When it comes to barbecue in Austin, you’re spoiled for choice.
With so many options, it can be overwhelming to know where to go for the best. But fear not, because we’ve got you covered.
In this guide, we’ve hand-picked 11 of the best barbecue spots in the Capital City that have been locally vetted and are sure to satisfy your cravings.
Whether you’re a local looking to switch things up or a visitor only in town for a short while, you won’t want to miss out on these insanely delicious options.
From classic brisket to unique twists on traditional favorites, we’ve got something for everyone. So prepare to indulge in some of the best BBQ in Austin and experience the true taste of Texas.
Things You Should Know About the Best BBQ in Austin
If you’re planning to indulge in Austin’s famous barbecue, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your experience. Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of Texas barbecue:
- Check the hours of your chosen barbecue joint online before you go, as most places open around 11 AM and close once or twice a week (usually Monday and Tuesday).
- Arrive early if you want to try the most popular meats, as places often sell out of brisket, which is the ultimate measure of the quality of barbecue.
- When ordering brisket, some places will ask if you’d like fatty or lean brisket. While a mix is nice, we prefer fatty brisket for the ultimate flavor experience.
- Don’t smother your meat in barbecue sauce, as high-quality Central Texas-style barbecue is insanely flavorful and can stand on its own. Use the sauces on the side for dipping or a light drizzle once you’ve tried everything on its own first.
- Always order extra, as barbecue makes fantastic leftovers (hello, breakfast tacos!).
- Go with a friend and order as much as you can to sample a little bit of everything. Every barbecue joint has a variety of meats, sides, and, if you’re lucky, dessert.
Following these tips will help you make the most of your barbecue experience in Austin. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’re sure to find something to love at one of the city’s many barbecue joints, from the classic brisket and ribs to the more unique offerings like smoked turkey and beef kielbasa.
If you’re looking for a barbecue spot with ample seating, Terry Black’s Barbecue on Barton Springs Road in South Austin is a great option.
Although they may not have the absolute best brisket in town, their meats are still flavorful and their sides are a must-try.
The creamed corn and mac and cheese are particularly delicious. Locals and tourists alike love this spot, and it’s a great place to bring just about anyone.
Here are some highlights of what you can expect at Terry Black’s Barbecue:
- Mouth-watering brisket that is cooked low and slow over post oak wood
- Delicious pork ribs that are seasoned with a blend of spices and smoked to perfection
- Juicy sausage that is made in-house with high-quality meats and spices
- Tasty sides like mac and cheese, potato salad, and coleslaw
- A casual and welcoming atmosphere that is perfect for enjoying a meal with friends and family
Be sure to check out Terry Black’s Barbecue website for more information on their menu and hours of operation.
10. Stiles Switch BBQ
If you’re looking for some of the best BBQ in Austin, look no further than Stiles Switch BBQ.
Tucked away in an old strip mall in North Austin, this hidden gem offers fantastic sides and meats that are sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Be sure to try a little bit of everything, but don’t skip out on the sausage, corn casserole, or mac and cheese – they’re some of the best in town.
To avoid the crowds, try visiting outside of peak hours or be prepared to wait in line.
But trust us, the wait is worth it for the mouth-watering BBQ that Stiles Switch has to offer.
9. JNL Barbecue
If you’re looking for a solid, traditional, and absolutely delicious Central Texas barbecue without the long lines, JNL Barbecue is the place for you.
With a pitmaster who honed his skills at Franklin’s, you know you’re in for a treat.
The recently opened brick-and-mortar on Cesar Chavez offers a variety of meats and sides that are exactly what you’d expect from a top-notch barbecue joint.
The brisket is buttery and tender, the cajun butter turkey is juicy, and the pulled pork is tangy.
The sides are just as impressive, with a mustardy potato salad, bacony green beans, and punchy coleslaw to cut through the richness of the meats.
One of our menu favorites is the slightly non-traditional al pastor pork ribs and smokehouse bacon.
And if you happen to visit on a Sunday, be sure to try the BLT special (with added turkey) – it’s everything you could want from a BLT.
Overall, JNL Barbecue is a must-visit for anyone looking for authentic Central Texas barbecue without the long lines.
8. Micklethwait Craft Meats
If you’re seeking some of the best BBQ in Austin, you should head to Micklethwait Craft Meats, a trailer located on the east side of town.
The menu is fixed, but you might be fortunate enough to come across an unadvertised daily special that’s always a delight. Micklethwait’s meats are of exceptional quality and absolutely delicious, with their Tex-Czech sausage being a personal favorite with its perfect snappy casing.
However, what truly sets them apart are their sides. Their lemon poppy slaw has a lightly sweet and tangy vinaigrette that’s a perfect accompaniment to the rich and salty smoked meats.
And then there are the jalapeno cheese grits, made with cheddar, cream, and gorgonzola cheese, which are an excellent Southern treat.
Not many barbecue joints serve grits, and Micklethwait’s are outstanding.
If you’re looking for a unique take on Texas-style barbecue, KG BBQ is the spot for you.
