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A tray of barbecue meats.
Barbecue at Stiles Switch.
Stiles Switch/Facebook

13 Essential Barbecue Restaurants in Austin

All the briskets, ribs, and sausages a person could ever want

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Barbecue at Stiles Switch.
| Stiles Switch/Facebook

Barbecue is a way of life in Texas, there’s just no way around it. The nationally recognized smoked meat scene found in the Austin area is so important that pitmaster Aaron Franklin even won a James Beard Award and pitmaster Damien Brockway is a semifinalist in this year’s awards.

Here is Eater’s updated definitive guide to the finest barbecue in Austin, including places with and without lines, outdoor picnic table seating and indoor table service, restaurants and food trucks, and all the briskets, ribs, and sausages a person could ever want. This means Franklin Barbecue, La Barbecue, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, the Austin outpost of Black's Barbecue, newcomer Distant Relatives, and many others. Brisket is naturally recommended at all of the restaurants and trucks below.

For other smoked meats needs, Eater Austin has it covered: there are Hill Country picks, excellent ribs, best sandwiches, stellar sides, desserts, and more. Then there's the Austin barbecue primer and a guide to the barbecue capital of the world, Lockhart.

As with all businesses, be sure to call ahead to make sure each restaurant/truck is still open or if there are updates on current offerings and service models, as things are changing constantly. Wear a mask, tip well, and if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the restaurants/trucks themselves.

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. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Interstellar BBQ

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The Anderson Mill-adjacent restaurant from John Bates and Brandon Martinez (of the long-gone Noble Sandwich Co.) was named the second-best barbecue joint in the state by Texas Monthly. The menu meats-by-weight (including sliced or chopped brisket), sandwiches, and tacos. The sides are particularly great as well. Expect lines.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: Pork ribs, beef kielbasa, tipsy turkey, peach tea-glazed pork belly, tomato-zucchini salad, smoked scalloped potatoes.

Peach tea-glazed pork belly from Interstellar BBQ
Peach tea-glazed pork belly from Interstellar BBQ
Interstellar BBQ/Facebook

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

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The Brentwood barbecue restaurant is a prime spot with actual seating that is focused on good smoked meats, plenty of daily specials like smoked prime rib, sandwiches, crispy half-chickens with Alabama white sauce, and solid desserts. Lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick trained under Bob Mueller in Taylor. There’s a second location up in Cedar Park, and a Cajun-focused offshoot out in Dripping Springs.
Service-style: Counter-service with Indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Recommended orders: beef ribs, pork ribs, turkey, barbecue sandwiches, peach cobbler.

Barbecue from Stiles Switch
Barbecue from Stiles Switch
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew/Facebook

Black's Barbecue

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The Austin branch of the renowned Lockhart barbecue destination will have to do for those who can’t make the trip down to the smoked meat capital of Texas. Find the same very good menu at this local spot from the Black family.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person; third-party deliveries.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: beef ribs (only available for on-site ordering), brisket, barbecue chicken, sausages.

Barbecue from Black’s Barbecue
Barbecue from Black’s Barbecue
Black’s Barbecue/Facebook

Sam's BBQ

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For a taste of old Austin, head to the Central East Austin barbecue institution. Sam Campbell opened his namesake business in the late 1950s; after his death, Dan Mays Sr. took over in 1977, and now his son Brian Mays oversees the establishment.

Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dining areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: Mutton, brisket.

Franklin Barbecue

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Everyone knows about the long lines at Franklin Barbecue — it’s been well documented — but for many, it’s worth the wait for those perfect briskets from pitmaster Aaron Franklin. For those looking to plan ahead, it accepts preorders. For an Asian-y take on the famed brisket, head over to Loro, Franklin’s other restaurant in collaboration with lauded Austin Japanese restaurant Uchi.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed in-person; advanced preorders online; national shipping.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out (typically around 2 to 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs, turkey, sausage, bourbon-banana pie.

Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue [Official]

Micklethwait Craft Meats

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Pitmasters owner Tom Micklethwait and Ren Garcia serve up thoughtful smoked meats at this Central East Austin food truck. Expect the staples (brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, ribs), as well as barbacoa. The standout sides round out the meal, like lemon-poppy slaw and jalapeno cheese grits. The revamped space now features an on-site bar Saddle Up and sibling truck Taco Bronco.
Service-style: Food truck service with an outdoor dine-in area; takeout orders placed online or in-person; national shipping.
Days and hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out.
Recommended orders: sausage, barbacoa, beef ribs.

Barbecue and sides from Micklethwait Craft Meats
Barbecue and sides from Micklethwait Craft Meats
Micklethwait Craft Meats/Facebook

Terry Black's BBQ

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Other members of the famed Black family made their mark on Austin with barbecue, too. Twin sons Mike and Mark Black honor their father with their Bouldin Creek smoked meats restaurant. The typical meats are served by the pound, sandwich, or family meal-style, along with sides, beer, and even wine.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in service; takeout orders online or in-person; national shipping.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, smoked turkey, ribs.

Distant Relatives

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While a newcomer to the city’s barbecue world, chef Damien Brockway and his Govalle truck have already made a huge impression (one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2021 and Eater Austin’s food truck of 2021. The menu honors and explores what modern African-American fare really is with a Texas lens, which leads to items such as pulled pork served alongside tamarind barbecue sauce and brisket with a smoked mustard butter sauce.
Service-style: Food truck service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Meanwhile Brewing; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: Brisket, chicken, burnt ends.

A tray of barbecue and sides.
Distant Relatives’s barbecue.
Nicolai McCrary/Eater

Kerlin BBQ

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The barbecue menu at the Holly truck, courtesy of pitmaster Bill Kerlin and Amelis Kerlin, is a solid one with Likewise, their other East Austin truck, Kerlaches on Webberville Road, offers up a Texan’s dream come true: brisket stuffed into kolaches.
Service-style: Food truck service with an outdoor dine-in area; takeout orders placed in person or email at orders@kerlinbbq.com with 72-hour notice.
Days and hours: Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, barbecue kolache, pork belly burnt ends.

Barbecue kolaches from Kerlin BBQ
Barbecue kolaches from Kerlin BBQ
Kerlin BBQ/Facebook

La Barbecue

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The Holly barbecue restaurant from LeAnn Mueller has a new permanent home befitting the funky cool vibes. On deck are beautiful briskets, ribs, and house-made sausages, plus beers and cocktails.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m to 6 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, beef ribs, sausages, Bobby Dawg, shells and cheese, pickles.

The Bobby Dawg at La Barbecue
The Bobby Dawg at La Barbecue
La Barbecue/Facebook

Brown's Bar-B-Que

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It’s hard to miss the bright red trailer outside South Austin spot Corner Bar, serving simple, high-quality meats. Pitmaster Daniel Brown serves what he calls “old-school barbecue” where the goal is “to give people great food for a cheap price.” Pair the smoked meat plate with drinks from the bar. Bonus: there is free barbecue available on Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m.
Service-style: Food truck service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Corner Bar; takeout orders placed in-person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork sandwich.

A barbecue plate from Brown’s Bar-B-Que
A barbecue plate from Brown’s Bar-B-Que
Brown’s Bar-B-Que/Facebook

Leroy & Lewis

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The new-school barbecue trailer and Eater Austin’s food truck of 2017 from pitmaster Evan LeRoy offers up twists on the usual smoked meats classics. Think beef cheeks, halved avocados stuffed with barbacoa, cauliflower burnt ends, cheddar cheesecake, and more.
Service-style: Food truck service with outdoor and indoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Cosmic Coffee; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: beef cheeks, barbacoa, burger, cauliflower burnt ends, cheddar cheesecake.

LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray
LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray
Logan Crable

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

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The far south Austin food truck from pitmaster Miguel Vidal mashes up two of the city’s favorite foods into one mega-meal. Delicious meats like smoked brisket or pulled pork can be found in tacos or sandwiches.
Service-style: Food truck service with outdoor dine-in areas available; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until sold out, with breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco, smoked brisket taco.

Barbecue from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Barbecue from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ [Official]

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Interstellar BBQ

The Anderson Mill-adjacent restaurant from John Bates and Brandon Martinez (of the long-gone Noble Sandwich Co.) was named the second-best barbecue joint in the state by Texas Monthly. The menu meats-by-weight (including sliced or chopped brisket), sandwiches, and tacos. The sides are particularly great as well. Expect lines.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until everything is sold out.
Recommended orders: Pork ribs, beef kielbasa, tipsy turkey, peach tea-glazed pork belly, tomato-zucchini salad, smoked scalloped potatoes.

Peach tea-glazed pork belly from Interstellar BBQ
Peach tea-glazed pork belly from Interstellar BBQ
Interstellar BBQ/Facebook

Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew

The Brentwood barbecue restaurant is a prime spot with actual seating that is focused on good smoked meats, plenty of daily specials like smoked prime rib, sandwiches, crispy half-chickens with Alabama white sauce, and solid desserts. Lead pitmaster Lance Kirkpatrick trained under Bob Mueller in Taylor. There’s a second location up in Cedar Park, and a Cajun-focused offshoot out in Dripping Springs.
Service-style: Counter-service with Indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Recommended orders: beef ribs, pork ribs, turkey, barbecue sandwiches, peach cobbler.

Barbecue from Stiles Switch
Barbecue from Stiles Switch
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew/Facebook

Black's Barbecue

The Austin branch of the renowned Lockhart barbecue destination will have to do for those who can’t make the trip down to the smoked meat capital of Texas. Find the same very good menu at this local spot from the Black family.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person; third-party deliveries.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: beef ribs (only available for on-site ordering), brisket, barbecue chicken, sausages.

Barbecue from Black’s Barbecue
Barbecue from Black’s Barbecue
Black’s Barbecue/Facebook

Sam's BBQ

For a taste of old Austin, head to the Central East Austin barbecue institution. Sam Campbell opened his namesake business in the late 1950s; after his death, Dan Mays Sr. took over in 1977, and now his son Brian Mays oversees the establishment.

Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dining areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: Mutton, brisket.

Franklin Barbecue

Everyone knows about the long lines at Franklin Barbecue — it’s been well documented — but for many, it’s worth the wait for those perfect briskets from pitmaster Aaron Franklin. For those looking to plan ahead, it accepts preorders. For an Asian-y take on the famed brisket, head over to Loro, Franklin’s other restaurant in collaboration with lauded Austin Japanese restaurant Uchi.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas; takeout orders placed in-person; advanced preorders online; national shipping.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out (typically around 2 to 3 p.m.)
Recommended orders: brisket, beef ribs, turkey, sausage, bourbon-banana pie.

Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue
Barbecue from Franklin Barbecue
Franklin Barbecue [Official]

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Pitmasters owner Tom Micklethwait and Ren Garcia serve up thoughtful smoked meats at this Central East Austin food truck. Expect the staples (brisket, Tex-Czech sausages, ribs), as well as barbacoa. The standout sides round out the meal, like lemon-poppy slaw and jalapeno cheese grits. The revamped space now features an on-site bar Saddle Up and sibling truck Taco Bronco.
Service-style: Food truck service with an outdoor dine-in area; takeout orders placed online or in-person; national shipping.
Days and hours: Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. until sold out.
Recommended orders: sausage, barbacoa, beef ribs.

