12+ Best BBQ In Austin Texas To Taste The Smoky Goodness (For 2023)

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The best bbq in Austin is the traditional Central Texas style which is not only famous in the state but also worldwide.

This barbecue style made popular by icons like Franklin Barbecue, Black bbq, La barbecue, and others is the traditional Texas bbq style.

With the Austin barbecue scene growing and ever-evolving, you’ll also find barbecue fusions of Japanese-Texan bbq.

With a focus on the best traditional Austin bbq, we share our list of the 12 best barbecue in Austin. 

Curated while in Austin and informed by locals, here are the best places to try Central Texas barbecue style in the city.

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What Makes Texas Barbecue in Austin So Special?

Brisket Pastrami Mum Food Austin BBQ Guide by Authentic Food Quest
Mum Foods butcher block with outstanding cuts of pastrami and brisket

With the Central Texas barbecue style in Austin, the emphasis is on the meat, the key ingredient.

The meat is prepared in a simple fashion with salt and pepper and then smoked for hours in a pit. 

The sauce is secondary and takes a back seat. You get to appreciate the raw flavors of the smoked meats in all their glory.

But remember, simple doesn’t mean easy.

Mastering Central Texas Barbecue is an art. From the way, the meat is cut, to the delicate preparation, to smoking the meat to perfection and finally serving it. 

Each and every step takes patience and hours and hours of cooking and testing.  

This barbecue style dates back to the 19th century when German and Czech settlers brought European meat-smoking traditions to Texas. 

Best BBQ in Austin Map

Find some of the best barbecue in Austin close to the neighborhood you are staying. For a day trip, consider going south of Austin to the birth place of Texas barbecue.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are short on time and are looking to explore Austin’s vibrant food scene, consider taking a food tour with a local guide. See our list of the 10 Best Food Tours in Austin To Eat Like A Texan

Best Barbecue In Austin

1. Franklin Barbecue –  #1 Barbecue Spot in Texas (or the World)

Franklin Barbecue Meats for Best Barbecue in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
The famous brisket and sausages at Franklin’s Barbecue

Ranked as the world’s #1 barbecue joint, Franklin Barbecue is an Austin staple. Expect queues some as long as 6 hours for a taste of Franklin’s famous brisket, ribs, and sausages.

His legendary barbecue considered the best in Austin, has even seduced the likes of Anthony Bourdain and President Obama.

One tip we got from locals to beat the long lines was to go for a late lunch between 1 pm and 2 pm. 

This tactic paid off, and we only waited about 40 minutes. However, a late lunch means you are at risk of some things running out.

Franklin’s reputation holds up. The fatty brisket melts in the mouth and is perfectly seasoned.

The smoked sausages are juicy, slightly cracking, and with the perfect balance of meat and fat. 

Complement your Franklin barbecue with Texas-style sides of coleslaw, pinto beans, and potato salad. And, wash it all down with a local Austin draft beer.

BBQ enthusiasts can also check out Aaron Franklin’s “Franklin BBQ: a meat-smoking manifesto.” It’s a deep dive into this celebrated pit master’s process.

Where to Eat the Best BBQ In Austin

Franklin Barbecue the Best BBQ in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
We waited a mere 40 minutes at Franklin Barbecue

Franklin Barbecue

Address: 900 E. 11th, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Tue-Sun, 11:00 am until sold out. Closed Mon

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you want to master the art of traditional Texas barbecue, consider learning from Aaron Franklin, the most famous pitmaster in the US. In this Masterclass, you will learn how to fire up delicious Central Texas barbecue and make his famous briskets and other mouthwatering meats.

2. La Barbecue – Badass Barbecue Sandwiches

Best Sandwich at La Barbecue Best BBQ in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
La Barbecue sandwich with a combination of beef, pork and sausage

With a bright and sleek decor, La Barbecue stands apart from other barbecue places. It is modern, and the counter where you order your barbecue is also a gourmet deli store.

A female-owned company, La Barbecue is owned by LeAnn Mueller, daughter of Bobby Mueller of the legendary Mueller Barbecue. 

