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A spread of smoked meats with sides from J-Bar-M Barbecue.
Houston’s barbecue scene is worth biting into.
Robert J. Lerma

18 of Houston’s Most Essential Barbecue Joints

Where to worship at the church of smoked meats with juicy brisket, massive beef ribs, snappy sausages, and so much more

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Houston’s barbecue scene is worth biting into.
| Robert J. Lerma

Over the past couple of years, Houston has established its very own barbecue identity. Alongside the state’s vaunted establishments like Snow’s and Kreuz Market, Space City’s smokehouses are better than ever, which means that barbecue enthusiasts don’t have to look far for a solid plate of brisket or perfectly-tender ribs.

Whether the occasion calls for perfect house-made sausage or the most succulent fatty brisket, these 18 purveyors of smoked delights will surely satisfy.

While Pappa Charlies Barbeque and Pizzitola’s Bar-B-Cue have been removed, Brett’s Barbecue Shop and Lonestar Sausage & BBQ have been added to the list to provide even more blissful barbecue options.

Is your favorite ice cream spot missing from this map? Shout it out in the comments.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Tejas Chocolate & BBQ

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The real question here is why nobody ever thought to put Texas barbecue and specialty chocolate under the same roof before. This barbecue spot boasts a solid menu of classics, but also ventures outside of the box with its offerings. Try a brisket-topped wedge salad or smoked turkey sandwich with avocado and fried egg. On the side, try the carrot souffle and cornbread pudding, then grab some rich chocolate truffles on the way out.

CorkScrew BBQ

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Just a short drive outside of Houston proper in Old Town Spring is Corkscrew BBQ, a smokehouse as charming as its surroundings. Prime brisket, pulled pork, turkey and link sausage are all killer choices, as is the Bobert sandwich, piled high with the customer’s choice of meats and green chile ranch dressing. For a huge undertaking, go for The Whole Hog, a massive sandwich topped with pulled pork, sausage, and a rib or two. 

Lonestar Sausage & BBQ

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Launched by a former Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy, this barbecue joint serves up brisket, chicken and spare pork ribs with a side of old-fashioned barbecue, but its forte is sausage. Specializing in different housemade links to satisfy your sausage lust, choose from the East Texas-style link, the Central Texas-style beef-and-pork sausage, and the jalapeno-cheese variety, and leave happy.

Brooks' Place, LLC

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This mobile smokehouse parked in a Kroger parking lot has earned a crowd of devoted locals. Brisket, pork butt, and ribs are the proteins on offer, each simply smoked to perfection. Pair with bacon-garlic potatoes or classic mac and cheese and baked beans.

Burns Original BBQ

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Earning a seal of approval from knowledgeable eaters like the late Anthony Bourdain and Slim Thug, Burns Original BBQ serves up ribs, brisket, chicken links, housemade sausage, and more smoky proteins. Don’t skimp on side options like dirty rice and potato salad.

Gatlin's BBQ

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Gatlin’s BBQ serves up St. Louis-style ribs, classic brisket smoked to perfection, and plenty more meaty delights. Try the pastrami turkey sandwich, the smoked chicken wings slathered in Thai chili or raspberry-habanero sauce, and Cajun-style dirty rice.

Triple J's Smokehouse BBQ

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As good as the meats are at Triple J’s, the sauce is a required element. Its balanced flavors are an excellent complement to the brisket, sausage, and ribs, so good that it's totally acceptable to drench an entire plate. That’s especially true with the Ravens Bowl, a giant pile of fries loaded down with chopped beef and cheese.

Feges BBQ Spring Branch

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As solid as the brisket, sausage, and pulled pork are at this Spring Branch location, the sides at Feges BBQ are truly standout. Priced at just $4 each, elote corn salad, spiced cracklins, pimento mac and cheese, and more stunners await. The Carolina-style whole hog with cracklin’ mop sauce, and charred coleslaw on top of hog fat cornbread will have you bragging to your friends out of state, as will its expansive menu, featuring a boatload of sandwiches, finger foods, a large selection of wine and beer, and $10 frozen margaritas. Top it off with “sweets,” like a scoop of Big Red ice cream, or a banana caramel cream pie.

Pinkerton's Barbecue

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Find perfectly smoked Prime brisket, boudin, juicy chicken, and glazed pork ribs at this smokehouse helmed by pitmaster Grant Pinkerton. Don't get too stuffed on meats, though — the sides like the cheesy jalapeno rice and duck jambalaya are as compelling as the proteins.

Brett's Barbecue Shop

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Billed as one of the top 50 barbecue joints in Texas, this Katy shop holds its own with oak-smoked Central Style barbecue. Pair the moist fatty brisket, pork belly burnt ends, juicy pork ribs, or smoked brisket enchiladas smothered in a creamy gravy, with epic sides, which include a loaded mac and cheese, a cilantro-jalapeno slaw, and flavorful pinto beans. Depending on the day, you might find a new special, like a brisket banh mi, or the beef cheek confit, most recently served at the Houston BBQ Festival.