Barbecue and sides from Micklethwait Craft Meats
Barbecue and sides from Micklethwait Craft Meats
Micklethwait Craft Meats/Facebook

Terry Black's BBQ

Other members of the famed Black family made their mark on Austin with barbecue, too. Twin sons Mike and Mark Black honor their father with their Bouldin Creek smoked meats restaurant. The typical meats are served by the pound, sandwich, or family meal-style, along with sides, beer, and even wine.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and outdoor dine-in service; takeout orders online or in-person; national shipping.
Days and hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, smoked turkey, ribs.

Distant Relatives

While a newcomer to the city’s barbecue world, chef Damien Brockway and his Govalle truck have already made a huge impression (one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2021 and Eater Austin’s food truck of 2021. The menu honors and explores what modern African-American fare really is with a Texas lens, which leads to items such as pulled pork served alongside tamarind barbecue sauce and brisket with a smoked mustard butter sauce.
Service-style: Food truck service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Meanwhile Brewing; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: Brisket, chicken, burnt ends.

A tray of barbecue and sides.
Distant Relatives’s barbecue.
Nicolai McCrary/Eater

Kerlin BBQ

The barbecue menu at the Holly truck, courtesy of pitmaster Bill Kerlin and Amelis Kerlin, is a solid one with Likewise, their other East Austin truck, Kerlaches on Webberville Road, offers up a Texan’s dream come true: brisket stuffed into kolaches.
Service-style: Food truck service with an outdoor dine-in area; takeout orders placed in person or email at orders@kerlinbbq.com with 72-hour notice.
Days and hours: Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: brisket, barbecue kolache, pork belly burnt ends.

Barbecue kolaches from Kerlin BBQ
Barbecue kolaches from Kerlin BBQ
Kerlin BBQ/Facebook

La Barbecue

The Holly barbecue restaurant from LeAnn Mueller has a new permanent home befitting the funky cool vibes. On deck are beautiful briskets, ribs, and house-made sausages, plus beers and cocktails.
Service-style: Counter-service with indoor and patio dine-in areas; takeout orders placed online or in-person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m to 6 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pulled pork, beef ribs, sausages, Bobby Dawg, shells and cheese, pickles.

The Bobby Dawg at La Barbecue
The Bobby Dawg at La Barbecue
La Barbecue/Facebook

Brown's Bar-B-Que

It’s hard to miss the bright red trailer outside South Austin spot Corner Bar, serving simple, high-quality meats. Pitmaster Daniel Brown serves what he calls “old-school barbecue” where the goal is “to give people great food for a cheap price.” Pair the smoked meat plate with drinks from the bar. Bonus: there is free barbecue available on Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m.
Service-style: Food truck service with indoor and outdoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Corner Bar; takeout orders placed in-person.
Days and hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork sandwich.

A barbecue plate from Brown’s Bar-B-Que
A barbecue plate from Brown’s Bar-B-Que
Brown’s Bar-B-Que/Facebook

Leroy & Lewis

The new-school barbecue trailer and Eater Austin’s food truck of 2017 from pitmaster Evan LeRoy offers up twists on the usual smoked meats classics. Think beef cheeks, halved avocados stuffed with barbacoa, cauliflower burnt ends, cheddar cheesecake, and more.
Service-style: Food truck service with outdoor and indoor dine-in areas courtesy of host site Cosmic Coffee; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or until sold out.
Recommended orders: beef cheeks, barbacoa, burger, cauliflower burnt ends, cheddar cheesecake.

LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray
LeRoy & Lewis’s barbecue tray
Logan Crable

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

The far south Austin food truck from pitmaster Miguel Vidal mashes up two of the city’s favorite foods into one mega-meal. Delicious meats like smoked brisket or pulled pork can be found in tacos or sandwiches.
Service-style: Food truck service with outdoor dine-in areas available; takeout orders placed in person.
Days and hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. or until sold out, with breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Recommended orders: brisket, Real Deal Holyfield breakfast taco, smoked brisket taco.

Barbecue from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Barbecue from Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ [Official]

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