LeAnn continues the German tradition of handcrafted meat with a modern twist, with smoked meats sourced locally, all hormone-free.

Central Texas style barbecue sandwiches steal the show at La Barbecue. Try the beef brisket sandwiches or the celebrated pulled pork sandwiches.

For a mouthwatering combination of barbecue meats, try “El Sancho Loco.” This sandwich has beef, pork, and sausage topped with pickled red onions and served in a potato bun.

Add chipotle slaw and pinto beans along with craft beer, cocktails, or wine for a spectacular feast.

These were our favorite barbecue sandwiches in Austin.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ Sandwiches

La Barbeque Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Savor the modern twist on Texas bbq at La Barbecue

La Barbecue

Address: 2401 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Wed-Sun, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm

3. Micklethwait Craft Meats – The Best Food Truck BBQ In Austin

Three Meats Plate Micklethwait Craft Meat the best food truck bbq Austin BBQ Guide the best barbecue in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
3-meat plate at Micklethwait with beans and poppy seed slaw

Go early and beat the rush for a taste of Micklethwait Craft Meats, an acclaimed food truck in Austin. 

Since 2017, Micklethwait has been on every Texas awarded list for the best barbecue plate in Austin.

The barbecue trailer with a pit next to it sits amongst picnic tables and trees which provide shade.

You’ll find a short menu with beef brisket, pork ribs, and sausages being among the standouts.

Owner Tom Micklethwait is a baker-turned-pit master, and the bread offered is slightly puffed like a brioche crafted with the expertise of a master baker.

For a taste of Texas-style barbecue heritage, we had a three-meat plate of smoked brisket, pork ribs, and a Tex-Czech sausage. 

This was paired with a refreshing lemon poppy-seed slaw and perfectly cooked beans.

The Tex-Czech sausages were the best we had on our quest. The meat and fat beautifully balanced while moist and flavorful.  

If you don’t want to wait in the long lines at the nearby Franklin Barbecue, enjoy some of the best barbecue in Austin under a canopy of trees at Micklethwait.

Where to Eat At The Best BBQ Food Truck in Austin

Micklethwait Craft Meats Trailer the best Food Truck BBQ Austin BBQ Guide by Authentic Food Quest
The popular Micklethwait Craft Meats barbecue trailer

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Address: 1309 Rosewood Ave, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Thu-Sun, 11:00 am until sold out.

RELATED: 15 Best BBQ Gift Baskets: Best Gifts For Grillers And Meat Smokers

4. Mum Foods – The Best Pastrami In Texas

Brisket Pastrami Mum Foods Austin BBQ Guide by Authentic Food Quest
Award-winning Mum Foods meats on butcher paper

Visiting local farmers markets is one of the best ways to learn about the local food culture. 
And, they are a goldmine for local food discoveries.

While exploring the Texas Farmers Market at Mueller, we unexpectedly discovered what became our favorite Austin barbecue.

As we made our way to the far end of the market, we noticed this one stall with a consistent queue. 

Taking our line in place under the simple Mum Foods sign, we waited patiently to sample their meats.

Their smoked wagyu brisket, which we immediately fell in love with are a meat lovers dream.

 No cutlery required as the tender and flavorful meat just melts in the mouth.

A bite into their award-winning pastrami is a trip to barbecue heaven. The perfect level of seasoning in every delicious bite.

The line at the Mueller Market is long, and they often run out before the market closes

It is worth a visit to the local farmers markets for a taste of exceptional Mum Foods barbecue in Austin.

Where to Eat The Best Pastrami in Austin

Mum Foods Best BBQ in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
The line at Mum Foods at the Sunday Mueller Market

Mum Foods at Texas Farmers Market at Mueller

Address: 2006 Philomena St., Austin TX, 78723

Hours: Sundays, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

RELATED: 12 Of The Best Argentine Grills For Sale – Review

5. Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ – The Best Tex-Mex BBQ In Austin

Valentinas Tex Mex BBQ Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
A juicy mix of barbecue meats

Head on to the south of downtown Austin, and you’ll find a unique blend of flavors at Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

Established in 2013, this family-owned mobile food joint has garnered acclaim for its exceptional fusion of Texas and Mexican barbecue styles.

