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A fine spread from Killen's
A fine spread from Killen's
Katy Norris [EHOU]

14 Essential Houston Barbecue Destinations

Where to worship at the church of smoked meats

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A fine spread from Killen's
| Katy Norris [EHOU]

Much of the attention paid to Texas' rich barbecue history is paid to the Hill Country, where establishments like Black's and Kreuz Market have long reigned as the state's finest smokehouses. But let us not forget that Houston has an equally notable barbecue culture, one that finds its roots in a variety of cultures and cuisines.

Over the past few years, Houston's barbecue scene has rapidly grown, bringing more and more pitmasters and their delicious wares into the fray. Which begs the question: Where can you find Houston's best barbecue?

Whether you're looking for perfect housemade sausage or the most succulent fatty brisket, these 14 purveyors of smoked delights will surely satisfy.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Killen's Barbecue

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3613 Broadway St
Pearland, TX 77581
(281) 485-0844
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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, you’ll want to save plenty of room for Killen’s excellent sides, particularly the creamed corn and potato salad. You’ll no doubt waiting in line whenever you show up, but it moves quickly and the free Lone Star beer certainly helps.
Katy Norris/EHOU

2. Corkscrew BBQ

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26608 Keith Street
Spring, TX 77373
(832) 592-1184
Visit Website
Just a short drive outside of Houston proper in Old Town Spring you’ll find 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 your choice of meats and green chile ranch dressing. If you’re really feeling hungry, go for The Whole Hog, a massive sandwich topped with pulled pork, sausage, and a rib or two.
Katy Norris/EHOU

3. Gatlins BBQ

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3510 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77018
(713) 869-4227
Visit Website
A favorite of Chef Chris Shepherd, Gatlin’s BBQ serves up St. Louis-style ribs, classic brisket smoked to perfection, and plenty more meaty delights. Try Gatlin’s three types of link sausage – spicy, venison, or traditional – paired with dirty rice, smoked corn, and baked beans for a truly transcendent barbecue experience.
Katy Norris/EHOU

4. Brooks Place BBQ

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18020 FM 529 Rd
Cypress, TX 77433
(832) 893-1682
Visit Website
This mobile smokehouse parked in a Kroger parking lot has rapidly become one of Houston’s most notable barbecue joints. Brisket, smoked pork butt, and ribs are the proteins on offer, each simply smoked to perfection. Pair with bacon-garlic potatoes or cranberry slaw for an update or traditional BBQ sides, or stick to classic mac and cheese and baked beans.
Katy Norris/EHOU

5. Fainmous BBQ

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10400 S Post Oak Rd
Houston, TX 77035
(713) 728-9663
Visit Website
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 pig burger or pork chop sandwich if meats by the pound aren’t your thing, and be grateful that the killer coleslaw is technically a vegetable.
Katy Norris/EHOU

6. Pizzitola's BBQ

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1703 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77007
(713) 277-2283
Visit Website
Since 1935, Pizzitola’s BBQ has been a fixture of Houston’s barbecue scene. Famous for its succulent spare ribs, Pizzitola’s open brick pits are the only ones of their kind allowed to operate within the city limits of Houston, which produces a unique flavor and seared. Ask for an inside cut of brisket, carved from the top of the brisket if you’re insistent on beef, but your best bet is to go half-pork with an order of ribs or pulled pork to go alongside.
Katy Norris/EHOU

7. The Brisket House

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5775 Woodway Dr
Houston, TX 77057
(281) 888-0331
Visit Website
The Brisket House is a newcomer considering the longevity of some of Houston’s barbecue establishments, but they’re definitely doing it right. Meats here, like Angus briskets and pulled pork are smoked for more than 16 hour over oak wood. Texas A&M alums should order The Brisket House special – your choice of meats, a hunk of aged cheddar, a whole Kosher pickle, half an onlion, and bread – it’s a recreation of the classic Aggie special.
Katy Norris/EHOU

8. Virgie's Bar-B-Q

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5535 Gessner Rd
Houston, TX 77041
(713) 466-6525
Visit Website
The son of restaurant owners, Adrian Handsborough has been smoking up his “barbecure” for more than 20 years. Inspired by his parents’ classic restaurant , Virgie’s Bar-B-Que is most well-known for its smoky-sweet baby back ribs, either a full slab or baby backs. Chicken, brisket, and pork links are also on offer, rounding out a solid menu of smoked meats. Add cole slaw, green beans, or potato salad to round it all out.
Katy Norris/EHOU

9. Triple J's Bar-B-Q

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6715 Homestead Rd
Houston, TX 77028
(713) 635-6381
As good as the meats are at Triple J’s, the sauce is a required element. Its balanced flavors are an excellent complement to brisket, sausage, and ribs, so good that you’ll find yourself drenching your entire plate in Triple J’s famous sauce. If you’re feeling particularly famished, try the Big J, a sandwich piled high with brisket, ribs, and sausage that will put you in the meatiest of meat comas. Finish your meal with a slice of Italian cream cake or classic peach cobbler.
Katy Norris/EHOU