Fainmous BBQ

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Tennessee-style BBQ doesn’t get a whole lot of play in Texas, but Fainmous does it right. Smoked chicken wings, turkey legs, and rib tips meet traditional offerings like brisket, pulled pork, and link sausage. Try the most-excellent rib tips sandwich if meats by the pound don’t appeal, and be grateful that the killer coleslaw is technically a vegetable. 

Truth BBQ

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At this Brenham export, pitmaster Leo Botello IV has brought a taste of the Hill Country to Houston. Succulent brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, and sausage are worth the lines that Truth’s arrival have brought, and it’s tough to choose between the excellent sides, which range from tater tot casserole to corn pudding. Try to save room for a towering slice of banana-caramel or coconut cream cake.

J-Bar-M Barbecue

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Houston’s newest barbecue restaurant is already getting raves from diners and critics alike thanks to Post Oak-smoked meats, a contemporary design, and a massive beer garden. If you have a sweet tooth, desserts like the giant cinnamon rolls, classic banana pudding, and peach cobbler are sure to solidify this barbecue experience.

Roegels Barbecue Co

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Pronounced “Ray-gles,” this barbecue spot has a slew of loyal fans. Protein options include smoked pork belly, boudin, beef ribs, and pulled pork shoulder, alongside Texas caviar, loaded mashed potatoes, and decadent bourbon banana pudding.

The Pit Room

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This Montrose smokehouse turns out stunning slabs of brisket that are especially delicious when wrapped in one of The Pit Room’s tortillas made with rendered (and perfectly smoky) brisket fat. The sausage, made on-site, is equally compelling, especially the black pepper venison and jalapeno-cheddar versions.

Blood Bros. Barbecue

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Three words: brisket fried rice. At Blood Bros., diners can feast on jalapeno-cheddar sausages, juicy turkey, and pork belly burnt ends. As far as the sides are concerned, the brisket fried rice here is arguably one of the city’s finest barbecue joint sides, and the jalapeno coleslaw is equally solid.

Ray’s BBQ Shack

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Tucked away in an unassuming spot near a gas station, Ray’s would be easy to overlook. But to drive right past would truly be a shame. This soulful spot offers up old-school barbecue, massive meat-stuffed baked potatoes, smoked oxtail, and sides to die for. Pretty much all the sides are great here, but the fried corn on the cob cannot be missed.

Killen's Barbecue

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With its constantly packed restaurant, Killen’s has made Pearland a barbecue destination. In addition to the succulent smoked brisket, housemade sausages, and massive beef rib, Killen’s has exceptional sides, particularly the creamed corn and potato salad.

A meat tray with brisket, sausage, a beef rib, and pork ribs, surrounded by sides, including mac and cheese, creamed corn, beans, barbecue sauce, and trays of jalapenos and onions.
People are known to travel for Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland.
Kimberly Park

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Tejas Chocolate & BBQ

The real question here is why nobody ever thought to put Texas barbecue and specialty chocolate under the same roof before. This barbecue spot boasts a solid menu of classics, but also ventures outside of the box with its offerings. Try a brisket-topped wedge salad or smoked turkey sandwich with avocado and fried egg. On the side, try the carrot souffle and cornbread pudding, then grab some rich chocolate truffles on the way out.

CorkScrew BBQ

Just a short drive outside of Houston proper in Old Town Spring is Corkscrew BBQ, a smokehouse as charming as its surroundings. Prime brisket, pulled pork, turkey and link sausage are all killer choices, as is the Bobert sandwich, piled high with the customer’s choice of meats and green chile ranch dressing. For a huge undertaking, go for The Whole Hog, a massive sandwich topped with pulled pork, sausage, and a rib or two. 

Lonestar Sausage & BBQ

Launched by a former Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy, this barbecue joint serves up brisket, chicken and spare pork ribs with a side of old-fashioned barbecue, but its forte is sausage. Specializing in different housemade links to satisfy your sausage lust, choose from the East Texas-style link, the Central Texas-style beef-and-pork sausage, and the jalapeno-cheese variety, and leave happy.

Brooks' Place, LLC

This mobile smokehouse parked in a Kroger parking lot has earned a crowd of devoted locals. Brisket, pork butt, and ribs are the proteins on offer, each simply smoked to perfection. Pair with bacon-garlic potatoes or classic mac and cheese and baked beans.

Burns Original BBQ

Earning a seal of approval from knowledgeable eaters like the late Anthony Bourdain and Slim Thug, Burns Original BBQ serves up ribs, brisket, chicken links, housemade sausage, and more smoky proteins. Don’t skimp on side options like dirty rice and potato salad.

Gatlin's BBQ

Gatlin’s BBQ serves up St. Louis-style ribs, classic brisket smoked to perfection, and plenty more meaty delights. Try the pastrami turkey sandwich, the smoked chicken wings slathered in Thai chili or raspberry-habanero sauce, and Cajun-style dirty rice.