Each year earns them even more praise and recognition for their Tex-Mex barbecue flavors.

The menu at  Valentina’s is part Texas barbecue and part tacos. We recommend getting a plate with a combination of both.

During our visit, our plate consisted of pork ribs, smoked tender brisket tacos, smoked carnitas tacos, and a jalapeno cheddar sausage served with rice and beans.

While we joyfully savored each bite, the tacos and especially the smoked brisket taco was exceptional.  

The perfectly seasoned brisket served with homemade salsa, guacamole, and flour tortilla, were to die for. 

For Tex-Mex barbecue, it’s worth the hike 15 miles south of downtown Austin to Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ trailer. 

Where to Eat The Best Tex-Mex BBQ in Austin

Valentinas BBQ Best Bbq In Austin Authentic Food Quest
Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ trailer

Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ

Address: 308 S Main St, Buda, TX

Hours: Wed-Sun, 8:00 am – 10:00 pm.

Watch Our Video About Best Austin BBQ

6. Leroy and Lewis Barbecue – Best Relaxed Dining BBQ In Austin

Le Roy and Lewis Best Bbq In Austin Texas by Authentic Food Quest
Experience the best of traditional and innovative barbecue – Photo credit: Leroy and Lewis Barbecue on Facebook

With the slogan, “New School BBQ, Old School Service”, you can expect a keen focus on traditional cuts like tender brisket delivered with a smile.

Evan LeRoy, pitmaster and co-ower is known to push the boundaries while consistently delivering quality. 

In addition to beef cheeks, one of their most celebrated items, you can cauliflower burnt ends, cheddar cheesecake, and more.

You’ll find the Leroy and Lewis Barbecue trailer inside the fenced area of Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden. Pair your freshly prepared Texas barbecue with artisanal beer for a great time.

While the Leroy and Lewis food truck has been a hit since 2017, new changes are coming in 2023.

A new brick-and-mortar location is scheduled to be open later this year in South Austin. Stay tuned.

The original food truck will remain parked at Cosmic Coffee allowing you to still enjoy some of the best barbecue in Austin.

Where to Eat The Best Casual Dinning BBQ in Austin

LeRoy and Lewis Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Barbecue bliss on wheels – Photo credit: Leroy and Lewis Barbecue on Facebook

Leroy and Lewis Barbecue

Address: 121 Pickle Rd, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Wed-Sun, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm. Closed Mon and Tue.

RELATED: 14 Best Austin Food Truck Parks For The Tastiest Street Food

7. Terry Black BBQ – Austin’s Classic Barbecue Joint

Terry Black's Barbecue Best Bbq In Austin Tx by Authentic Food Quest
Brisket, sausage, turkey, and homemade sides – Photo credit: Terry Black BBQ on Facebook

No burgers or brisket tacos Terry Black’s bbq offers straight-up exceptional Texas bbq. Started in Lockhart, Texas, the next generation has brought Terry Black to Austin and to Dallas.

In Austin, Terry Black isn’t just good, it’s an Austin legend.  You’ll not miss their large and bold signs and downtown Austin, and the smell will lure you in.

The long lines typically at lunchtime move fast, and you order your meats, sides, and desserts cafeteria style.

The sliced or chopped brisket is smoked to perfection. The peppered pork ribs and juicy smoked sausages are additional favorites you’ll not want to miss.

The award winning barbecue sauce which comes in sweet, spicy or original are rich in flavor and add to your delicious barbecue experience.

While you can order your barbecue to go, you don’t want to miss eating at Terry Black’s BBQ.

Where to Eat The Best Brisket BBQ in Austin

Terry Blacks Barbecue Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
A popular spot for the best bbq in Austin – Photo credit: Terry Black BBQ on Facebook

Terry Black BBQ

Address: 1003 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX

Hours: Open daily, 10:30 am – 9:30 pm; Fri-Sat, until 10:00 pm.