10. Hickory Hollow

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8038 Fallbrook Dr
Houston, TX 77064
(281) 469-5323
Visit Website
This classic Houston eatery offers a unique barbecue option: lightened-up combo plates. Instead of the uber-fatty brisket that dominates most barbecue spots, Hickory Hollow offers lean cuts that don’t skimp on the smoky flavor. If you’re trying to indulge, go for a massive spud topped with brisket, sausage, bacon, cheese, and plenty of margarine and sour cream.
Katy Norris/EHOU

11. Blood Bros BBQ

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Bringing a decidedly new-school take on Texas barbecue, Blood Bros. brings Houston’s wackiest (and highly delicious) smoked creations. Take the MacRib, for example – a classic rib sandwich taken to a whole new level with a thick scoop of mac n’ cheese crisped to perfection in a waffle iron. Indulge only the most massive of cravings with the Wilfork platter, which features more meat (full sausages, wings, a rack of pork ribs, brisket, and a beef rib) than you ever thought possible in one place.
Blood Bros/Facebook

12. Pappa Charlies Barbecue

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2012 Rusk St
Houston, TX 77003
(832) 940-1719
Visit Website
Since 2014, Pappa Charlies has been smoking some of Houston’s finest briskets. Since moving into its brick-and-mortar home last year, the restaurant has only continued to perfect its most excellent formula. Brisket, boudin, pulled pork, and ribs are less than $10 per half-pound, which means that you can mix and match to your meat lovin’ heart’s content. Round out your meal with a side of pinto beans or spicy slaw.
Pappa Charlies/Facebook

13. Brookstreet Bar-B-Que

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10705 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77042
Brookstreet BBQ’s take on Texas classics like brisket, sausage, and ribs is one that will make you truly appreciate the art that is smoking meats. Pile chopped beef or pulled pork onto a po’boy or baked potato, or simply indulge in an excellent assortment of meats by the pound paired with ranch style beans, mac and cheese, and jambalaya.
Brookstreet Bar-B-Que

14. Jackson Street BBQ

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209 Jackson St
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 224-2400
Visit Website
Also a relative newcomer to Houston’s thriving barbecue scene, Jackson Street BBQ has quickly established itself as a spot for perfectly smoked, simple Texas barbecue. The menu of meats is small – just brisket, ribs, sausage, and “yardbird,” – all of which can be ordered by the pound or served as a sandwich. Just try resisting the urge to add fried mac n’ cheese or homemade pecan pie to your order, no matter how full you are.
Jackson Street BBQ/Facebook

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1. Killen's Barbecue

3613 Broadway St, Pearland, TX 77581
Katy Norris/EHOU
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, you’ll want to save plenty of room for Killen’s excellent sides, particularly the creamed corn and potato salad. You’ll no doubt waiting in line whenever you show up, but it moves quickly and the free Lone Star beer certainly helps.
3613 Broadway St
Pearland, TX 77581

2. Corkscrew BBQ

26608 Keith Street, Spring, TX 77373
Katy Norris/EHOU
Just a short drive outside of Houston proper in Old Town Spring you’ll find 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 your choice of meats and green chile ranch dressing. If you’re really feeling hungry, go for The Whole Hog, a massive sandwich topped with pulled pork, sausage, and a rib or two.
26608 Keith Street
Spring, TX 77373

3. Gatlins BBQ

3510 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX 77018
Katy Norris/EHOU
A favorite of Chef Chris Shepherd, Gatlin’s BBQ serves up St. Louis-style ribs, classic brisket smoked to perfection, and plenty more meaty delights. Try Gatlin’s three types of link sausage – spicy, venison, or traditional – paired with dirty rice, smoked corn, and baked beans for a truly transcendent barbecue experience.
3510 Ella Blvd
Houston, TX 77018

4. Brooks Place BBQ

18020 FM 529 Rd, Cypress, TX 77433
Katy Norris/EHOU
This mobile smokehouse parked in a Kroger parking lot has rapidly become one of Houston’s most notable barbecue joints. Brisket, smoked pork butt, and ribs are the proteins on offer, each simply smoked to perfection. Pair with bacon-garlic potatoes or cranberry slaw for an update or traditional BBQ sides, or stick to classic mac and cheese and baked beans.
18020 FM 529 Rd
Cypress, TX 77433

5. Fainmous BBQ

10400 S Post Oak Rd, Houston, TX 77035
Katy Norris/EHOU
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 pig burger or pork chop sandwich if meats by the pound aren’t your thing, and be grateful that the killer coleslaw is technically a vegetable.
10400 S Post Oak Rd
Houston, TX 77035

