers a rich scene when it comes to mouthwatering BBQ. From brisket to beef ribs, you’re sure to satisfy any meat craving with this list of the best BBQ spots in Austin.

photo 1560380185 9644d262854cThe Best BBQ In Austin: 18 Must-Try Barbecue Joints

From fatty brisket and frito pie to pork belly and brisket tacos, there is no shortage of traditional Texas cuisine in Austin. From food trucks to dining rooms and patios there’s a dining style for everyone. BBQ hits different hit. It’s not just some grilled meat slathered in barbecue sauce. There’s true craftsmanship that goes into these meats. From recipes handed down through generations to new school grilling techniques, BBQ is an art form. Here’s where to get the best BBQ in Austin.

1. La Barbecue
2027 E Cesar Chavez St

If you ask the local Austinites for the best smokehouse around, they’ll either tell you La Barbecue or Franklins (see below). The restaurant was founded by LeAnn Mueller — whose grandfather opened famous Louie Mueller in Taylor, Texas. The brisket smokes for 12 to 15 hours at low temperatures, resulting in juicy, smoky, and tender meat that melts in your mouth. The long lines out the door are a sure sign you’ve come to the right Texas Barbecue spot. Recipes are based on Bobby Mueller’s barbecue craft with small tweaks to keep things interesting. The company is female owned and features everything from spicy sausage to giant ribs.

2. Franklin Barbecue
900 E 11th St

Franklin Barbecue is owned by award-winning chef Aaron Franklin. Frankling Barbecue won the award for Best Barbecue Joint in Texas from Texas Monthly and Best Barbecue Joint in America from Bon Appetit. This barbecue hotspot uses only antibiotic and hormone-free meats. Tasty treats include brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.

best bbq in austin: steak3. Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
11500 Manchaca Road

Located in South Austin, this barbecue trailer pairs classic meats with Mexican influences including tortillas and tacos. Try the giant beef ribs, the savory barbacoa, or the mesquite smoked pork collar. Don’t forget to add a few jalapeños to up the spice factor and the smoked corn should not be missed.

4. Kerlin BBQ
1700 E Cesar Chavez St

Kerlin BBQ — formerly a barbecue truck that now does catering and large pre-orders — does things a little differently. Instead of smoking meats slowly over low temperatures, the staff here opts to cook the meat on high temperatures for less time. The meat is darker and crispier on the outside than other barbecue options and burnt ends — which are a must-have Texas staple — are almost guaranteed. Try their popular kolaches and have them cater your next big event!

5. Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
6610 N Lamar Blvd

Lance Kirkpatrick is the pitmaster at Stiles, serving up St. Louis pork ribs, smoked chicken, and three types of sausage. The jalapeño cheddar sausage is one of our favorites and pairs perfectly with a draft of craft beer. Don’t miss their delicious sides including Hawg rub fries and corn casserole.

best bbq in austin: grilled chicken6. Black’s Barbecue
3110 Guadalupe St

The Black family has over three generations of experience serving barbecue to local Texans. Black’s Barbecue cooks their brisket at low temperatures for 14 hours and makes over 6,00 sausage rings each week. Each cut is slowly smoked using post oak sourced from local forests, which creates a stunning marble texture that is characteristic of the best BBQ around. The original restaurant can be found in Lockhart, Texas, but the restaurant recently opened a BBQ joint in Austin. Try the chopped beef, which is mixed with Norma Jean’s barbecue sauce or opt for the giant beef rib that is two pounds and nine inches of beautifully marbled meat.

7. Brown’s Bar-B-Que
1901 South Lamar

Daniel brown slow smokes his meats for 20 hours, creating juicy meats with perfect smoke rings and a crisp crust. The barbecue is served out of a food trailer just in front of Corner Bar on South Lamar. You won’t go hungry here with one, two, or three meat plate options — all of which come with two tasty sides including choices like coleslaw, mac and cheese, and cabbage cooked in bacon fat.

8. Lamberts
401 W 2nd St

Lamberts is located in downtown Austin, making it a must-visit spot for locals and tourists alike. The owners take barbecue to new heights by blending classic dishes with exceptional happy hour and brunch offerings and live music. The menu includes a coffee and brown sugar-rubbed Black Angus brisket along with pulled pork and cold smoked rainbow trout. If wood burning is more your speed, try their natural hanger steak or the salt and pepper lamb ribs that are topped with a tasty cumin crème fraiche.

grill party 3524649 12809. Micklethwait Craft Meats
1309 Rosewood Ave

Craft Meats is the brainchild of owner and pitmaster Tom Micklethwait. The original location serves up delicious BBQ dishes out of a vintage Comet trailer while you can also purchase high-quality meats at the meat market in Smithville. This exquisite Austin barbecue joint has been featured on the Travel Channel, the Jimmy Kimmel Show and the Food Channel. Snag a picnic table and try the juicy and tender pulled lamb, smoked chicken, or the sausage. Pair it with their delicious mac and cheese or their famous jalapeñ0 cheese grits.