RELATED: 9 Ways How to Grill Like An Argentinian

8. Stiles Switch BBQ – A Taste of Texas Tradition

Sausage Best Barbecue In Austin Texas by Authentic Food Quest
Pepperoni Pizza Sausage – Photo credit: Stiles Switch BBQ on Facebook

Stiles Switch BBQ is located in a historic art deco building in a shopping center that was featured in the 1993 movie “Dazed and Confused.”

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Stiles Switch bbq brew is that they are never sold out.

Unlike other Austin barbecue joints that are only opened through lunch or until they sell out, Stiles Switch bbq stays open for dinner too.

You’ll find traditional Texas bbq like beef ribs, smoked chicken, pork ribs, and one of a kind smoked sausages.

The sides are innovative, and you’ll find flavors like sweet serrano fried brussel sprouts, lemon-vinaigrette coleslaw, and more. 

The corn casserole, mac n cheese, and potato salad are other local favorites.

During the holiday season, Stiles Switch bbq brew goes creative with holiday menu items. You’ll be surprised to find beef tamales, gumbo, and more on the menu.

For the best bbq in Austin that you can savor at any time of the day, head to Stiles Switch bbq.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ Meal in Austin

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew Best Barbecue In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Stiles Switch BBQ is open for dinner too – Photo credit: Stiles Switch BBQ on Facebook

Stiles Switch BBQ 

Address: 6610 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX

Hours: Open daily, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm; Closed Mon.

RELATED: 12 Best Breakfast Tacos in Austin To Start Your Day Right

9. Interstellar BBQ – Expert Chef Owned BBQ Destination

Inter Stellar BBQ Best Bbq In Austin Tx by Authentic Food Quest
Beef short ribs with chimichurri – Photo credit: Interstellar BBQ on Facebook

Only opened in 2019, Interstellar BBQ has quickly become a favorite in the Austin barbecue scene.

It has been ranked by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the top barbecue joints in the city.

The kind of wood used and the way it is sourced is one of the secrets that makes their bbq so exceptional.

The tender brisket, cooked simply with salt, pepper, and garlic is a delicious labor of love.   

Smoked turkey breast brined in citrus, beef rib, and juicy pulled lamb shoulder are some of the menu items not to be missed.

Add the complimentary bbq beans along with scallop potatoes and the zucchini tomato salad for a complete experience.

Leave room for dessert and go early to grab an outdoor table.

Where to Eat The Best Chef-Owned BBQ in Austin

InterStellar BBQ Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
InterStellar BBQ is ranked among Austin’s top barbecue joints – Photo credit: Interstellar BBQ on Facebook

Interstellar BBQ

Address: 12233 Ranch Rd 620 N Suite 105, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Wed-Sun, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

10. Slab BBQ & Beer – Unique And Delicious Barbecue

Slab BBQ & Beer Best Bbq In Austin Texas by Authentic Food Quest
Indulge in mouthwatering sandwiches – Photo credit: Slab BBQ & Beer on Facebook

What started as a food truck on the UT-Austin campus has now become one of Austin’s favorite barbecue joints with food trucks and physical locations.

SLAB, which stands for Slow, Low and Bangin’ focuses on barbecue sandwiches bringing something new to the Austin barbecue scene.

The mouthwatering sandwiches include barbecue styles from other parts of the country like the Carolinas, Memphis, and Saint Louis.

Their slogan “real dope bbq and beer” speaks to the passion that goes into making Slab one of the best bbq in Austin, Texas.

Pulled pork sandwiches like the Notorious PIG, Saint Louis-style pork ribs, and beef brisket sandwiches are unmissable. Their signature banana pudding dessert is worth leaving room for.

In partnership with NomadicBeerworks, you can also enjoy American-style craft beers and cocktails made with Texas spirits.

The atmosphere is laid back with large open picnic tables, under a canopy of trees. And, the friendly staff will make sure you feel right at home.