Triple J's Smokehouse BBQ

As good as the meats are at Triple J’s, the sauce is a required element. Its balanced flavors are an excellent complement to the brisket, sausage, and ribs, so good that it's totally acceptable to drench an entire plate. That’s especially true with the Ravens Bowl, a giant pile of fries loaded down with chopped beef and cheese.

Feges BBQ Spring Branch

As solid as the brisket, sausage, and pulled pork are at this Spring Branch location, the sides at Feges BBQ are truly standout. Priced at just $4 each, elote corn salad, spiced cracklins, pimento mac and cheese, and more stunners await. The Carolina-style whole hog with cracklin’ mop sauce, and charred coleslaw on top of hog fat cornbread will have you bragging to your friends out of state, as will its expansive menu, featuring a boatload of sandwiches, finger foods, a large selection of wine and beer, and $10 frozen margaritas. Top it off with “sweets,” like a scoop of Big Red ice cream, or a banana caramel cream pie.

Pinkerton's Barbecue

Find perfectly smoked Prime brisket, boudin, juicy chicken, and glazed pork ribs at this smokehouse helmed by pitmaster Grant Pinkerton. Don't get too stuffed on meats, though — the sides like the cheesy jalapeno rice and duck jambalaya are as compelling as the proteins.

Brett's Barbecue Shop

Billed as one of the top 50 barbecue joints in Texas, this Katy shop holds its own with oak-smoked Central Style barbecue. Pair the moist fatty brisket, pork belly burnt ends, juicy pork ribs, or smoked brisket enchiladas smothered in a creamy gravy, with epic sides, which include a loaded mac and cheese, a cilantro-jalapeno slaw, and flavorful pinto beans. Depending on the day, you might find a new special, like a brisket banh mi, or the beef cheek confit, most recently served at the Houston BBQ Festival.

Fainmous BBQ

Tennessee-style BBQ doesn’t get a whole lot of play in Texas, but Fainmous does it right. Smoked chicken wings, turkey legs, and rib tips meet traditional offerings like brisket, pulled pork, and link sausage. Try the most-excellent rib tips sandwich if meats by the pound don’t appeal, and be grateful that the killer coleslaw is technically a vegetable. 

Truth BBQ

At this Brenham export, pitmaster Leo Botello IV has brought a taste of the Hill Country to Houston. Succulent brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, and sausage are worth the lines that Truth’s arrival have brought, and it’s tough to choose between the excellent sides, which range from tater tot casserole to corn pudding. Try to save room for a towering slice of banana-caramel or coconut cream cake.

J-Bar-M Barbecue

Houston’s newest barbecue restaurant is already getting raves from diners and critics alike thanks to Post Oak-smoked meats, a contemporary design, and a massive beer garden. If you have a sweet tooth, desserts like the giant cinnamon rolls, classic banana pudding, and peach cobbler are sure to solidify this barbecue experience.

Roegels Barbecue Co

Pronounced “Ray-gles,” this barbecue spot has a slew of loyal fans. Protein options include smoked pork belly, boudin, beef ribs, and pulled pork shoulder, alongside Texas caviar, loaded mashed potatoes, and decadent bourbon banana pudding.

The Pit Room

This Montrose smokehouse turns out stunning slabs of brisket that are especially delicious when wrapped in one of The Pit Room’s tortillas made with rendered (and perfectly smoky) brisket fat. The sausage, made on-site, is equally compelling, especially the black pepper venison and jalapeno-cheddar versions.

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Blood Bros. Barbecue

Three words: brisket fried rice. At Blood Bros., diners can feast on jalapeno-cheddar sausages, juicy turkey, and pork belly burnt ends. As far as the sides are concerned, the brisket fried rice here is arguably one of the city’s finest barbecue joint sides, and the jalapeno coleslaw is equally solid.

Ray’s BBQ Shack

Tucked away in an unassuming spot near a gas station, Ray’s would be easy to overlook. But to drive right past would truly be a shame. This soulful spot offers up old-school barbecue, massive meat-stuffed baked potatoes, smoked oxtail, and sides to die for. Pretty much all the sides are great here, but the fried corn on the cob cannot be missed.

Killen's Barbecue

A meat tray with brisket, sausage, a beef rib, and pork ribs, surrounded by sides, including mac and cheese, creamed corn, beans, barbecue sauce, and trays of jalapenos and onions.
People are known to travel for Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland.
Kimberly Park

With its constantly packed restaurant, Killen’s has made Pearland a barbecue destination. In addition to the succulent smoked brisket, housemade sausages, and massive beef rib, Killen’s has exceptional sides, particularly the creamed corn and potato salad.

A meat tray with brisket, sausage, a beef rib, and pork ribs, surrounded by sides, including mac and cheese, creamed corn, beans, barbecue sauce, and trays of jalapenos and onions.
People are known to travel for Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland.
Kimberly Park

Related Maps