10. Eastside Tavern
1510 E Cesar Chavez

A visit to the Eastside Tavern restaurant will have your mouth watering with offerings like packed burgers and perfectly seasoned fries. For an appetizer, try the fried pickles or the chips and queso. Don’t miss the brisket and the steak and eggs.

11. Terry Black’s Barbecue
1003 Barton Springs Rd

Michael and Mark Black, sons of Lockhart pitmaster Terry Black, opened this barbecue joint near one of Austin’s biggest tourist attractions. Buy your slab of smoked brisket or sausage by the pound and don’t forget to grab some of their cream corn and Mexican rice. Top it all off with a mini pecan pie or peach cobbler from their dessert menu.

12. Leroy & Lewis

121 Pickle Rd.

This barbecue hotspot serves up classic and adventurous cuts with innovative flavors that are right at home in Austin’s unique food scene. Pit master Evan Leroy dreamt up innovative creations while working at Freedman’s including his signature pulled pork marinated in fish sauce and a mouth-watering rib creation featuring fish sauce blended with sweet and salty caramel. Among the unique cuts like beef cheeks, you’ll also find old-school barbecue recipes that are quintessential Central Texas.

13. Iron Works BBQ
100 Red River

Iron Works BBQ has won acclaim from Southern Living, the New York Times, and the Austin American Statesman. The BBQ joints fans include Jay Leno and most Austinites that stop in for savory meats and out-of-this-world barbecue sauces. Looking for something extra special? They’ll custom smoke any meat you bring in for $3.00 per pound and it’ll be ready to devour in 24 hours.

14. Cooper’s Old-Time Pit BBQ
217 Congress Ave

Home of the famous Big Chop, this BBQ spot has everything from homemade sausage to beef ribs, jerky, and goat meat. Here, you can also enjoy live music and a rooftop garden or cool off in the summertime sun on the live oak-shaded back patio.

15. Rudy’s Country Store Bar-B-Q 
Multiple Locations

Rudy’s uses live oak to smoke all of their meats as opposed to the classic mesquite used by most traditional barbecue joints. The live oak burns slower than other woods, creating that crisp burnt edge and maintaining a juicy and marbled interior. Our favorites besides the brisket are the spicy chops and the St. Louis ribs.

16. Salt Lick
3600 Presidential Blvd #5

The Salt Lick has been serving succulent barbeque to Austin’s locals and visitors since 1967. Die-hard BBQ fans are sure to love the classics including brisket, pork ribs, and turkey sausage. Absolutely do NOT miss the bison ribs — nearly impossible to get your hands on elsewhere and truly a divine treat. Choose from a large plate of meat or opt for meat by the half pound depending on how hungry you are. Be sure to try the salads — including potato salad made with sweet potatoes, cole slaw, and BBQ beans.

17. Interstellar BBQ
12233 Ranch Road 620 N Suite 105

Opened in 2019, Interstellar is the BBQ arm of Noble Sandwich Co. Located in northwest Austin, this little spot focuses on high-quality ingredients and traditional techniques to bring mouth-watering BBQ to the table. Using Post Oak, the BBQ joint serves uo brisket, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, and beef kielbasa. Don’t miss the peach tea glazed pork belly and the jalapeño popper sausage — two fo our fav items on the menu.

18. Distant Relatives BBQ
3901 Promontory Point Dr

Distant Relatives is committed to community, cookery, and culture. Their business draws inspiration from the African diaspora, meaning their BBQ has different spice profiles and the meats are all smoked with pecan and mixed hardwood smoke. The result is savory BBQ with tasting notes you won’t find anywhere else in Austin. Take the pulled pork sandwich for example. It’s loaded with smoked pulled pork, kohlrabi slaw, and chili sauce. Get it with the tamarind molasses BBQ sauce and immerse yourself in a new world of BBQ flavor.

meat 1155132 1280Dive Into Some Barbecue

From North Austin to South Austin and East Austin, TX the city delivers when it comes to Texas BBQ and great food. Load up on house-made potato salad, cole slaw, banana pudding, and meaty delights including pork ribs, mesquite chicken, and brisket. Enjoy Texas-style barbecue from James Beard award-winning pit masters and local enthusiasts with everything from traditional smoked meats to inventive sauces and unique flavor pairings. Armed with this list of the best barbecue restaurants in Austin,  your next visit is sure to be a success.


Erika Marty
Erika Marty

Erika is an avid traveler who has been to more than 60 countries where she finds food, activities, and hidden locales for touring like a local. When she’s not writing, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, and planning her next adventure.

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