Slab BBQ & Beer is a BBQ destination worth exploring while in Austin.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ in UT-Austin Campus

Slab BBQ & Beer Best Bbq In Austin Tx by Authentic Food Quest
A must-visit destination for BBQ enthusiasts – Photo credit: Slab BBQ & Beer on Facebook

Slab BBQ & Beer 

Address: 9012 Research Blvd C4, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Mon-Sat, 11:00 am – 8:00 pm; Sun, until 6:00 pm.

11. Distant Relatives – Best Heritage BBQ In South Austin

Distant relatives atx Best Bbq In Austin Texas by Authentic Food Quest
Beef short rib – Photo credit: distantrelativesatx on Instagram

Distant Relatives BBQ, a  hidden gem in South Austin, bills itself as “Austin’s modern African-American food truck.”

The name “Distant Relatives” pay homage to the contribution of the African American diaspora to barbecue. And it’s done with a Central Texas touch.

Opened only in 2020, it is already making waves and garnering awards in the Austin barbecue scene.

The food truck is located in south Austin at Meanwhile Brewing, where you can enjoy a local brew on the outdoor picnic tables.

For the flavors and textures of the African American heritage try pulled pork with tamarind molasses bbq sauce, Carolina gold rice grits, or black-eyed peas and collards sides.

The menu changes seasonally, and all the produce is local. It also gets most of its produce from African American farmers in the Austin area.

While Distant Relatives brings a whole new world of delicious flavors to the Austin barbecue scene. 

There is so much more. You will savor the past and present while paying tribute to the African American diaspora within the US.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ in South Austin

Distant Relatives Bbq Best Barbecue In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Distant Relatives has quickly made a name for itself – Photo credit: distantrelativesatx on Instagram

Distant Relatives

Address: 3901 Promontory Point Dr, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Wed-Sun, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

RELATED: Food Is South Carolina: 20 Must-Have Foods And Barbecue

12. Brown’s BBQ – The Best Trailer Serving All Flavor Barbecue

Browns BarBQue Best Bbq In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Juicy bbq with mac&cheese and salad – Photo credit: Brown’s Bar-B-Que on Facebook

The bright red trailer located in front of Corner Bar in South Austin is a local favorite.

Family-owned by long-time Austinites, Brown’s BBQ is known to serve some of the best bbq in Austin with everything made from scratch.

Starting with the firewood that comes from their Austin property, they only use local beef and pork in their cooking.

Their tasty brisket which cooks for 21 hours is one of their most famous dishes. Along with award-winning fall-off-the-bone ribs.

The turkey, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, sausages are some of the other meats you will not regret ordering.

Pair that with traditional sides like potato salad, slaw, and mac n cheese and you have a feast worth devouring.

It’s worth the trip to south Austin for old-school barbecue at affordable prices.

Where to Eat The Best Trailer BBQ in Austin

Brown's BarBQue Best Barbecue In Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Experience authentic, and affordable old-school barbecue – Photo credit: Brown’s Bar-B-Que on Facebook

Brown’s BBQ 

Address: 1901 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX

Hours: Open Tue-Sat, 11:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sun-Mon, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Other BBQ in Austin Area For A Day Trip

13. Black’s BBQ – The Oldest Family Owned BBQ in Texas

Claire and Rosemary  Blacks on the quest Best BBQ in Lockhart by Authentic Food Quest
Claire and Rosemary on a quest for the best Texas barbecue in Austin

A larger-than-life sign at the entrance of Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, TX  with the words “Giant Beef Ribs” greets you as you walk in.

This is the oldest family-owned barbecue restaurant in the state of Texas, since 1932.

 It has a nostalgic atmosphere with wood-paneled walls, horns of various sizes adorning the walls, and plastic red & white checked tablecloths.

You’ll find a cafeteria-style counter at the entrance, where sides and desserts are up first. Then, it’s onto the butcher block, where brisket, beef ribs, and sausages await.

Black’s signature beef rib is a carnivore’s dream. It can weigh between 1 to 2 lbs and it is a slab of pink meat, with blackened edges on a nine-inch bone.