Chef Kareem El-Ghayesh, also known as KG, infuses Middle Eastern and Egyptian flavors into his menu, creating a fusion of cuisines that is both innovative and delicious.
While the menu does offer some traditional smoked meats, such as brisket and pork ribs, the real stars of the show are the fusion dishes.
One standout dish is the rice bowl, which is topped with brisket, candied nuts, pomegranate seeds, and a bright yogurt sauce.
The lamb dishes are also a must-try, with options like smoked lamb chops, pulled lamb, lamb bacon ribs, and lamb kofta.
To take your meal to the next level, be sure to try the condiments. The pomegranate barbecue sauce is a standout, and the mint chimichurri is a must-have addition to any dish.
KG BBQ started as a pop-up and has since grown into a full-fledged food truck, thanks to Chef KG’s dedication to his craft. Don’t miss out on this unique and flavorful take on Texas barbecue.
SEE ALSO: Check out the 20 Best Breakfast & Brunch Spots in Austin for more delicious dining options.
Distant Relatives is a must-visit spot for anyone interested in experiencing modern African American barbeque.
The menu may not be extensive, but it features a range of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
The star of the show is the smoked chicken legs, which are served with a chili vinegar dip.
The spice level is elevated, but it doesn’t read as spicy. Instead, the flavors are layered together to create a complex and interesting spiced taste.
One bite of the chicken leg, and you’ll find yourself sighing with pleasure.
But chicken isn’t the only thing on the menu at Distant Relatives. The pork spare ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender, and the pulled pork is peppery and moist.
The uniquely tart tamarind molasses barbecue sauce is the perfect accompaniment to nearly any dish.
Even if you’ve been hesitant to try black-eyed peas and collards, Distant Relatives’ version is about as good as it gets.
Distant Relatives’ focus on modern African American barbeque is inspired by the story of the African diaspora in the US through food.
The restaurant’s name reflects the idea that, even though we may be distant relatives, we can all come together over a shared love of delicious food.
If you’re a fan of Tex Mex and barbecue, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ is the perfect place to satisfy your cravings.
Located a bit south of the city center, the restaurant offers some of the best BBQ in Austin.
The meats are consistently smoked to perfection, and the pulled pork and thick slabs of juicy brisket are particularly noteworthy.
If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast, Valentina’s is also a great choice. The Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco is a must-try, featuring a fried egg, breakfast potatoes, refried beans, bacon, and smoked brisket all wrapped in a soft flour tortilla.
It’s a combination of some of the best barbecue and breakfast tacos you’ll ever have.
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ is a small restaurant that packs a big punch when it comes to flavor.
Whether you’re in the mood for breakfast or lunch, you won’t be disappointed by the delicious offerings at this Austin hotspot.
If you’re looking for savory smoked meats and the best barbecue in Austin, LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue is the place to go.
This food trailer, located on South Congress just north of Ben White Boulevard, offers unforgettable dishes that showcase innovation and gastronomic flair while still respecting the art of barbecue.
Make sure to visit on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday to try their succulent and moist beef cheek.
The L&L Burger is also a must-try, made with smoked and seared Akaushi brisket, American cheese, homemade sauce, grilled onion, and house pickles on a Martin’s potato bun.
LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue’s weekly menus are available on their website, and they offer phenomenal sides to complement their dishes.
Don’t forget to check out their website for more information on their menu.
If you’re looking for a taste of legendary barbecue in Austin, La Barbecue is the place to be.
This restaurant is known for its super traditional and delectable Central Texas-style barbecue that will leave you wanting more.
The brisket is absolutely phenomenal, while the pulled pork and ribs are noteworthy. La Barbecue’s sides are also a step up from other contenders in town.
Their coleslaw is unique and great on their sandwiches, the potato salad has great flavor (not too mustardy), and the mac and cheese is a must-try.
To avoid long lines or missing out on your share of the brisket, make sure to arrive just before opening.
If you’re a fan of Central Texas-style barbeque, then Interstellar is a must-visit spot located in far North Austin.
The menu at Interstellar features unique ingredient additions and less customary sides that make it stand out from other barbeque joints.
The rare tray of barbeque and sides is a home run, with every single item being worth trying. Interstellar truly does it all, excelling in not just a few meats and sides, but in the entire menu.
While there may be a line, it’s worth the wait to go with a group and order a bit of everything. It’s nearly impossible to recommend a favorite, but the brisket, pulled lamb shoulder, and beer-brined turkey are all required.
The sides of smoked scalloped potatoes, new potato salad, and complimentary beans are the perfect complement to the main dishes.
Overall, Interstellar is a confident and knowledgeable choice for a delicious barbeque experience.
As a true connoisseur, you know that Aaron Franklin’s barbecue is the best in town. The brisket is world-renowned and unlike any other cut of meat you’ve ever tasted.
To ensure you have the ultimate experience, check out our guide to dining at Franklin Barbecue.
Trust us, it’s worth the wait to taste the succulent and flavorful meats that have made Franklin Barbecue a must-visit destination for barbecue lovers.