Aug 10, 2023

5 smokin' Austin spots heat up Texas Monthly's Top New and Improved BBQ Joints list

Even Hotter Now

The Austin-area mentions were far flung, from Lockhart (Barbs B Q, pictured) to Harker Heights near Killeen.

The barbecue experts at Texas Monthly have once again shared their perspective on where to eat smoked meats statewide courtesy of a new list titled “Top 25 New and Improved BBQ Joints in Texas.”

Released every four years, the new and improved list recognizes restaurants that have either opened or made significant changes since 2021, which is when Texas Monthly last published its quadrennial ranking of the state’s 50 best barbecue restaurants — an occasion that combines the anticipation of receiving Christmas presents with the seriousness of attempting to pass the bar exam. Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn traveled across the state to compile the list, which is presented alphabetically by city. Overall, he finds the state of the state’s barbecue is quite strong.

“No matter where I go, I find there’s no end to smoked-meat innovation,” he writes. “Thanks to ingredients and preparation methods from a medley of culinary traditions, we’re now blessed with dishes such as za’atar-spiced lamb, berbere-seasoned pork ribs, and brisket fried rice. It’s a glorious time to eat Texas barbecue, and I’m more excited than ever for what the future will bring.”

The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex earns seven of the 25 spots on the list, followed by greater Austin with five, and greater Houston with four, while San Antonio gets one.

Austin starts with Egyptian-influenced KG BBQ; Briscuits, a food truck that serves its barbecue on a biscuit; and Lockart’s Barbs B Q, the female-owned restaurant that recently starred on the New York Times’s list of The 20 Best Texas Barbecue Restaurants From the New Generation. The Texas Monthly list also includes Austin restaurant Mum Foods Smokehouse & Delicatessen and Rossler’s Blue Cord Barbecue, which is located in the small town of Harker Heights near Killeen.

The Metroplex representatives start with Arlington’s Ethiopian-influenced Smoke ‘N Ash and Dallas’s Douglas Bar and Grill, which operates as a steakhouse in the evenings. From there, Vaughn, a Dallas resident, dives into the suburbs, shouting out North Texas Smoke BBQ (Decatur), Heritage Butchery & Barbecue (Denison), Pit Commander BBQ (Van Alstyne). Hill City Chophouse (Tolar), and B4 Barbecue and Boba (Mabank).

The Houston representatives consist of Brisket & Rice, an Asian-influenced restaurant in a far-west Houston gas station; J-Bar-M, the massive barbecue temple in EaDo; Montgomery’s Bar-A-BBQ; and Rosemeyer Bar-B–Q, a food truck in Spring. Vaughn praises Brisket & Rice for its namesake, wok-fired rice dishes as well as house-made beef links. J-Bar-M earns praise for sides such as tomato salad and cauliflower au gratin. Both Bar-A-BBQ and Rosemeyer also receive recognition for their sausage-making skills.

Turning to San Antonio, Vaughn recognizes Reese Bros Barbecue, which updated its offerings with Mexican-influenced dishes such as brisket and the queso fundido sausage and a carnitas torta. Heading south, the Rio Grande Valley takes three spots: Vargas BBQ (Edinburg), El Sancho Tex Mex BBQ (Mission), and GW’s BBQ Catering Co. (San Juan).

Barbs B Q isn’t the only overlap between Texas Monthly and the Times. Brisket & Rice and Smoke N Ash also bask in both spotlights.

Top 25 New and Improved BBQ Joints in TexasAustinKG BBQBriscuitsBarbs B QMum Foods Smokehouse & DelicatessenRossler’s Blue Cord Barbecue