The sausage links at Blacks, another local favorite have a peppery finish, with a tasty filling that could use a bit more meat.

Sides are traditional: beans and coleslaw. Not a standout, but fitting for this legendary Texas BBQ spot.

If you are in Austin, a trip to Black’s in Lockhart TX, is an experience. An irrefutable rite of passage for barbecue lovers.

Where to Eat The Best Traditional BBQ in Lockart Texas

the Original Black's Best BBQ in Lockhart Authentic Food Quest
Old time decor at the Original Black’s BBQ

Black’s BBQ 

Address: 215 N Main St, Lockhart, TX 

Hours: Open Sun-Thu, 10:00 am – 8:00 pm; Fri-Sat, 10:00 am – 8:30 pm

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Leave Austin for a half-day wine and BBQ tour to the Texas Hill Country. With transportation provided, enjoy incredible Texas BBQ and wine tasting at two different wineries. Find out more about this Texas Hill Country & BBQ Tour.

14. Smitty’s Market BBQ – Steeped in History and Tradition

Cutting the Meat Smitty's Market Barbecue Best BBQ Lockhart by Authentic Food Quest
Cuts of meat at the butchers block at Smitty’s Market BBQ

In the heart of downtown Lockhart, you’ll run into Smitty’s Market BBQ, a Lockhart barbecue heavyweight on Commerce Street.

The entrance is a long hallway with darkened walls leading to a pit with light from a menacing open fire.

The woody aroma guides you to the butcher block, where a wide range of meats await your order.

The menu consists of brisket, pork ribs and chops, shoulder clod, prime rib, and pit-cooked sausages. 

You pretty much line up, place your order by the pound, and pay by cash or check (no debit or credit). 

The smoked meat is on butcher paper and there are no plates, no forks, you eat with your hands. Just good old fingerlickin’ good bbq.

The location opened around 1900 as Kreuz Market, a German butcher shop that sold fresh meat during the week and smoked the leftovers on the weekends. 

In 1999, a feud between a sister and her brothers, caused the brothers to move Kreuz Market to a new building on the northern outskirts of town. 

Fortunately, the sister, Nina Schmidt Sells and her son, John Fullilove re-opened the space, under the Smitty name in honor of her father, Edgar “Smitty” Schmidt.

So, when you find yourself in Lockhart, make sure Smitty’s is on your itinerary. This classic spot, steeped in character and tradition, is a must-visit.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ in Lockart Texas

Entrance Smitty's Market Barbecue in Lockhart best bbq in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Smitty’s in Lockhart looks more like a butcher store than a restaurant

Smitty’s Market BBQ

Address: 208 S Commerce St, Lockhart, TX

Hours: Open Mon-Fri, 7:00 am – 6:00 pm; Sat, until 6:30 pm; Sun, 9:00 am – 6:30 pm.

15. Salt Lick BBQ – The Most Beautiful BBQ Setting in Driftwood, TX

Thurman's Plate Salt Lick Best BBQ in Austin by Authentic Food Quest
Last but not least the Thurman’s plate to finish our quest for the best BBQ in Austin

Driftwood, Texas, a 45-minute drive from Lockhart, is where you’ll find Salt Lick BBQ, known for its gorgeous Texas Hill Country setting.

The place is sprawling with even a winery on site. Upon entering The Salt Lick, your eyes will be immediately drawn to the massive “Texas-sized grill” piled high with all kinds of meats and sausages. 

Not only will your eyes be captivated, your nose will be enraptured in delicious barbecue smells.

Established in 1967, Salt Lick started as a modest roadside pit and grew into a large-scale operation with multiple locations.

Order family-style or individual plates of smoked brisket, pork ribs, beef ribs or more. 

During our visit, we opted for the “Thurman’s Choice” combo, which came with brisket, pork ribs and sausage. Along with that, we ordered a serving of pulled pork. 

Two sides are highly recommended and concur. The vinegar slaw sprinkled with black sesame seeds and the mayo-free potato salad with celery seeds.

Save room for dessert, especially the pecan pie and the half & half blackberry and peach cobbler pie. 