6. Pizzitola's BBQ

1703 Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77007
Katy Norris/EHOU
Since 1935, Pizzitola’s BBQ has been a fixture of Houston’s barbecue scene. Famous for its succulent spare ribs, Pizzitola’s open brick pits are the only ones of their kind allowed to operate within the city limits of Houston, which produces a unique flavor and seared. Ask for an inside cut of brisket, carved from the top of the brisket if you’re insistent on beef, but your best bet is to go half-pork with an order of ribs or pulled pork to go alongside.
1703 Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77007

7. The Brisket House

5775 Woodway Dr, Houston, TX 77057
Katy Norris/EHOU
The Brisket House is a newcomer considering the longevity of some of Houston’s barbecue establishments, but they’re definitely doing it right. Meats here, like Angus briskets and pulled pork are smoked for more than 16 hour over oak wood. Texas A&M alums should order The Brisket House special – your choice of meats, a hunk of aged cheddar, a whole Kosher pickle, half an onlion, and bread – it’s a recreation of the classic Aggie special.
5775 Woodway Dr
Houston, TX 77057

8. Virgie's Bar-B-Q

5535 Gessner Rd, Houston, TX 77041
Katy Norris/EHOU
The son of restaurant owners, Adrian Handsborough has been smoking up his “barbecure” for more than 20 years. Inspired by his parents’ classic restaurant , Virgie’s Bar-B-Que is most well-known for its smoky-sweet baby back ribs, either a full slab or baby backs. Chicken, brisket, and pork links are also on offer, rounding out a solid menu of smoked meats. Add cole slaw, green beans, or potato salad to round it all out.
5535 Gessner Rd
Houston, TX 77041

9. Triple J's Bar-B-Q

6715 Homestead Rd, Houston, TX 77028
Katy Norris/EHOU
As good as the meats are at Triple J’s, the sauce is a required element. Its balanced flavors are an excellent complement to brisket, sausage, and ribs, so good that you’ll find yourself drenching your entire plate in Triple J’s famous sauce. If you’re feeling particularly famished, try the Big J, a sandwich piled high with brisket, ribs, and sausage that will put you in the meatiest of meat comas. Finish your meal with a slice of Italian cream cake or classic peach cobbler.
6715 Homestead Rd
Houston, TX 77028

10. Hickory Hollow

8038 Fallbrook Dr, Houston, TX 77064
Katy Norris/EHOU
This classic Houston eatery offers a unique barbecue option: lightened-up combo plates. Instead of the uber-fatty brisket that dominates most barbecue spots, Hickory Hollow offers lean cuts that don’t skimp on the smoky flavor. If you’re trying to indulge, go for a massive spud topped with brisket, sausage, bacon, cheese, and plenty of margarine and sour cream.
8038 Fallbrook Dr
Houston, TX 77064

11. Blood Bros BBQ

Houston, TX
Blood Bros/Facebook
Bringing a decidedly new-school take on Texas barbecue, Blood Bros. brings Houston’s wackiest (and highly delicious) smoked creations. Take the MacRib, for example – a classic rib sandwich taken to a whole new level with a thick scoop of mac n’ cheese crisped to perfection in a waffle iron. Indulge only the most massive of cravings with the Wilfork platter, which features more meat (full sausages, wings, a rack of pork ribs, brisket, and a beef rib) than you ever thought possible in one place.

12. Pappa Charlies Barbecue

2012 Rusk St, Houston, TX 77003
Pappa Charlies/Facebook
Since 2014, Pappa Charlies has been smoking some of Houston’s finest briskets. Since moving into its brick-and-mortar home last year, the restaurant has only continued to perfect its most excellent formula. Brisket, boudin, pulled pork, and ribs are less than $10 per half-pound, which means that you can mix and match to your meat lovin’ heart’s content. Round out your meal with a side of pinto beans or spicy slaw.
2012 Rusk St
Houston, TX 77003

13. Brookstreet Bar-B-Que

10705 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77042
Brookstreet Bar-B-Que
Brookstreet BBQ’s take on Texas classics like brisket, sausage, and ribs is one that will make you truly appreciate the art that is smoking meats. Pile chopped beef or pulled pork onto a po’boy or baked potato, or simply indulge in an excellent assortment of meats by the pound paired with ranch style beans, mac and cheese, and jambalaya.
10705 Westheimer Rd
Houston, TX 77042

14. Jackson Street BBQ

209 Jackson St, Houston, TX 77002
Jackson Street BBQ/Facebook
Also a relative newcomer to Houston’s thriving barbecue scene, Jackson Street BBQ has quickly established itself as a spot for perfectly smoked, simple Texas barbecue. The menu of meats is small – just brisket, ribs, sausage, and “yardbird,” – all of which can be ordered by the pound or served as a sandwich. Just try resisting the urge to add fried mac n’ cheese or homemade pecan pie to your order, no matter how full you are.
209 Jackson St
Houston, TX 77002

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