An Austin visit isn’t complete without a trip to Salt Lick. The scenic drive, BYOB policy, and stunning setting make the journey worthwhile.

And if you want to learn more about their family tradition, The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love is a must-read.

Where to Eat The Best BBQ in Driftwood Texas

Meat cooking on the Pit at Salt Lick for Best BBQ in Lockhart for Authentic Food Quest
Meats grilling to perfection at Salt Lick Barbecue

Salt Lick BBQ 

Address: 18300 Farm to Market Rd 1826, Driftwood, TX

Hours: Open Sun-Thu, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm; Fri-Sat, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

FAQs – Best BBQ in Austin Texas

Giant Rib at Blacks BBQ Best Texas BBQ in Lockhart by Authentic Food Quest
When they say giant, they mean it!

What Is That Famous Barbecue Place in Austin?

Terry’s Black is the most famous barbecue in Austin. It has gained huge popularity nation-wide and their fans often wait in long queues to enjoy their tender and juicy BBQs.

What Is the #1 BBQ Place In America?

Franklin Barbecue of Austin,and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City is often cited as the #1 BBQ place in America. However, choosing the best BBQ place can be subjective as it varies depending on individual taste preferences.

What Is The Famous Texas BBQ Town?

Lockhart, Texas, holds the­ esteeme­d title of being known as the “BBQ Capital of Te­xas.” This charming town boasts a vibrant culinary scene and is home to some­ of the state’s most renowne­d BBQ establishments. 

What is Austin’s Oldest BBQ?

Austin’s oldest BBQ joint is House­ Park Bar-B-Que. Since 1943, this iconic establishme­nt has been delighting countle­ss Texans with its mouthwatering traditional barbecue­.

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In Summary

The best BBQ in Austin provides an immersive experience with subtleties in the taste, flavors, and craft needed to achieve bbq perfection.

While in Austin, we found some bbq joints to be excellent in one item and not necessary on all three –  brisket, ribs, and sausage or “barbecue trifecta.” 

We learned to trust our tastes and more importantly, developed a new appreciation for Central Texas barbecue. 

The transformation that occurs when meat is cooked with simple ingredients and long hours at the pit.

In a land where everything is bigger, so are the portions. Take a hearty appetite as you seek out your best bbq in Austin. 

And be prepared, as we found in our case, to loosen a notch or two on your belts.

What is your best bbq in Austin, Texas? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Best Barbecue in Austin by Authentic Food Quest

44 Comments on “12+ Best BBQ In Austin Texas To Taste The Smoky Goodness (For 2023)”

  1. Hey Rosemary, thanks for such a great BBQ guide, it made me feel really hungry! Here in Europe it starts to be Fashion with all the Food trucks, but in Austin they seem to be popular already. All the food Looks really yummy.

  2. You are right checking local farmer markets usually are so fun and it is quite an experience. I watched your video before reading this post! My mouth is literally watering and I feel so hungry. I am wondering to know

  3. This is great – this will be us in a few years when we visit Texas for the solar eclipse (2024)! I love ribs, so that is always my go-to, but it would be interesting to try the sausage and pork too. Love the look of those giant beef ribs. But would definitely try Mum Foods – that pastrami looks out of this world. I think it’s important to try those places that aren’t necessarily on the big lists!

    • You are so right, Hannah, many of the gems are often not the popular list. The owners of Mum Foods are so friendly and accommodating as well. You’ll get great service and great food 🙂 Keep this post handy for your future trip to Texas. Thanks, Hannah.

  4. Can you believe I lived in Texas for 5 years and traveled to Austin a few times, but never actually had barbecue in Austin? I’ll admit, it’s not really my favorite food. However, I do like that the Texas style is less saucy. Like you guys, I prefer for the meat to have all the flavor. Next time I’m in Austin I’ll make sure to finally have some barbecue.

    • Can’t believe you missed out on barbecue in Austin. It’s worth another trip to Austin for sure 🙂 The focus on the meat and less on the sauce makes it worth it. Do let us know where you end up trying when you eventually make it back to Austin. Thanks, Vicky.

  5. Amazing guys. I had Texas BBQ during a wedding in Pennsylvania last year. Genius couple hired a Texas BBQ truck to drive up and serve wedding guests behind the hall. Divine food. Melts in your mouth.

  6. I went to Cooper’s Old Time Pit Barbeque during Travelcon. It was dang good. I spent extra time exploring Austin with my vegan friends. Your post makes me wish I at more meat. Franklin’s looks like it was totally worth the wait.

  7. My son would love Texas. He is a massive meat eater. I must admit the brisket you have featured looks amazing and I like the look of the Mums Food pastrami too! However, to queue for up to 6 hours for BBQ I think is a form of madness lol

  8. Wow!! In love with all things meat right now! 😀 I cannot believe that people wait for up to 6 hours at Franklin Barbecue – I get that it’s the best in the world but woah! Haha, luckily you did not wait that long. Tex-mex sounds like my kinda food, the brisket taco looks absolutely delicious! This is a great post, thanks for sharing!

    • So glad you enjoyed the article Lisa. The barbecue in Austin is quite an experience. There are many options for amazing barbecue in Austin and most do not require a 6 hour wait…even though it was quite good! We also really enjoyed the Tex Mex flavors. It was a first for us and we look forward to more. Hope your travels take you to Austin soon. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. I have not yet been to Texas but a friend of mine is getting married there in December. It’s my goal to be able to go, so if I get the chance to hang out in Austin I am definitely going to check out the places you listed! While it seems crazy people wait up to 6 hours for barbecue, there must be a good reason huh? Thank you for this in depth guide to barbecue in Austin! I’ll be saving it for later!

  10. I cannot wait for my Austin foodie trip- thank you for putting this guide together, not just with the best restaurants but also so much history! I didn’t know that BBQ styles can go even by region in Texas before your post (I guess it makes sense- it’s so big!), and I’m excited to try Central Texas BBQ!

    • Thank you Angelica and glad you enjoyed reading about the history of barbecue in Texas. It certainly helps when we understand the cultural context of the food. When is your Austin foodie trip? Do let us know what you find. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. As a BBQ lover, I’d be totally up for this quest, and I can’t think of a better place to do it than Austin. Loved that you included how it came to the area. I had no idea. Thanks for all the great tips and honesty. Makes me want some BBQ pork ribs right now!

    • Thank you Lara and so glad you enjoyed the article. Good to know this quest is right up your alley. We’ll definitively invite you the next time we are doing “part 2” of this quest. We’re missing the bbq as well. Thanks for your feedback and for stopping by. Cheers.

  12. Would love to try the infamous TEX MEX in texas one day. But for now, I’ll have to settle for my family’s Mexican food from MEXICO and California. But you really did go all out here didn’t you? So many Texan culinary options. Really quite a roundup for the foodie loooooovers!! Cheers!

  13. There seems to be a lot of meat on offer here! A meat and bbq lovers paradise. I am always sceptical when I read judged the best in the world. Judged by who and against who especially when it is in the USA lol. After Americans call there NBA and MLB winners world Champions. Anyway enough of that, the food looks fantastic and I can see why this is a food lovers paradise

    • That’s funny, Mark…lol!! Totally agree. In the end, you’ve got to make up your mind and your own opinions. The adventure is half the fun. If you haven’t made it to Austin for the bbq yet, definitively consider a trip! Cheers.

  14. Woah Rosemary! That is a whole lot of meat!

    How long did you spend on this quest? You must have been soooo full after a few days of that much meaty-goodness!! I am also really drawn to the tasty photos of slaw and beans…they looks sooo good!

  15. WOW!!! Amazing food! I will have to go back to some of those and also check out the ones I haven’t been to yet-got my work cut out for me! Oh, and I should probably take Rob, too!HA! Thanks so much for the mention! It was a great time exploring Austin’s BBQ food scene with “YA’LL” 🙂 P.S. I love the pic of you two with the giant rib!


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